Blood Bikes has been donated a second vehicle by Reflex Vehicle Hire as the charity’s workload increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nationwide network of groups of volunteer riders and drivers offer a rapid response service to provide vital support to the NHS and wider community.
Each region provides essential support to health services, offering transport of blood and other key products, often out of hours, in response to tens of thousands of requests for help every year.
The Blood Bikes fleet can transport everything from human milk to patient records and the free service is now also delivering samples to test for coronavirus as part of the UK’s fightback against the virus.
In addition to a motorbike fleet ridden by specially trained volunteer riders, Blood Bikes uses vans to move bigger items that are too heavy for two-wheeled transport, or when it is too cold to transfer blood samples by bike.
Reflex Vehicle Hire initially supported the Leicestershire and Rutland division of Blood Bikes with a Mercedes-Benz Citan and it is now adding a second van to help manage the increasing workload the charity is facing.
Each vehicle is provided with full livery and signwriting as part of Reflex Vehicle Hire’s ‘Ready for Work’ service.
The vans are fitted as standard with telematics, dashcams and tyre pressure sensors to enhance road safety as part of Reflex Vehicle Hire’s award-winning ‘safety as standard’ service, Driive with Reflex.
Jonathan Bostock, operations manager for the Leicestershire and Rutland division of Blood Bikes, said: “Our bikes are type-approved for blood bike use and can carry around 20kgs, but the vans enable us to carry much more when required. They are also used when it becomes too cold to transport blood products by bike.
“In supporting the NHS response to the pandemic, there will be an extensive demand to transport samples and the vans will play a critical role in this.
“The support we have received from Reflex Vehicle Hire is transformative. The provision of vehicles is just the start, as their involvement has really raised awareness of the charity and led to support from other organisations, such as tyre providers, which helps enormously.
“The support from Reflex has been such a step change for our organisation and we can’t thank them enough.”
The donated vans, worth a combined £40,000, will be used throughout the Leicestershire and Rutland region, visiting hospitals including Leicester Royal Infirmary and Addenbrookes (Queens Medical Centre).
The group also works with several healthcare trusts in addition to Leicestershire and has moved onto a 24-hour service rota to support the increased workload caused by the pandemic.
To support Blood Bikes, Reflex Vehicle Hire nominated it as the chosen charity at the annual Commercial Fleet Awards, which raised £2,500 from the industry on the night.
Reflex Vehicle Hire was also named Rental Company of the Year at the awards.
The national Blood Bikes service is supported by thousands of volunteers and before the COVID-19 crisis they were making more than 70,000 runs a year to hundreds of UK hospitals. Demand is expected to increase while health services fight the virus.
Lisa Spong, sales director of Reflex Vehicle Hire, said: “Blood Bikes provides vital support for the NHS and we are delighted to help their cause, both with vehicles and by raising industry awareness about their fantastic work.
“As the workload of Leicestershire and Rutland Blood Bikes increases, we are delighted to provide a second vehicle so they can continue their important work, particularly as they respond to the current pandemic.”
Donations can be made to Leicestershire and Rutland Bikes by visiting their PayPal page.