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News Report Page 10 of 12
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NHS needs more 'extraordinary' men in Liverpool to start donating blood during 2020

THERE is a vital need for more men in Liverpool to start donating blood in the New Year because of a serious imbalance in the gender of new Donors. During 2019, only 43% of the new Donors in Merseyside were men. Until the end of November 2019, 1,439 women started donating blood in Merseyside but only 1,095 men. This reflects a national trend. This is a concern because men have higher iron levels, and only men's blood can be used for some transfusions and products. Without more men starting to give blood, blood stocks will come under increasing pressure in future years. Throughout January 2020, NHSBT is running a national campaign about ordinary men becoming extraordinary by donating blood, and Liverpool is 1 of the target areas for new male Donors. NHSBT is aiming for 48% of all new Donors in Merseyside to be male during 2020. Men are valuable Donors for 2 reasons. Firstly, they have higher iron levels. Each time they try and donate, they're less likely to be deferred for low haemoglobin levels. That helps maintain a strong Donorbase, which is particularly crucial for people who need hundreds of even thousands of transfusions over their lifetime. Secondly, women can produce antibodies during pregnancy, even during short pregnancies they don't even know about. Antibodies are part of the body's defence system and they make transfusions more difficult. This means men's blood is only used for some specialist transfusions and blood products. Only men's blood is used for complete blood transfusions in newborn babies, and also for plasma, which is used for people who've had massive blood loss. NHSBT also gets 93% of its platelets from male Donors, they are mostly given to cancer patients to cut internal bleeding.

Mike Stredder, the Head of Donor Recruitment for NHS Blood and Transplant, said:- "All our Donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Merseyside during the New Year. Men's blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don't have enough new male Donors coming forward. This is not about recruiting as many Donors as possible; it's about getting the right gender mix. If you can't find an appointment right away don't worry; your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead."

The best place to start donating is Liverpool Donor Centre, on Dale Street. For more information and also to register to become a Blood Donor visit:- Blood.Co.UK.

Southport opticians supports local soup kitchen

SPECSAVERS in Southport is celebrating raising ₤676 for Southport Soup Kitchen, and will be hosting a free eye health clinic for homeless in need at the end of the month. The opticians raised the funds from sales of accessories sold throughout December 2019, which will go directly to the Southport Soup Kitchen. In addition, the store will be opening its doors, on the 22 January 2020, to offer a free eye health clinic to homeless people, within Southport. The team also had collection boxes available throughout December for customers to donate hats, scarves, and blankets. The Southport Soup Kitchen provides hot nourishing food and beverages to homeless and disadvantaged people in Southport - and is always looking for extra support during the winter months, especially over Christmas. Victoria Dunn, director at Specsavers Southport, says:- "The work the Southport Soup Kitchen does is really inspiring and the team are so happy to be able to help and do their part. We'd like to thank all our customers who have helped us throughout December and those who have donated items - you've each played a huge part in the success of this fundraising initiative."

Southern African food crisis victims receive ₤50,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons

THOUSANDS of people at risk of starvation in Southern Africa will be receiving emergency food packs and urgent humanitarian assistance, thanks to a grant of ₤50,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons to Plan International UK. An estimated 45 million people across Southern Africa are likely to be affected by record high temperatures and low rainfall, which has led to the worst drought for 35 years. The world famous Victoria Falls has become a trickle and Lake Kariba, a critical water source for both Zambia and Zimbabwe, is only 16% full. An estimated 70% of rural water sources in Zimbabwe have dried up. In 2019, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth caused widespread and very destructive flooding across the region, leaving already fragile communities in a poor state to deal with this fresh catastrophe. Combined with the volatile political and economic situation in many States, the price of food has risen sharply. Families have been forced to reduce the quantity and frequency of meals, and often forgo healthcare. Many children are missing school to help support their families, affecting their long term futures. Freemasons from West Lancashire have contributed to the grant that comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said:- "We're very grateful for this generous grant which will allow Plan International to reach thousands of people suffering from severe shortages of food. It is critical that we act now to provide this support to those most at risk"

Tony Harrison, leader of West Lancashire Freemasons said:- "I'm very pleased we have been able to help Plan International with their relief effort in Southern Africa. It's clear that millions of people are at risk of a serious lack of food and clean water. This is a desperate situation and Plan and the other organisations helping on the ground need all the help and support we in the outside world can offer."

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