Be a hero. Save a life.

You have it in you

You don't need to have your underwear on the outside to be a hero!

Donating blood is something that most healthy people can do, it only takes a small part of your day and has the potential to save many lives each time you do it. Just register to become a donor and start saving lives!

Did you know?

Only 4 percent

of eligible people give blood on a regular basis

8,000 units

of blood are needed every day to meet hospital demand

30 minutes

is roughly all it takes to give a whole blood donation

Who you can help

Every whole blood donation can save or improve the lives of up to three people and a platelet donation can help even more. Your blood can be used to help the following and many more.

  • Mothers in the delivery room

    Women can lose a lot of blood whilst giving birth, meaning blood transfusions are often vital in helping the mother during labour.

  • A child with leukaemia

    Children with blood and bone cancers may need regular transfusions if their bodies cannot produce enough blood components, or when chemotherapy has reduced their blood count.

  • A burn victim

    For third-degree burns and some second-degree ones, immediate blood transfusion and/or extra fluids are needed to maintain blood pressure.

  • People who need regular transfusions

    People with certain illnesses, such as liver conditions or blood disorders may need regular transfusions throughout their lifetime if the body cannot produce enough blood components on its own.

There are two ways to give blood

Whole blood


A whole blood donation is when blood is drawn from the vein directly into the blood storage bag.

The average whole blood donation session takes between 15-30 minutes and results in just under 1 pint of blood being taken.

Female whole blood donors can give every 4 months and male whole blood donors can give every 3 months.

Red blood cells have a shelf-life of 35 days.



A component donation is when the blood is passed through a machine that separates out the components needed (usually platelets and plasma) and returns the remainder to the donor.

A platelet donation can take up to 90 minutes and can help up to 3 adults or 12 babies.

Red blood cells are returned so component donors can donate up to 15 times a year.

Platelets only have a shelf-life of 7 days.

Blood types

Simply put, a blood type can be defined as a red blood cell that contains a specific surface antigen (surface marker).

Differences in human blood are due to the presence or absence of certain protein molecules called antigens and antibodies.

The antigens are located on the surface of the red blood cells and the antibodies are in the blood plasma.


Type A Blood

has A type antigens


Type B Blood

has B type antigens


Type AB Blood

has both antigens


Type O Blood

has no antigens

A blood type can be classed as positive or negative, this refers to a protein (called Rhesus) found on the covering of the red blood cells. A person's blood is Rhesus positive if the protein is present and Rhesus negative if the protein is absent.

UK blood types by percentage
  • O+
  • O-
  • A+
  • A-
  • B+
  • B-
  • AB+
  • AB-

Ethnic groups

The National Blood Service collects about 7,000 donations to maintain supplies to hospitals in England and Wales, but on average just 200 of these donations are from ethnic minority donors. 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.

You could save somebody in your community!

Donation centres near you

*Experimental feature using Google Maps API, may not return only blood donation centres