#BloodBikeDay - Matt Dinnery | Shift Co-ordinator

Tell us about your day job
I’m a freelance event services professional, providing a range of skills, experience and equipment to the event industry. I’m rarely found indoors in the summer, instead I’ll be in some field or on some open space doing what I do best.  In the last few weeks I’ve been at a racecourse, a music festival, gay pride, a country show, an endurance triathlon to mention a few!

Tell us a little about you
I’m a 25-year-old single man living in Newcastle.  I graduated from Northumbria University in 2012 with a BSc (hons) in Biomedical Sciences.  I enjoy cycling, drinking real ales and craft beers, walking, live music, photography and being with friends.

When and why did you become a Blood Biker?
I joined Northumbria Blood Bikes (NBB) in March 2015. I was inspired by Alan Ross, the Vice-Chairman, who I’ve known since before Northumbria Blood Bikes started.  I was looking for charitable work that I could do in my spare time.

Is it difficult to juggle your day job with your hobbies and family?
Not at all. I volunteer when I’m not away working, or when I can push some admin to later in the evening, which allows me to fit in the shift co-ordinator role quite easily.  My close friends are very understanding of what I do, they’re involved in the healthcare sector and appreciate what my role is –  They don’t mind if I’m on the phone to them and suddenly change conversation to answer the radio (for them, it’s no different to my day job).  I truly enjoy what I do!

What do your friends / family think about your volunteer role?
My closest friend thinks that what I do is really good, she’s very supportive. Assuming I’m driving soon, she’ll be very happy with my volunteering as it coincides with her next placement in the large hospital NBB regularly serves, so we’ll actually get to see more of each other!  My colleagues on the medical side of my professional life think that what I do is amazing.

What’s the best thing about joining the Blood Bikes?
Although it’s almost always lone working, you’re part of a family, you look out for one another, help and support each other. I’ve had lots of opportunities to get involved, and my contribution has always been welcomed.

Tell us about the training you received
I was given a checklist to complete, which I’m working through, and had an induction as part of a run with the Membership Secretary. I also received some training from the Rota Manager about Shift Co-ordinating which was in my home.
I also joined the IAM Skill for Life programme, and receive observations of my driving from one of their volunteers whilst I work towards the Advanced Test.

Tell us about your very first call for the Blood Bikers?
The first call I took as a Shift Co-ordinator was for a standard sample to go between two hospital sites, it was an easy call that we completed without any delay. But looking back, the first time the phone rang, it did fill me with anticipation – not knowing what you’re going to be asked for, or if you’re going to have the resources to be able to accept it, is always an unknown. The next call could be a request for emergency blood across the region, and that could mean diverting an in-flight rider as well as a whole host of other things that get set in motion, all with the ultimate aim of saving a patient’s life.

What advice would you give to a budding Blood Biker?
Remember you’re not on your own, even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere on the bike. There’s nothing your Shift Co-ordinator can’t do for you.  And remember to check where you’re going – it’s not unheard of to see a biker arrive at the wrong hospital by mistake!

If you could tell someone one thing about the Blood Bikers, what would it be?
You don’t have to (be able to) ride a bike! There are plenty of operational & non-operational roles which don’t require any kind of driving licence.

Could you be a volunteer Shift Co-ordinatorhttps://do-it.org/#/opportunities/698206ed-0994-4da6-98b3-49bdd2687104