A donation of $10,000 has been made by buildings technology firm Johnson Controls to a voluntary organisation that has been at the forefront of transporting Covid-19 tests during the pandemic.
Blood Bike South took on the responsibility to transport Covid-19 tests from test centres, as well as its usual transportation of blood, breast milk, patient documents, and drugs.
The voluntary-led organisation relies solely on fundraising and had its annual Strictly Come Dancing fundraiser, which was due to take place in March, cancelled due to the virus.
To their surprise, after the cancellation of the event, a sum of $10,000 landed in their bank account from Johnson Controls after Global Director and Sustainability Ambassador Jim Young stepped in with a contribution from Johnson Controls’ sustainability fund.
Mr Young said that he wanted to make the donation to a “local charity that does amazing work” and said “Johnson Controls with our headquarters in Cork city is very proud of our connection to the city and to the region”.
“This goes hand-in-glove with our global commitment as one of the most sustainable and socially responsible companies in the world.” He said that as he was looking to commit the funds, he had heard about the cancellation of their fundraiser and had just read an article outlining how Blood Bikes were spending three times more on fuel than normal due to their Covid19 commitments.
The company’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, Grady Crosby, had asked Mr Young to identify a charity involved in Covid-19 response for the fund, which he said was “all good timing”.
“They do amazing work, they’re a great crowd and a lovely group of people,” he said.
Fundraiser with Blood Bike South, Ann Cronin, said that they were “delighted” to receive the funding which will go toward paying off a loan that was taken out to replace one of the organisation’s three bikes.
“We have to keep the vehicles on the roads because we don't get a penny from anybody so we have to fundraise to ensure the tyres on the three bikes, the tax, insurance and NCT are all up to scratch,” she said.
She said that the upkeep of the bikes for the 25 voluntary members is important as they work throughout the night from 7pm through to 7am and 24 hours at the weekend.
“It was an 11-year-old bike that needed to be fixed so we got a loan of €17,000 and updated the bike. We knew we had a huge burden to pay this off and we can't believe we’re after getting a huge amount of money in one sweep. We are so thankful,” she said.
Blood Bike South carries blood seven days a week, as well as urine samples, spinal fluids, breast milk and patient documents and members volunteer their time on a rostered basis.