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Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service (EVS) is a blood bike charity based in South West England. Founded in Weston-super-Mare in 1990,[1][2] it is funded by public donations and staffed by unpaid volunteers.

Freewheelers EVS
Freewheelers EVS Logo.svg
FoundedApril 1990[1]
TypeRegistered charity
Registration no.1001067
FocusNHS motorcycle courier
Location
Area served
Somerset, Bristol, Bath, West Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire
Revenue
£153,282 (year ending 31 Mar 2017) [1]
Volunteers
148 (January 2019)
Websitefreewheelers.org.uk

Contents

Association with other blood bike charitiesEdit

Freewheelers EVS are a founding member of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB), which acts as an umbrella charity for all blood bike charities.[3] It inspired the foundation of a new charity, White Knights EVS in West Yorkshire.[4] Neighbouring charities include Severn Freewheelers,[5]SERV, and Yeovil Freewheelers, which was founded in 1978.[6]

OperationsEdit

 
Freewheelers EVS members in uniform high visibility jackets

The charity operates in Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and western parts of Wiltshire.[7] It is used by NHS in the area, including major hospitals such as Bristol Royal Infirmary, Southmead, Weston General, the RUH in Bath, and Musgrove Park in Taunton. Minor injuries units, GP surgeries, care homes, hospices and patients' home addresses make up the other destinations often visited.

Coordinator and ridersEdit

Freewheelers operates from 19:00 to 07:00 during the week and 24 hours at weekends and public holidays. On any given shift there is one coordinator and four riders on duty. The riders are spread across the area of operation. In general one is in the vicinity of Bath, one in the vicinity of Bristol and one in the vicinity of Taunton. The fourth rider can be used anywhere across the whole area to assist when particularly busy or if one of the riders is in need of a break. All the riders hold an advanced motorcycling qualification,[8] such as an IAM or RoSPA test pass. There is also a requirement to retake this assessment every three years to maintain a high standard of riding. This partly due to insurance purposes but also tied into the aim of the charity to encourage safe riding and promote a positive image of motorcycling.

Items carriedEdit

The charity's volunteers transport blood for transfusion, tissue samples for pathological or microbiological analysis, drugs, patient notes, medical images and medical devices.[7] It has also carried more unusual items such as antivenom and artificial limbs.[2] Since 2010, Freewheelers has also been transporting human breast milk to and from the breast milk bank at Southmead Hospital.[9][10]

Air ambulanceEdit

As of 2015, a daily delivery of type O negative blood to Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Great Western Air Ambulance, with the latter also taking delivery of fresh frozen plasma).[11][12][13][14]

Beyond the areaEdit

If jobs require transport beyond the Freewheelers EVS area of operation, there is coordination with neighbouring blood bike charities to relay items and pass them on at pre-arranged handover locations. This goes for shipments leaving the area, such consignments of breast milk, or inbound items destined for the charity's area. Samples often require transport to the NHS Blood and Transplant centre at Filton.[15][16] The site also houses the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL), which performs rare blood identification.[17]

MotorcyclesEdit

 
Freewheelers Yamaha FJR1300

Freewheelers owns and operates a fleet of blood bike liveried Yamaha FJR1300, BMW R1200RT-P and BMW F800GT motorcycles fitted with blue lights and sirens. Previously ex-police motorcycles were used, such as the Honda ST PanEuropean series.

The latest Yamaha FJR1300 motorcycles are the first to be purpose built for Blood Bike duties through an arrangement between NABB and Yamaha[18] with equipment designed and fitted by Woodway Engineering[19] .

FundingEdit

Freewheelers EVS is 100% funded by public donations. Money is raised through a variety of avenues with events highlighted on the website.[20][better source needed] These events range from bucket collections at supermarkets to giving talks to local groups.

In 2010, the pupils of All Hallows Preparatory School near Shepton Mallet staged a number of fundraising events, including a sponsored bicycle ride from John o' Groats to Land's End by two parents,[21] to buy a new BMW R1200RT motorcycle, which was presented to Freewheelers on 1 July 2010.[22] One of the pupils won a competition to name the new bike "The Flying Crane"—the school's logo is a Crane.


AccoladesEdit

On 2 June 2008, Freewheelers EVS was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service,[23][24] the highest award that can be given to a voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom and equivalent to an MBE.[25]

In July 2008, Freewheelers EVS was awarded the Chair’s Community Award of 2008/09 by the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor David Bellotti at the Guildhall in Bath.[26]

In March 2016, Freewheelers EVS won the "Voluntary and Community Sector Team of the Year" category in the Bristol Post's Health and Care Awards.[27]

In The People's Project 2017, West Country East, Freewheelers EVS was voted one of the winners and awarded £30,000 of lottery monies to purchase two new FJR1300 motorcycles.[28]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Charity Framework". Charity Commission. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Bristol FreeWheelers keep the blood flowing". Bristol Evening Post. 15 August 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "About NABB". Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ Himelfield, David (7 February 2008). "Emergency Dispatch!". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Charity works nights for the NHS". BBC Gloucestershire. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  6. ^ Machin, Nigel (September 2008). "Yeovil Freewheelers celebreate 30 years of saving lives". BBC Somerset. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Freewheelers hoping for a helping hand this November". North Bristol NHS Trust. 16 October 2006. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  8. ^ Bolton, Adam (August 2007). "Blood Brothers" (PDF). Motorcycle Sport & Leisure. Mortons Media Group Ltd: 46–50. ISSN 1478-839X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  9. ^ "South West's first milk bank up and running". North Bristol NHS Trust. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Hospital's new service aims to help mums give babies best start". Bristol Evening Post. 2 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  11. ^ https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/features/meet-the-freewheelers-the-biker-group-and-right-hand-to-the-gwaac/
  12. ^ https://greatwesternairambulance.com/blood-bike-awareness-day-2018/
  13. ^ https://www.nbt.nhs.uk/severn-major-trauma/what-major-trauma
  14. ^ Sperry, Jason L.; Guyette, Francis X.; Brown, Joshua B.; Yazer, Mark H.; Triulzi, Darrell J.; Early-Young, Barbara J.; Adams, Peter W.; Daley, Brian J.; Miller, Richard S.; Harbrecht, Brian G.; Claridge, Jeffrey A.; Phelan, Herb A.; Witham, William R.; Putnam, A. Tyler; Duane, Therese M.; Alarcon, Louis H.; Callaway, Clifton W.; Zuckerbraun, Brian S.; Neal, Matthew D.; Rosengart, Matthew R.; Forsythe, Raquel M.; Billiar, Timothy R.; Yealy, Donald M.; Peitzman, Andrew B.; Zenati, Mazen S. (2018). "Prehospital Plasma during Air Medical Transport in Trauma Patients at Risk for Hemorrhagic Shock". New England Journal of Medicine. 379 (4): 315–326. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1802345.
  15. ^ "The future of blood" (PDF). The Biomedical Scientist. March 2009. p. 218. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  16. ^ "History". NHS Blood and Transplant. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  17. ^ Bailey, Penny (21 October 2014). "The man with the golden blood". Mosaic. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  18. ^ "NABB 2017 News Letter" (PDF).
  19. ^ Ltd, Jamie Allsop, Creare Communications. "Case Study: Midland Freewheelers' blood bikes". News & Updates. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.freewheelers.org.uk/freewheeler-events/
  21. ^ "All Hallows fundraising takes shape for Freewheelers". This Is Dorset. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  22. ^ "Dads' big adventure buys charity a bike". Mid Somerset Series. 8 July 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  23. ^ "2008 Winners, South West". The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The Cabinet Office. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  24. ^ "BLOOD BIKERS GET NOD FROM QUEEN". Bristol Evening Post. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Top award for volunteer couriers". BBC News. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  26. ^ "Chairman congratulates 'unsung heroes' who help transport blood to injured patients". Press Release. Bath and North East Somerset Council. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ https://clahrc-west.nihr.ac.uk/news-item/health-care-heroes-honoured-bristol-health-care-awards/
  28. ^ https://www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/2017/view/wheels-to-save-lives

External linksEdit