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'Spread the word on donation'

Churches across the UK are being challenged to become long term advocates of blood and organ donation

Fab Church challenge 300The fab Church Challenge, launched this week by the fleshandblood campaign, aims to encourage churches to become 'donor churches' and equip them as long term advocates of donation by providing practical tools to help them donate together, talk about donation and raise awareness in their communities.

It is the latest stage of the fleshandblood campaign, which seeks to encourage churches to see blood and organ donation as part of its giving. The campaign launched at the start of 2013 and marked the first time the NHS has worked alongside the church on a national initiative of this kind. It is backed by a range of denominations and organisations, including the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

In just one year, 30,000 churches have received information about the fleshandblood campaign and across the UK denominations, organisations and festivals have taken part in raising the profile of donation, mobilising the church to increase the number of donors. Around three people die per day due to the shortage of organs in the UK.

'We have seen an amazing response in the UK Church over the past 12 months and are encouraged by the number of local churches raising the profile of blood and organ donation', said Juls Hollidge, fleshandblood's Campaign Director. 'What we need now is a long term commitment that continues to support the ongoing demand for blood and organs that the NHS faces every year.'

Any church taking up the challenge will be asked to make three commitments: to donate together; talk about donation by integrating it into their teaching; and raise community awareness by hosting an event, connecting with local schools or getting involved in blood and transplant week. Lots of ideas and resources are availabe on the website.

In response to the introduction of the Church Challenge Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant who was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours for her services to healthcare said, 'On behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant I'd like to thank churches for their support, for making donation important in their community and for the hope this will bring to all those who depend on our life saving work.'

Groundbreaking research carried out by the fleshandblood campaign suggests that 70 per cent of Christians already consider blood and/or organ donation to be part of their core "Christian giving" or are open to the idea. Almost one in ten Christians have given blood in the last year compared to four per cent of the eligible population over the last two years.

The fleshandblood campaign is sponsored by Give.net and in association with denominations, organisations and festivals including the Church of England, The Salvation Army, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church In Wales, Church of Scotland, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hope and Evangelical Alliance.

The campaign was founded as a partnership between NHS Blood and Transplant and KORE, a creative agency that builds socially good ideas.

Baptist Times, 07/01/2014
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