Sirona Care and Health has adopted the Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service as its Charity of the Year after being chosen by staff.
Sometimes called Blood Bikes, Freewheelers provides a vital service across the South West.
Now the 2000 plus staff at Sirona Care & Health, a not-for-profit organisation which provides a range of community health and adult social care across Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire, has adopted the service as its charity of the year.
Sirona has pledged to support Freewheelers which provides a free out-of-hours motorcycle courier service across Bath, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Bristol and West Wiltshire.
Freewheelers transports blood for transfusion, samples for pathological or microbiological analysis, drugs, patient notes, x-rays, scans and medical equipment; in fact anything the NHS needs to be moved that can be carried on their bikes,each of which is equipped with high-visibility markings, blue lights and sirens for emergency use.
Simon Knighton, Sirona’s chairman, said: “Each year, Sirona care & health aims to contribute to the communities it serves in a number of different ways.
“One way of doing this is if we make a surplus, then we invest a small amount of that into a local charity to be chosen by our staff and Members.
“We know that it is only by all of us working together will we achieve good health and wellbeing for everyone and we are delighted to be able to show our support in a practical way.”
Julie Sharma, Business Development Lead, said: “A number of staff put forward Freewheelers for our charity of the year and it was overwhelmingly supported by the teams.
“It is a fantastic organisation, run entirely by volunteers, that provides a vital service to our hospitals and community.
“They are an essential part of the high quality all round care we are able to provide and whenever we need them they are always there.
“As well as the commitment from Sirona, we are sure staff will come up with innovative ways throughout the year to fundraise as they did so magnificently for last year’s charity, the Foodbanks in Bath and North East Somerset.”
Freewheelers member Peter Hawkes said: “Freewheelers is delighted to be chosen as Sirona’s Charity of the year. All our members are unpaid volunteers, and for a Health and Social Care Community Interest Company and its staff to recognise the value of what we do in this way is greatly encouraging.
“The support that Sirona will give us throughout this year will be a huge help in enabling us to continue our work supporting NHS units and the community we live in.”
Freewheelers have three bikes on call at any one time and their 100 members are riders, coordinators or fundraisers – some performing all three roles. All the riders hold an Advanced Motorcycling qualification.
They operate from 7pm until 7am Monday to Thursday and from 7pm Friday to 7am Monday with a 24 hour service offered on bank holidays too. Each week is divided into two shifts.
In 2013 it dealt with more than 3,500 calls and the highest number of calls handled in one shift was 62.