A university has received funding to help encourage black and Asian people to donate blood and organs.

The University of Brighton received the funding from the government to tackle health inequalities in donations.

The drive comes as statistics show the NHS can only provide the best matches for patients with sickle cell only half the time. Black and Asian people also wait longer for organ transplants and are less likely to find a stem cell match.

As part of the programme, the university will be creating a range of comics to help raise awareness of the issue, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Sarah Akinterinwa.

Simonne Weeks, senior lecturer in biomedical science and project lead for donor research at the University of Brighton, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to broaden the scope of our impact as we partner with an esteemed black British artist Sarah Akinterinwa.


“Together, we are creating an exciting catalogue of comics that will raise awareness through the art of storytelling on key topics about blood and organ donation that specially relate to black and Asian people in our community.”

Often, the best blood donor match for a patient will share their ethnicity, but the NHS says that black and Asian people are “seriously under-represented” in blood and stem cell donations.

The university has received a share of £685,000 from the Community Grants Programme pledged by the government and the Anthony Nolan charity to help with the issue.

Henny Braund MBE, chief executive at Anthony Nolan, said: “At Anthony Nolan, we’re proud to work with our partners to fund the Community Grants Programme. There are long-standing disparities in access to lifesaving stem cell transplants, with people from a minority ethnic background still much less likely to find a match from an unrelated donor.

“These vital projects will boost the number of stem cell donors from minority ethnic backgrounds on the UK stem cell register. In turn, they will help close the gap in access to lifesaving treatment between patients from minority ethnic backgrounds and those of White ethnicity.”