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3rd Apr, 2012

Making the most of networking
by James Mitchell on April 3, 2012 19:19


JCI Cambridge's March 'Speed Networking' session, led by James Mitchell, was a great success in giving our members and guests the chance to both learn and brush up on their networking skills as well as making lots of new connections. Read on for James' roundup of the evening and his top tips for making the most of any networking opportunities.

Delivered in 3 parts, the session first consisted of splitting attendees into smaller groups, where each person took it in turns during timed rounds to talk about themselves in relation to one of the many important elements of effective networking, such as "What makes your business unique?" and "What is your role within your business?". After everyone had had a go at each of the 5 timed rounds attendees were asked to deliver an elevated pitch to their group where they combined all of the previous rounds' topics.

The second part was for attendees to volunteer to share this elevated pitch with the rest of the room.

Now that everyone had practised their elevated pitch and heard form others, the final stage was for the floor to be opened up to allow everyone to speak to anyone or chosen individuals in greater detail.

"The speed networking was a great opportunity to meet people from a wide variety of business backgrounds, and also develop networking and self promotion skills. A really good evening!"  Amanda McDowall - IPULSE

Below is a short "Top Tips to Networking" which will help refine what was covered in this event help the people who missed out on attending.  The most important of which is to follow up - there are so many tools available to us to make it easy to do. For example when you are given a business card the chances are that they are on LinkedIn. Make sure you connect with them and send them a quick thank you and if possible recommend a contact that maybe useful to them.

To Practise the art of following up we are holding a competition! ANYONE to write a comment about this event on our Facebook page by Monday 16th April will be entered into a prise draw to win a bottle of wine at our next event on Tuesday 17th April.


Top Tips to Networking (downloadable version available here)

1.  Have a plan

Before you attend, always have an idea of what your goal is for each event you attend. Know beforehand what outcome you want for yourself or for the people you meet at each event, such as:

 - Do you want to meet 3 people and focus on getting to know them really well?

 - Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client?

  - Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information?

When you have a plan it is easier to stay focused and successfully achieve your expected outcomes. It also helps you to keep on track with helping others to achieve their goals, remind yourself to be generous with your own knowledge and connections.


2.  Be Prepared

To make the most of your plan utilise any additional information or communication services provided by the organiser prior to attending. This could include identifying key people from the supplied attendee list, connecting with other attendees via the organiser's or your own social media channels e.g. Facebook, Linkedin.


3.  Don't forget your networking tools

Always have networking tools with you at all times which includes:

 - an ample supply of business cards

 - your name badge

 - a pen

  - any marketing material such as brochures or leaflets.


4.  Arrive early so you are available to meet people as they arrive

By arriving early you are less likely to feel rushed and flustered. It also means you are able to identify the key people that you have already decided to make contact with, letting you focus on learning about the t relevant people. People do business with people they like and you will be judged by others, like it or not, based on their first impression of you.


5.  Leave your troubles behind

Put on a happy face at the door and remind yourself that it is 'show time', this is your time to sparkle and shine. People will look forward to seeing and meeting you if you are energetic, positive and outgoing. Again, people enjoy doing business with people that they like so do not burden or bore people with your troubles or problems.


6.  Be a Giver and/or a Connector

When you focus on 'giving' and being helpful to others, the 'getting' will come later ... and often in unexpected ways. Foremost to remember is that no one likes a person with a taker' mentality. When you are generous people will notice and respect you for your kind nature and people generally do business with people that they respect, trust and like.

Act like a host at every event you attend by connecting people. This can be a simple act of introducing 2 people to each other or as elaborate as giving a testimonial about a person and their services to an entire group. All of these acts allow you to focus on the 'other' and grows your social capital in the room.


7.  Be Genuine

Everyone knows when someone is 'schmoozing' so always be genuine in your interactions, because again, it comes back to building trust when showing brand 'you'. There is a huge difference between being INTERESTED and being INTERESTING. When you are genuinely interested in learning about someone and their business entirely for the sake of learning, you will leave a better and longer lasting impression as someone who genuinely cares.


8.  Listen with focus

When someone is speaking give that person your entire focus and LISTEN. The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what the person is saying, so really listen and keep your eyes and ears focused. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by letting your thoughts wander from what is being said to you. You've heard this before and it's worth repeating: you have 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason, listen twice as much as you talk.


9.  Do Teach, Don't Sell

The goal in networking is never the immediate sale of a product but the building of relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do. Word of mouth is the most cost effective and powerful promotional tool so at every opportunity teach others about in a focused way, who you are as a person and what it is that you do. Always present a clear explanation of the type of clients that you are looking for. In doing this, you will be building a sales force that is far wider reaching than you are on your own.


10.  Follow up

After the event send a thank you email to each person that you have had direct contact with. Mention something from your discussion in the thank you (it helps if you jot notes on the back of each person's business card). If there is a referral that you can supply to someone you've just met, include that in the follow up note. Showing up and following up are the two most important parts of networking. Showing up at an event is the easy part, the follow up is sadly the most neglected part of networking. Since so many people fail to follow up you can really stand out by just doing this simple act of reaching out to remind someone of who you are and what you do ... and that you are interested in exploring a relationship.


11.  Follow up some more!

Statistics show that on average it takes between 7 and 12 impressions for a consumer to make a buying decision, and those are old numbers! With the overload of information we all face every day, the number of impressions required is more likely to be 15 - 20 before you make the connections you are looking to build! Meeting face to face is the 1st impression, an email, a phone call, another email, a lunch date ... don't stop after 1 or 2 impressions, keep going. Good networkers know that to build strong relationships they must dig deeper and make a sustained effort to build and develop ongoing relationships!

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28th Mar, 2012

JCI Cambridge River Projects - World Clean Up 2012
by James Mitchell on March 28, 2012 20:42


JCI is taking action against illegal dumping and careless behaviour towards the environment by supporting a number of "clean up" projects throughout the world between 24 March and 25 September 2012. These projects are about doing something together to benefit the environment.

As part of this campaign, JCI Cambridge will be taking part in two river clean-up projects in 2012 - cleaning the River Cam and the River Sturmer.

The first part is the "Cambridge Spring Clean" organised by the Cleaner Cambridge Campaign.  Taking place on Saturday April 14th 2012 10am - 12.30pm the aim is to clear the River Cam and adjacent open spaces of all surface litter from Fen Causeway to Fen Ditton.

Teams will meet at one of three locations:

  • Stourbridge Common from Riverside

  • The Fort St George (where coffee before and a BBQ afterwards are free for all!)

  • The bridge outside The Mill Pub and Scudamores


The second part is our own event, cleaning up the river near Sturmer on Saturday 21st July.

We are encouraging our membership to help us to clean these beautiful rivers, which we hope will offer a good chance to socialise whilst doing something good for the community. We will be finishing each day in true JCI Cambridge style... with a drink or two!  

If would like more information please get in touch by emailing us at or book your place for cleaning up the River Cam click here

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information.

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19th Mar, 2012

Donate your time, not just your money appeal
by James Mitchell on March 19, 2012 21:51



We all think of charity donations in financial terms, but donating your time to community projects is often as equally valuable to an organisation as any financial contribution.  Volunteering also has added personal benefits because volunteers are provided with the opportunity to build strong relationships and friendships with the organisations supported.

This year, in conjunction with our "2012 Challenge" JCI Cambridge is also running the "donate your time, not just your money appeal", encouraging members to get out into the local community, be active and make a difference.

We will be supporting a number of community projects throughout the year and would very much like you to join us! The hours donated by our membership can also be logged as part of the JCI UK Active Citizen Experience (ACE) Project (see below).

If you are interested in volunteering with us please get in touch by emailing us at, we would love to hear from both members and non-members.

In addition, we would also be pleased to hear from any local organisations who think JCI Cambridge might be able to assist in other local community projects.



JCI Cambridge is ACE!!

One of the core values of JCI is to be an active citizen and to make a local impact. In 2011 JCI UK launched a volunteering project on a national level under the name "ACE" - Active Citizen Experience, to reward those members who went a bit further and actively got involved in their local community.

ACE is a community hours project where JCI Members can register their volunteer hours. Members are awarded bronze, silver and gold certificates (according to the hours logged) in recognition of their efforts. The certificates are awarded at national events by the National President and National Community Director.

Bronze 10 hours

Silver 20 hours

Gold 30 hours

Any type of volunteering is eligible for ACE, so whether it is the Big River Clean Up, helping to fundraise for Wallace Cancer Care or running the Race for Life, it all counts.

JCI Cambridge would like our members to achieve as many certificates as possible this year.


All you need to do is click here, fill in the name of the JCI Member, log the time spent volunteering (in hours and minutes) and set out what the volunteering involved.

The JCI Cambridge committee would like to give a big thank you in advance, to the all members who take part in our "donate your time, not just your money appeal" this year.


As JCI members, our mission is to create positive change in the world. We believe that by taking responsibility for our communities, we can create solutions to the problems we see around us.

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19th Feb, 2012

Be Assertive - A trainer's insight
by James Mitchell on February 19, 2012 23:32


JCI Cambridge's January 'Be Assertive' workshop trainer Garin Rouch, explains further about what was covered during the session.

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In the session we looked at what assertiveness is, what stops people from being assertive and a structure for tackling the often difficult task of saying 'no'!

In a nutshell, assertiveness is being able to express your opinions and feelings, but in a way that also respects the rights of others. Assertiveness isn't about being aggressive or always getting your own way. It is about standing up for yourself constructively. It's not about winning, but about being able to walk away feeling that you have successfully and clearly put across what it is you wanted to say.

Asserting yourself means:

  • You can say 'Yes' when you mean 'Yes' and 'No' when you mean 'No'

  • You can communicate to others what you are feeling clearly and calmly

  • You do not let fear of conflict stop you from speaking

  • You feel good about yourself

  • You feel entitled to be who you are and to express what you feel


Being assertive has many benefits; others have more respect for you, you don't allow yourself to be mistreated, you benefit from healthier relationships and you have the confidence to make decisions and have a voice.


So if being assertive is the most effective and positive way to behave and communicate, why do we sometimes find it so difficult and end up behaving in ineffective negative ways?

We are heavily influenced by our flight or fight response, originating in prehistoric times. Thousands of years ago, human's response to dangers such as wild animals or opposing tribes was either to run away or attack the danger.

Today, our society is a lot more complex meaning we can't respond to danger in the same way. For example, if our boss threatens us with the sack we can't respond by jumping over the desk and attacking them with a spear (no matter how tempting it may be!).Alternatively, we can't just run out of the building back to our home!

Our modern non-assertive responses are:

  • Aggressive: Being arrogant, forceful or determined to get your own way.

  • Passive: Deferring your own needs and wishes in favour of others' needs and wants.

  • Passive-aggressive: indirect and manipulative communication and behaviour


In some situations you may feel capable of being assertive. But in other circumstances you may find it difficult to express yourself honestly and clearly. We asked JCI members to self-assess themselves and recognise their levels of assertiveness in 2 different contexts; at work and with friends. A lot of people were surprised with the results and took time to reflect on the reasons why they found it more difficult to be assertive in one area of their life compared to another.

There are a number of reasons why you may find it challenging to be assertive in different situations. These include your beliefs, your upbringing, relationships and levels of confidence. Your ability to assertive will also be influenced by other peoples' behaviour.

For example, with high unemployment and redundancy levels, a feeling of job insecurity means it can be difficult to assert our needs at work. We can find it difficult to say 'no' to a senior person making an unreasonable request even if it forces us into working longer hours or neglecting our own work.

As a final exercise, JCI members were given a structure for saying 'no'. In our experience as consultants to leading organisations, we found employees feel a lot of anxiety about the consequences of saying 'no'. People often don't say anything at all, agree to things they'd rather not or get landed with work that isn't theirs.

So, JCI members made a pledge to each other that they would say 'no' to a particular person or situation before the next session on the 21st February.  So when you go to the next session, make sure you ask JCI members who they said 'no' to and what happened!


This is the third time Outstand has delivered to JCI Cambridge and we always enjoy delivering sessions to JCI because of the lively debate and participation. The range of questions and the personal experiences many of you shared were really insightful and made for an extremely enjoyable evening.


If you would like to learn more about being more assertive in the workplace you can contact us today on 01223 911 811 or email us at


To find out what Stuart Young, one of JCI Cambridge's members thought of Garin's 'Be Assertive' workshop then read his latest blog.

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19th Feb, 2012

Be Assertive - January 2012 business workshop
by James Mitchell on February 19, 2012 23:04


JCI Cambridge's Committee Member, Stuart Young gives a round up of the latest business workshop - Be Assertive!!

Wow - another engaging and worthwhile presentation for JCI Cambridge and I was impressed. Delivered by Garin Rouch of Outstand he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with us all about being assertive to make the most of opportunities.

The evening started with the normal networking and although this can be a scary prospect for some people, I must admit that everyone at JCI was really friendly creating a welcoming atmosphere.

After a bit of networking, snacking and drinking we took our seats. People tended to stay within the groups that they had been networking in however I managed to get a seat at the back in order to observe the engagement of the audience.....

Just as we got comfy, we had the first group exercise!

Our mission (should we choose to accept it), was to line up in groups of about 7 facing each other, balancing a garden cane on both of our index fingers, and lower it to the ground whilst ensuring that we all maintain contact.

Easy, I hear you say - I think not - just try it!

After the group exercise, the workshop which lasted about an hour taught attendees what is meant be assertiveness and the skills required to find business solutions in a manner that doesn't violate other people's rights or cause undue anxiety. The session helped members' develop techniques that will assist them to find solutions to business problems without putting people down, or having to back down yourself.

Afterwards, some people stayed behind and others left - the option is completely yours. All I would say is that compared to my other options for the evening, I know I chose wisely. I met a bunch of people with similar interests, I learned how to say no effectively, and had a really interesting and enjoyable night.

With restricted resources and a higher demand for additional work, isn't it about time that you were more assertive?

Well done to JCI Cambridge and look forward to the next workshop.


To find out more about what was covered at the 'Be Assertive' workshop, then read Garin Rouch's latest blog.

For more of JCI Cambridge's upcoming events visit our Events Diary.

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7th Feb, 2012

Blood donations welcome - 6th March
by James Mitchell on February 7, 2012 21:43


JCI Cambridge is supporting the blood donor service in 2012 and you can join us by just giving up a little of your time to donate some of your blood!

Blood is something we all expect to be there for us when we need it, but surprisingly only 4% of us give blood. Many people would not be alive today if it wasn't for the generosity of blood donors.

Book your donation appointment today!!

  • The NHS needs 7000 units of donated blood daily
  • One donation is broken down into three live saving products
  • Donations are used to replace blood loss after accidents, childbirth or surgery and to treat people with blood disorders and those undergoing cancer treatment
  • Most people are eligible to give blood, you just need to be aged 17 to 65 (for a first time donor), weigh over 7 stone 12 (50kgs) and be in generally good health


So why not book your appointment today for this upcoming session with the mini Bloodmobile visiting Mott McDonald in Cambridge?

Date:  Tuesday 6th March

Time:  Between 9.45am to 12.35pm & 2.25 - 4.55pm

Where:  Situated in the Car Park, Demeter House, Station Road

Contact:  BY APPOINTMENT ONLY – Please call the NBS on 0300 123 23 23 quoting postcode CB1 2RS


Can I give blood?

Most people can give blood, but you should not donate if:

  • You have a chesty cough, sore throat, cold sore or you are at the beginning of a cold
  • You are taking antibiotics
  • You are pregnant, or have had a baby in the last 6 months
  • You have had complicated work on your teeth or an extraction in the last 7 days; had a filling, scale or polish in the last 24hrs
  • You have received blood, or think you may have received blood, since 1st January 1980
  • You are currently awaiting results for any tests undertaken by your healthcare provider.


In the last four months you have:

  • Had a tattoo, skin piercing or semi-permanent make up
  • Had acupuncture, unless this was done by the NHS or you have the appropriate certificate of accreditation


In the last six months you have:

  • Visited a malarial area


You can visit the blood service website for general information or details of other sessions in the area.

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28th Jan, 2012

Inspiration Day 2012
by James Mitchell on January 28, 2012 21:48


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JCI Cambridge Vice President Lisa Bredahl Thomsen, writes about JCI Inspiration Day held in Birmingham at the end of January.

JCI Cambridge had 7 delegates who went to Birmingham to attend INSPIRATION DAY 2012. 

The big inspiration for 2012 started with an introduction by our National President 2012 - Solveig Malvig. We then had an introduction of Marketing, personal development, and international opportunities coming up in the first half of 2012.

Richard Tong and Emma Eastwood then had three minutes each to talk about why we should select them to be the Deputy President 2012 and President 2013. This was a really good way to get to know more about where they want to take JCI UK in 2013.

An important part of JCI is community projects such as "World Clean Up - 13 May 2012. The hours we all contribute to the community can now be logged and we get awarded for the hours we give back.

A mentoring training opportunity is available for JCI members at  - Here we can attend training, or get a trainer to come to our local Chapters before the end of March. This compliments JCI Cambridge's mentoring of Anglia Ruskin's University students.     

The key note speaker of the day was Noam Kostucki, who made some great points how to "Turn Passion into Actions". Mr. Kostucki made us aware about how important it is to talk about what we didn't achieve last year, and what we learned from it. Did we really want it in the first place?

It's important to think about the next step, how can we take the next step?

Mr. Kostucki also spoke about how important it is to not only to put words on your visions, but to actually be able to draw pictures of your visions. This will make your visions more clear, and touchable. Another point about your visions is to share them with others, not just your plan on how to get there.

It's always important to remember to get feedback, and to get both negative feedback and positive feedback. So, know your friends, who will give you unbiased criticism of your ideas to help you gain clarity.

After lunch we have a short introduction to JCI Active Citizen Framework, which is to help the local Chapters to understand the local community, identify areas where we can help in either big or small ways.

Our big task of the day was to go out in our teams and raise awareness of JCI in Birmingham, especially regarding the re-launch of JCI Birmingham on the 9 February 2012. This was approached in different ways by each team, Many people in Birmingham saw JCI logos and talked with current members of JCI about the work of the organisation. We were very pleased that we did a fantastic job of making JCI more visible in Birmingham.

JCI Cambridge finished the day by passing over a gift to Jen Little, our past president 2009-2011, to thank her for her amazing work restarting JCI Cambridge and building it from just two members to a thriving Chamber of around 60 members in two years!

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9th Nov, 2011

Close the Sale!
by James Mitchell on November 9, 2011 11:14


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Marcus Evans, November's JCI Cambridge speaker, tells us how the workshop went and give us spme tips on how to close a sale:

It was a wet and windy night on the 8th of November and the JCI were having an event to hand over presidency. There were flowers and awards and the old president stepped down in style.

Then it was a case of on to the workshop. I was taking a short training class on sales. I work as managing director of an office relocation company, but also run an I.T company that helps people with their systems and computer hardware, with no company to small. The most enjoyable part of my job is sales training which allows me to talk to people one on one, or as a group and teach them about the art of sales. If anyone is interested in this just drop me an email to

Over prepared I had four topics to go through but in this case we only went through one. This is to the credit of the JCI as they asked a number of questions and had a higher level of engagement to normal audiences. We went through a number of ways to deal with objections and then split into groups of three to see how these worked in practice, with one person playing the client another the prospect and the third observing. The pitch was to sell Coca Cola to a restaurant. I chose this as everyone is familiar with Pepsi and Cokes rivalry and also it's an easy concrete product to deal with. A service based product would have been much harder to deal with.

After five minutes we broke and then one by one the observers reported back what had gone well, what badly, and how the pitch had gone. By and large the feedback was positive, and each group used different objection handling techniques to deal with the questions that arose. As with all groups it was mixed as to what jobs people did and how experienced at sales they were but it was gratifying to hear the techniques and was also a great bonus to see so many good budding sales people there, especially as I had picked the groups at random.

The techniques themselves are relatively simple with each being a logical response to an objection. Some work by using the objection as a method to close, (Conditional Closing) whilst others allow for a slow moving in on the client by building credibility and overcoming specific difficulties (LAARC).

After this we went through a round of questions before I started onto the second round of objection handling. Before I knew it an hour had passed and we were nearing the end of the talk. People asked more questions as we went and I rounded off with a very brief chat about telesales. Below this blog I have included the more lengthy chat about objection handling and if anyone who was there or anyone who missed it wants to contact me or ask me anything further please let me know.


Objection-handling techniques and methods


Boomerang: Bouncing back what they give you

LAARC: Listen, Acknowledge, Assess, Respond, Confirm

Reprioritize: So ones you can't handle are lower

Renaming: Change the words to change the meaning

Objection Chunking: Taking a higher or lower viewpoint

Writing: Write down objections then cross them off as you handle them

Conditional Close: Make closure a condition for resolving their objection

Humour: Respond with humour rather than frustration

LAIR: Listen, Acknowledge, Identify objection, Reverse it

Pre-empting: Handle them before they happen.

Pushback: Object to their objection

Reframing: Change their cognitive frame

Deflection: Avoid responding to objection, just letting it pass

Feel, felt, found: A classic way of moving them

Justification: Say how reasonable the objection is.


Don't attempt to answer an objection until you are certain you know you have identified the true objection. E.g. 'It's too expensive' could mean:

Costing more than I thought

Outside my budget

More than I can authorise

I'm not convinced of the value

I don't need the product

Four don'ts

Pouncing: Don't pounce, let them talk

Glibness: Don't be glib, you'll sound like you have eaten the sales manual and appear slippery

Don't argue: If you argue you become the enemy

Don't point score: Bluntly proving them wrong will make them unhappy



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12th Oct, 2011

JCI Cambridge goes speed networking!
by James Mitchell on October 12, 2011 11:22


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As a change to the usual workshop style business events JCI Cambridge are famous for, this month we decided to mix things up a little!

Speed networking. It's like speed dating. Fast, fun and frantic! 

We are extremely grateful to the highly energised and incredibly organised Sarah Butler-Ford for organising and running the event. Using a chart that I can only describe as looking like some sort of explanation on aerodynamics, speed dating is more than just a stop watch and some chairs. People have to be numbered, some people move seats, others stay put. Using a mathematical formula that is beyond the comprehension of us simple folk, Sarah ensured that every single person in the room got their chance to pitch to every other person for 60 seconds. 


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That's no mean feat!

A fantastic turn out of 25 attendees ensured a mix of all professions and personalities. From graphic designers, to tax accountants, event organisers and fruit sellers, we all got the chance to chat. 

Thank you once again to Sarah Butler Ford for all your hard work. Sarah ensured JCI Cambridge had a fantastic evening, creating an amazing buzz and ensuring everyone made many new, valuable connections!


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3rd Oct, 2011

Do something amazing and become a blood or platelet donor!
by James Mitchell on October 3, 2011 10:01


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You can do something amazing and become a blood or platelet donor!


Blood is something we all expect to be there for us when we need it, yet only 4% of us give blood. Many people would not be alive today if it wasn't for the generosity of our donors. The NHS needs 7000 units of donated blood daily and one donation is broken down into three live saving products. These donations are used to replace blood loss after accidents, childbirth or surgery and to treat people with blood disorders and those undergoing cancer treatment. To be eligible to give blood you need to be aged 17 to 65 (for a first time donor), weigh over 7 stone 12 (50kgs) and be in generally good health.


There is always an urgent need for whole blood but you may not be aware that there is always the same need for platelets as well - every bit as urgent. Most platelet donations are given to patients who are unable to make enough platelets in their bone marrow. For example, patients with leukemia or other cancers may have too few platelets as the result of their disease or treatment. Platelet donation takes place in a special clinic on the Addenbrookes site (there is free parking for donors) and we ask our Platelet donors to give at least 10 times a year. You need to give a small sample to see if your platelet count is high enough and if it is, and you can make the extra commitment, we will welcome you as a platelet donor.

The need for both whole blood and platelet donors is a great one so if you are interested please visit or call 0300 123 23 23 to find more information or to find a local blood donor session. 



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