Bradford College (@BradfordCollege) has received a share of £600,000 funding as part of the Government’s commitment to tackle health inequalities in Black and Asian communities.
The college has secured £10,000 for a campaign to encourage students to talk about organ donation with their friends and family. The project aims to tackle myths and enable students to talk openly and freely about what some see as a ‘taboo’ subject.
The project’s theme is “Bradford College – Let’s talk About Organ Donation”. Managing the project at Bradford College is Karen Piotr, who is also Chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Organ Donation Committee. She said: “We are going to be looking to get students involved in activities and tasks and talk to their families about their organ donation decisions.”
When Karen’s husband Mark died in May 2017, their previous conversations about organ donation empowered Karen to make the decision for Mark to be a donor.
In total, eight people received life-saving organ transplants after Mark’s death. Karen said this was possible as she had already had that important talk with Mark. She said: “I’m very grateful for where this has taken me, that I’m able to raise awareness.”
A series of in-class and online workshops are planned this year, tackling myths around organ donation and offering important information. Students will be encouraged to take part in a Family Conversation Competition where they will talk to their family. Afterwards, they will take a picture with their family using the hashtag #gettalking. Students will then share how the conversation went. They will be encouraged to spread the message in other ways such as through Tik Tok, videos and posters.
Leon Khan, part of the college’s projects team, successfully applied for the funding. He said: “Hopefully by having these conversations we can change common stigmas and attitudes that are associated with organ donation, resulting in positive change within Bradford’s communities. While we are trying to raise awareness and ultimately increase support for organ donation, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves. Our aim is to give them the facts and address the myths so they can make an informed decision.”
Media students from BAME backgrounds will record video interviews with faith leaders on the subject. For Freshers Week, staff and students will also create an organ donation stand.
In a content creation competition, students will create their own videos raising awareness around organ donation.
Two BAME student ambassadors will help deliver the project. They will try to gain a greater insight into the common difficulties young people face when talking to their families. Ambassadors will also be seen as “experts by experience” by sharing their own personal experiences with their peers.
It follows the awareness scheme Bradford College launched in February 2020 to break down myths and increase support for people who want to be a donor. At the launch event, staff and students heard from Karen about her experiences, as well as an organ donation recipient, the parents of a child whose life was saved by an organ donor and a surgeon who carries out the operations.
Due to the major success of last year’s event, the college will host a similar event online, inviting a transplant recipient, donor family and a variety of religious organisations to talk to students aged between 16 and 24. The event will be recorded and shared with NHSBT and the wider public.nd you will still be saving lives.