Monday, 15 June 2009

Meeting with the Department for Children Schools and Families.

So the update is finally here...

I went down to London last week for the meeting with the DCSF that came about due to my Pitch to Ed Balls afer meeting him in March.

The meeting was at the DCSF headquarters at Sanctuary Buildings, not far from Westminster Abbey! Me, Mum and Dad went along to meet Oli at a cafe near by before the meeting, we all had a quick cuppa and then my folks left to leave me and Oli to get down to business and discuss what we were going to talk about at the meeting.

I had prepared lots of notes regarding what the DCSF had already done to promote Organ Donation and encourage it to be talked about in schools. Such as the introduction of the Register and Be a lifesaver scheme by the Anthony Nolan Trust and the Give and Let Live education packs.

I was disputing tha these were fantastic initiatives, they just need to be more widely available and marketed properly. Teachers aren't using the Give and Let Live project, this may be because there isn't enough communication surrounding it. I looked into this and came across some research done on it, I found out that:

When letters were sent out to schools regarding the Give and Let Live project 250 schools were contacted for a telephone interview, and of these, 63% had no record or recollection of the letter being received. Of the 28% who were aware of the letter every single one (100%) had decided NOT to implement the government's education programme in their school.
The reasons for this were:

1. There are other Government directives which have a higher priority
2. There is no additional funding for the Give And Let Live resource
3. Limited resources within the school prevent them including the Give And Let Live pack
4. They will find it difficult to fit everything into the timetable

Therefore the UK Government needs to review the marketing, communication and support it offers to Head Teachers and schools if they want the Give And Let Live resource to be utilised.

I believe...

The reasons for this are..
  • There are children on the list who will need donations from children
  • Last years figures show that 28 children died whilst waiting for a transplant
  • 173 children were on the transplant list.
  • Of the 800 people who donate organs each year, less 25 are children

Registering as a donor is something children can choose to do, even though they are under 18.

Parents would have the final say as to whether their child’s organs were used in the event of their death, but, if they knew that’s what they would have wanted, chances are they would get comfort from knowing they were following their wishes.

This is why it is so vitally important to tell loved ones if you would like to be a donor.

Death is still taboo subject, perhaps this is why teachers are not forthcoming in presenting information on Organ Donation to children/teenagers however If people are educated, given the correct information they can then make an informed decision as to whether they want to donate their organs or not.

There is no reason why teachers should not take advantage of the Give and Let Live project.

It contains all the vital information on Bone Marrow/Organ/ Blood Donation through

• Online Resources and Downloads
• Fact sheets
• Presentations
• Lesson Plans and Activity Sheets
• Interactive and Audio Visual Materials
• Quizzes and Games
• Films
• Real Life Stories

It tells the teachers how to use the packs and implement the information into lessons during Personal Social and Health Education, Science, RE and other Curriculum Links including the use of Information Technology.

It’s user friendly, eye catching and age appropriate.

For the second year running, more than 3,700 secondary schools in the United Kingdom will be offered the free education resource to raise awareness of blood, organ, bone marrow and tissue donation.

But... based on previous research only a small percentage (if any) will take up the opportunity of using the resource. Schools need to be made more aware of it. More substantial marketing and communication is required regarding the Give and Let Live pack i.e. repeating/building on what has already been done or the current method and approach may need to be revised.

So the people me and Oli met with were lovely and really helpful, they are going to put me in touch with various other people that may be able to help me in the future, the main problem in me just going to the meeting and saying right something needs to be done to get the message about the Give and Let Live packs out there was funding. I think the pack is such a useful resource.... So I need to get my thinking cap on and find a way to get the word out there...


  1. Thanks for this update Holly. I was really impressed with all the background research you did to prepare and it sounds like it paid off as the meeting went well. I can understand that funding is limiting getting the word out though.

    Moll x x

  2. Nice one Holly - sounds like you've covered all bases there! Glad it went well. Thanks for the shout out about Register & Be a Lifesaver!

    I was shocked but not entirely surprised to read of the low uptake of "Give And Let Live". I am facing a challenge trying to get into schools with with the R&B campaign - I find most people agree in principle, it's just they can't seem to find the time to potentially save a life! :-) xx