Manchester City fans may think that only in a Blue Moon would they see red outside The Etihad – but the council have done just that.
A flowerbed on Ashton New Road is to be turned red instead of its traditional blue to give National Blood Week, which takes place between June 9-15, a shot in the arm and encourage more donors to come forward.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Sue Cooley, Baguley Councillor Paul Andrews and Executive Member for Adults and Lead Donor Relations Manager for Manchester at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Barbara Blanche will be highlighting the need for more donors when they visit the site on Thursday ahead of World Blood Donor Day on Saturday.
Mrs Blanche said: “During this year’s National Blood Week, we are asking people to join our existing donors who are already part of the greatest team in the world.
“We are expecting there to be a fall in the number of people donating blood this summer as people become distracted by this year’s football World Cup or other summer sports.
“So to have the support of Manchester City Council is terrific and we hope the flowerbed will inspire people to sign up and start donating blood.”
The flowerbed has been planted with 3,500 red-and-white begonias to make the Give Blood emblem – a full red heart on a white background with the words ‘Give Blood’.
And Councillor Andrews has urged Mancunians to take the message to heart.
The Executive Member for Adults, said: “We hope that this striking symbol on a main arterial route in Manchester will prompt people to think about giving blood.
“We really need more Manchester residents and both new and lapsed donors to come forward to help this very worthy cause. None of us know when one of us might need a blood transfusion.”
The flowerbed site, which was last used for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, has been prepared by a group of offenders on a community payback scheme and has been planted up by student volunteers. It will be in bloom for up to four months.
This is all part of the work that Manchester City Council is doing following a three-year partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant to increase the number of blood donors and people signed up to the organ donation register.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs around 200,000 new blood donors each year across England and Wales to replace those who can no longer donate due to reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel.
There is also a need for more young and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic donors (BAME).
Nearly half of those who have given blood over the last two years are over-45, while only 4% of active blood donors are from BAME communities, despite representing around 14% of the population.
Anyone aged 17-and-over and in general good health can visit this website to donate or call 0300 123 23 23 to find a nearby session to give blood.
Platelet donors can donate at two centres in Manchester – Norfolk House on Brown Street (M2 1DW) and NHSBT’s Plymouth Grove site opposite the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (M13 9LL). Visit the Give Blood website for more information.
Image courtesy of Piers Nye with thanks