Blood Donor Appeal

NHS Blood and Transplant has issued an amber alert on blood stocks and asked hospitals to put measures in place to ensure that blood remains available for those in greatest need.

Hospitals will continue to carry out any urgent, emergency or trauma surgery, cancer surgery, transplant surgery and blood transfusions to treat people with long term conditions, but this could mean making difficult decisions to postpone some non-urgent elective surgeries.

We’re currently asking O positive and O negative donors who live or work near our Donor Centres in Bradford, Bristol, Liverpool, London Tooting, London Westfield Stratford City, Luton and Southampton to book a slot and asking all other donors to please keep any appointments already booked.

Donors can help by filling empty appointments at permanent donor centres in towns and cities which have extended hours and greater capacity. O blood groups are in particular need.

Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.

The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt.

Blood can only be stored for 35 days, which means there is a constant need for donations – and a need for specific blood types. The NHS Blood and Transplant appointment system carefully balances the supply of blood with the changing demand from patients and hospitals. Collecting too much blood and the wrong type would mean lifesaving blood is wasted and hospitals may not have the right type available for patients when they need it.

NHS Blood and Transplant is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, the other UK blood services and hospitals to manage the current stock shortage.

New to Donation? 
Find out more about giving blood for the first time.

Please visit the Give Blood Website for more information or to register or sign in to your account.

NHS Covid Vaccine Van Visit – 17 October

Shirley Neighbourhood Care Scheme has arranged for the NHS (Covid) Vaccine Van to attend at West Wickham & Shirley Baptist Church from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday 17 October.

Who can use this service
This mobile service is for these groups:

  • 65 years old and over
  • health and social care staff
  • those at higher risk or who are pregnant
  • people who have or live with someone who has a weakened immune system

When you arrive, the staff will ask you questions to ensure you’re only offered suitable vaccines.

Please contact SNCS to advise them you wish to attend, so that the NHS staff can ensure an adequate supply of the Covid vaccine.

SNCS’s telephone number is 020 8662 9599 and their email address is

You can also book a Covid-19 Autumn Booster online or via 111.

Covid-19 Autumn Booster

People aged 50 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, those aged 5 years and over in a clinical risk group and health and social care staff will be offered a booster of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine this autumn.

Who is being offered an autumn booster?

COVID-19 is more serious in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions. This winter it is expected that many respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and flu may be circulating at high levels – this may put increasing pressure on hospitals and other health care services.

For these reasons, people aged 50 years and over, those in care homes, and those aged 5 years and over in clinical risk groups are being offered an autumn booster of COVID-19 vaccine. A booster will also be offered to front-line health and social care staff, those who care for vulnerable individuals and families of individuals with weakened immune systems.

The autumn booster is being offered to those at high risk of the complications of COVID-19 infection, who may have not been boosted for a few months. As the number of COVID-19 infections increases over the winter, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

Timing of the autumn booster

You should be offered an appointment between September and December, with those at highest risk being called in first. You should have your booster at least 3 months after your last dose of vaccine.

If you are eligible for a flu vaccine, you may be able to have them at the same time – if not please go ahead anyway, you can catch up with the other vaccine later.

Please accept the vaccination that is offered to you as soon as you are able to – it is important to have your booster and build up your protection against severe illness before the winter.

Click here for more information.

NHS Volunteers for the Autumn Covid Booster Vaccine

The NHS is calling for volunteers as it relaunches the Covid-19 booster programme ahead of the winter months.

The initiative will target those clinically at risk from the virus and people aged 50 and over, a total of 26 million people, NHS England said.

Volunteers are needed to help with the smooth running of vaccination sites.

Chitra Acharya, who has volunteered for the NHS in the past, said it’s an incredibly rewarding role: “I have particularly enjoyed doing my bit as a steward volunteer to help protect my community from Covid, and I have met some brilliant people along the way.

“I will be continuing in my role for as long as I’m needed as it’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

Here’s what you need to know, plus how to sign up.

What is the volunteer role?

The NHS is looking for people to become steward volunteers, which help at vaccination sites with non-clinical tasks, including moving patients through the process and identifying people who require additional support.

Shifts are flexible across a variety of centres around England. Expenses are covered and no previous experience or qualifications are required.

If you’re considering becoming a volunteer, you need to live in England, be over 18, and be available to do at least one shift per week, which is four hours long.

You also need to have a smartphone as tasks will be sent directly to your phone via the GoodSAM app.

When you turn up for your shift you’ll be given a full briefing, as well as a high vis jacket.

If you’ve volunteered before, you don’t need to sign up again. The NHS advises checking for shifts in your area via the app.

How do I sign up?

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up on the NHS Volunteer Responders site.

Catherine Johnstone CBE, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, said volunteers are a “huge asset” to the NHS.

“We are extremely proud of the tremendous contribution that they have made to keep our nation safe to date,” she said.

“Ahead of the upcoming booster rollout, the NHS now needs more people to step forward and join the remarkable team of volunteers in this incredibly rewarding steward volunteering role.

Any time you can offer at all will make an invaluable difference to the health of the most vulnerable people in your community this winter.”

How to Cope with the Cost of Living Crisis

Sarah Jones, Croydon Central’s Labour MP, has begun a series of advice sessions to try to help her constituents through the cost of living crisis.

The MP is holding advice sessions in locations across her constituency, where she will be joined by staff from Citizens Advice and volunteers from the Food Stop.

At each session, residents will be able to get one-to-one advice to access support with the cost of living, to ensure that they have applied for the right benefits and be offered information about additional help and support schemes.

The cost of living is rising at the fastest rate for 40 years, with the Bank of England forecasting inflation to reach 13per cent in the last quarter of this year. With energy bills expected to be subject to massive increases again in October, it is low-income households who are hardest hit.

The Croydon Central MP’s advice sessions are as follows:

  • Thursday 13th October, Shirley Community Centre, Shrublands, CR0 8JA 10.30am–1pm
  • Friday 14th October, Sarah Jones MP’s office, 43 Blackhorse Lane, CR0 6RT 2pm-4.30pm
  • Friday 21st October, Forestdale Forum, Bardolph Avenue, CR0 9BG 10.30am-1pm