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Blood donation support has successful first month

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A St John Scotland volunteer stands outside the blood transfusion centre in Aberdeen

Today marks one month since St John Scotland began supporting the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service to deliver blood donation sessions across the country.

In that time, 38 St John Scotland volunteers have supported 97 donation sessions, and have helped more than 4,700 members of the public donate blood.

St John Scotland volunteer John Stephen has been helping out at donation sessions at his local centre in Aberdeen.

He told us why he wanted to take part and what his role involves:

"My volunteering role is taking on the triage process - this is the first point of contact for donors at the entrance. Triage involves asking donors the COVID-19 questions, making them feel comfortable and welcome, while helping to make sure the staff are not put at risk. It's important to adhere to social distancing and keep the flow of donors spaced out.

"When I started the role, I was mentored by an experienced donor carer who first demonstrated the process, then I took over while under supervision. Now I do the triage on my own and help free up staff members to attend to other duties. The SNBTS staff are very friendly and approachable and support you with any questions. You really feel part of the blood donation team.

"I have had great fun getting to speak to a wide variety of donors. It's rare during the pandemic to get to meet new people and speaking to them has been rejuvenating. I am very proud to represent St John Scotland at the entrance of the transfusion centre – it's a chance to share with the public what we do as CPR Champions.

"Working side by side with the NHS during the pandemic is part of the St John Scotland ethos of saving and enhancing life. My great-grandfather was a St John Ambulance volunteer at the GEC Witton works in Birmingham during the Second World War; during difficult times, St John organisations have always stood side by side other agencies as an auxiliary.

"Everyone should consider giving blood. Countless people depend on this simple act of donation, yet few gifts so valuable are so simply given. It's been great being part of something so important."

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