£600,000 to address shortage of organ and blood donors from Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnic backgrounds

16 May 2024

New funding opportunities are now available for local charities and community groups, marking an ongoing commitment by the Government and NHS to address health inequalities for individuals requiring life-saving transplants or regular blood transfusions.

The Community Grants Programme, led by NHS Blood and Transplant, is dedicated to funding projects led by community, faith, or belief organisations to inspire greater awareness and support for donation, particularly among black and Asian communities.

Minister for Public Health and Primary Care, Dame Andrea Leadsom, said:

"Blood and organ donations are crucial to saving lives, and this year's funding underscores our commitment to initiatives aimed at inspiring donations and enhancing awareness within our diverse communities.

“l encourage trusted community organisations to apply for funding, as we strive to reduce disparities in access to life-saving blood, and to provide organ donations for all who need them, irrespective of ethnic background."

The scheme was established to identify community organisations that can help to address barriers, normalise blood and organ donation and drive behaviour change.

The aim is to address the shortage of organs for individuals awaiting transplants from all Black and Asian communities, as well as those with Mixed Ethnic backgrounds, by raising awareness of both deceased and living donation options.

The scheme also aims to inform and recruit more donors of Black heritage as they are more likely to have the blood type urgently needed to treat people with sickle cell, the fastest-growing genetic blood disorder in the UK.

This year, NHS Blood and Transplant is seeking applications to engage diverse communities at the grassroots level. A total of £600,000 is available for community-based projects across England and Wales.

As part of NHSBT’s commitment to investing in impactful projects, the programme will now offer the opportunity for 2-year grants, a shift from the usual 1-year funding cycle.

Organisations can now apply for funding of up to £20,000, per year for a 2-year project. Funds available for each area are allocated as follows:

  • Blood donation projects: £300,000
  • Living Kidney donation projects: £150,000
  • Deceased organ donation projects: £150,000

Umar Malik, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Community Funding Manager, said:

We are excited to announce this latest round of funding to support both blood and organ donation. By continuing to work closely with community groups, our goal is to initiate conversations and tackle misinformation to reduce the health inequalities that many within these groups may encounter and save more lives."  

We will be holding a launch webinar on the 28th of May at 5pm for organisations to find out more about the Community Grants Programme. Learn more and register.

Learn more about organ donation or blood donation online, or call 0300 123 23 23.




The Community Grants Scheme is part of a Government-funded campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) to address the urgent need for donors from black, Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds.

For additional information please contact Rihannat Aliu in the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 07385141137 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Notes to Editors

NHS Blood and Transplant   

NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.          

 Organ donation 

  • It is quick and easy to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit organdonation.nhs.uk 
  • Families are always involved in organ donation discussions. You can make things easier for your family by telling them you want to happen.
  • Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.
  • One donor can save or transform up to nine lives through organ donation and save and transforms even more by donating tissue. 

Blood donation

  • It is quick and easy to book an appointment to give blood. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk 
  • The NHS needs up to 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who stop donating and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.
  • We urgently need more Black heritage donors as they are more likely to have the blood type needed to treat the increasing number of patients suffering from sickle cell disease.
  • There is an urgent need for donors with Ro blood. Only 2% of our donors have Ro type blood. Collecting enough is a constant challenge. Ro is often used to save people with the rare blood disorder, sickle cell disease. Ro blood is ten times more common in black people than in white people.