I've given blood 10 times. I'm not exactly a record breaking donor. I started giving blood when I was around 18 when the National Blood Service used to collect blood in the canteen. When I started the business it was always hard making the time. The last few years have seen me going more consistently.
The blood service also have a really useful web site. It allows you to book appointments and find out how your blood is used. The thing I find most interesting is the "Blood Stocks" page, which gives you up to date information on how much blood is in stock by number of units and more usefully how many days they think that stock will last. As I write this, there are 39,854 units of blood available in the country but only 0.6% (258 units) are in my blood group. Before I go and wrap my self in bublewrap and cotton wool, this will last about 5 days. They don't have to have your blood group, some groups can take blood from other groups and all of this is explained on their web site.
I encourage you all to go and give blood at your local donor session.
Giving blood costs nothing and one day it may help someone you know. It may even help you. If you are nervous about giving blood feel free to give me a call and if I can I'll go with you.