WARWICKSHIRE & SOLIHULL BLOOD BIKES (WSBB)
In 1969, a youth community action group was founded in the Luton & Stevenage area by Des Gibbons. Des’ aim was to encourage young bikers to make use of their wheels and riding abilities by providing reliable transport services to local hospitals. Freewheelers inspired many, including Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes’ Founders, Mario and Michelle Mclaughlin. Originally founded in 2011 as Warwickshire Freewheelers, the group merged with Touchwood Emergency Rider services in 2014 and together, they became Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes (WSBB).
Providing free services to our local NHS hospitals across Warwickshire and Solihull, WSBB is made up solely of volunteers and relies on public donations alone to fund this dedicated group of motorcyclists’ and the services they offer.
This charity specialises in providing emergency transport services for our local NHS and whilst blood might be in the name, this is not the only transportation service that WSBB provides locally. Their volunteers offer out of hours, free collection and delivery services of blood, platelets, samples, X Rays and medical equipment. Providing these crucial emergency transport services to University Hospitals’ Coventry and Warwickshire, Rugby and George Eliot Hospital. They also provide transfer of Blood from NHSBT centre at Edgbaston Birmingham to Heartlands and Good Hope Hospitals.
In 2019 WSBB also commenced work with UHCW HospitalTrust to provide Parenteral Nutrition service delivering frozen food products to patients released from hospital requiring initial support from home.
WSBB’s RePHILL program, set up three years ago, provides blood delivery for the Air Ambulance, based at Baginton. This service ensures efficient blood delivery for Doctors to use on board the aircraft when transporting patients. Their incredible work doesn’t stop there, these riders also support Birmingham Women’s Hospital, by providing collection and delivery services of breast milk.
Whilst Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes usually offer an out of hours service during the week, Monday to Friday from 5pm to 6am, they do offer a 24 hour service over weekends and Bank Holidays. WSBB have recently begun working with Warwick Hospital and SWFT Charity on a trial service; the collection and delivery of Chemotherapy drugs which offers delivery to patients in their own home. This service is provided throughout the daytime, and as their generosity and support for local NHS services increases, they move further towards becoming a full time 24 hour service.
With such huge offerings of support for our local healthcare providers, it is hard to imagine how WSBB has been managing with donations being reduced for everyone in the charity sector. Whilst holding fundraising events have been halted and many find themselves in financial difficulties, our local charities are feeling the pressure. You may at some point see WSBB’s fundraisers returning to your local supermarkets and garden centres, however it may be some time before things return to normal. So, please find the time to donate towards Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes in order for them to continue providing such substantial and important services to our local NHS hospitals.
If you are considering other ways to get involved, perhaps you’re a rider yourself, WSBB are always looking for more volunteers. From roles as riders, fundraisers and controllers, get in touch to see how you can support them further.