Frequently asked questions
What is YFW Blood Bikes?
Yeovil Freewheelers is a group of emergency volunteer bikers operating out of Yeovil, Dorchester and Wincanton Hospitals. The demand for our services is still growing after 40 years supporting the NHS. We are the oldest surviving blood bike group in the country, the two older groups having been forced to close through lack of funds some time ago.
Last year we made over 2000 urgent deliveries, carrying blood, platelets, blood and tissue samples, medication, breast milk, medical documents, CT scans and medical equipment to hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes as well as private addresses, which are often in isolated areas, across most of Somerset and Dorset, saving the NHS well over £100,000 while easing patients’ suffering and helping to save lives.
Who are Yeovil Freewheelers?
Yeovil Freewheelers is the original name and the current name of the UK registered charity and it is the oldest surviving blood bike group in the country.
Does the charity get any financial support?
NO. Yeovil Freewheelers has never had financial support from government nor fromthe hospitals we serve, neither do we charge for any services. Our riders areadvanced qualified, police checked, have passed NHS induction and are trainedto NHS delivery standards for blood, pathology samples and pharmaceuticals butall our members are volunteers receiving no remuneration or expenses at all.
What times do you operate?
We operate all year round, riding in all weathers providing a 365/24 hour service. Some of the group are retired but many leave work at the end of the afternoon and ride for the hospitals late into the night. We are frequently called on to make emergency runs during the day to fetch a rare medicine, take a sample to a specialist laboratory for analysis or deliver equipment to an operating theatre.
How are you funded?
The charity is funded by donations and assistance from local business and fundraising efforts by members. Fund-raising by the group is always a challenge but over the last 40 years individual members of the local community, as well as local businesses, have been incredibly generous with their donations, clearly demonstrating how theyvalue the service and are willing to contribute to keeping it going.We run six bikes and while we look closely at reducing costs, still have to findaround £30k each year for fuel and maintenance. Our current drive, in this our 40th year, is to raise the funds to replace one of our Pan Europeans, which willhave clocked over 100,000 miles on blood bike duty by the end of the year.
How much does it cost to run the bikes?
We run six bikes and while we look closely at reducing costs, still have to find
around £30k each year for fuel and maintenance. Our current drive, in this our
40th year, is to raise the funds to replace one of our Pan Europeans, which will
have clocked over 100,000 miles on blood bike duty by the end of the year.
What type of businesses support you?
We are extremely grateful for local support including The Mark Master Masons, Moose, Garfield Weston, The Friends of Dorset County Hospital, Woodfarm, ADP Signs and more. Please check out our Sponsors page for more information.
Are you a registered charity?
Yes. Yeovil Freewheelers (YFW) Emergency Voluntary Service (EVS) is a Registered Charity (#.299434).Founded in 1978 we are the longest serving Blood Bike group in the UK.
What do you carry?
YFW carries urgently needed blood, blood samples, biopsies, MRI scans, X-rays, prescription drugs, a variety of medical equipment and patient notes; emphasis is on emergency not courier.
Which hospital do you support?
YFW operates principally from Yeovil District Hospital (YDH) and Dorset County Hospital (DCH), Dorchester, providing a 24-hour service to deliver a fast, safe and efficient emergency courier capability throughout the South-West, serving hospitals, hospices, care and nursing homes and patients discharged to their own homes.
Are you paid to transport blood?
No. The service is provided free of charge and we rely entirely on public donation and committed volunteers to conduct all its activities.
Who can ride for the charity?
Membership is open to any person who is prepared to further our aims and objectives. Riding
members must (Basic Criteria):
a. Be over 25 years of age.
b. Hold a recognised advanced rider qualification.
c. Have no more than 6 penalty points on their licence.
d. Have zero “at fault” accidents in the last three years
e. Live within 30 minutes ride of a YFW garage.
How many salaried employees do you have?
NONE. Every penny raised in donations goes to running the charity. No money is paid to any member of the charity. Being a member will cost you money – travelling to a YFW garage, buying foul weather gear, etc
How do you ensure your riders are safe?
The nature of the YFW riding task, lone operation, delivery against time pressure, night riding, bad weather riding and particularly Emergency Response can introduce significant risk to
riding. Riders must be aware and manage this carefully. They must be prepared to seek assistance or not to ride if they judge that the risk is becoming unacceptable.