Black communities urged to give blood

Red carpet rolls out for Very Important People at the Hackney Empire on 22nd March 19th March 2009: Celebrities are used to the VIP treatment, but how often do the public get a chance to become a `Very Important Person’ and make a difference in their local community?

The VIP Appeal is a new campaign by the National Blood Service (NBS) to encourage Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian communities to give blood and help meet the need for rare blood types within ethnic minority communities.

The VIP Appeal is partnering series of star-studded concerts and events up and down the country to inform and encourage people to register as blood donors.

On March 22nd, VIP Appeal will be recruiting new blood donors at the International Women’s Day event: ‘In celebration of my sisters’ at the Hackney Empire.

Zeeshan Asghar of the NBS said: “We are encouraging people from the widest communities to come forward to ensure that whenever someone is in need of blood or bone marrow, there is
a matching type available. Some blood types are more common within ethnic communities and with bone marrow; you are much more likely to find a match from your own ethnic group. There are also health conditions like Sickle Cell Anaemia and Thalassaemia Major which are prevalent within ethnic communities that need constant supplies of blood. All of these factors show just how important it is for people from all communities to come forward and give blood so we can continue helping those in need.”

Less than 3% of the total numbers of donors are from ethnic minority backgrounds. This means that on average, just over 200 people from BME communities donate each day across the whole of the UK.

"In celebration of my sisters’ will be bringing together artists and performers for the 13th year in a row! This variety show will feature, among others, MOBO winner YolanDa Brown, Felicity Ethnic and special guests – Eddie Nestor and Carroll Thompson.

The night will hold many attractions from music to theatre, from poetry to dance and a free Mother’s Day gift for every mum attending! The evening will be hosted by Brenda Emmanus and ITV’s Charlene White and will feature inspirational speaker Jackee Holder, comedy show by Glenda Jackson and dance performance by Carol Straker Dance Company.

So, to become a Very Important Person and do something amazing, head down to ‘In celebration of my sisters’ on the 22nd of March and register there as a blood donor.

For more information visit or call 0845 7 711 711 quoting reference A05

1 in 7 primary school pupils don’t speak English as first language

Demo in Manchester against deportations to DR Congo