In a similar model to the UK Blood Bank Service we are establishing donor milk hubs to ensure all parts of the country have equitable access to donor human milk. All donor milk is first pasteurised, screened and frozen at the Hearts Milk Bank HQ in Hertfordshire and then transported and stored in medical grade freezers at the hubs. Our hubs also act as centres of community lactation support. This solution has been implemented in Brazil with huge success – since the introduction of a national milk bank service, their child mortality rates have halved and breastfeeding rates increased from 4% to 76%.
Our mission is to build a service that will have the same impact in the UK. If you’d like to help fundraise for your local hub please get in touch!
The Norfolk donor milk hub, based at Hellesdon Hospital opened in 2019. The milk bank hub was the first of its kind in East Anglia and enables the local SERV Norfolk Blood Bike volunteers to transport donor milk to and from the Hearts Milk Bank in Hertfordshire more efficiently and store it in freezers at the hub ready to go out to hospitals and families at home in the region.
Find out more about the wonderful team in Norfolk who keep this hub operational:
Article: Norfolk Blood Bikes
Article: Just One Norfolk
The Sussex Hub was launched in partnership with the SERV Sussex Blood Bike group and opened in 2022. Located in Lancing, the hub allows more sick and premature babies in the region to receive safe, screened donor milk and supports donors in the local community to donate their precious milk. Roy Stagg, Chair of the SERV Sussex said, ‘We are looking forward to helping more families to receive and donate human milk and to growing the hub and its reach in the coming years.’
Based at Darent Valley Hospital, our donor milk hub is enabling hospitals across Kent that care for tiny premature babies to access donor milk more quickly. The bloodbike volunteers of SERV Kent and SERV Herts and Beds are also able to save many road miles each month, and vital time in getting milk to hospitals. Coming later this year, a separate hub will make donor milk available for families in the community, and to support local mums who would like to donate milk their baby will not need.
We are very grateful to the Alexa Trust, an amazing charity working to improve the care of newborn infants across Kent, who so generously funded this hub.
In partnership with Swansea University and Swansea Bay University Health Board in January 2022 we opened the first donor milk hub in Wales. The hub, located in Swansea’s Singleton hospital will enable more families in Wales to receive and donate human milk, and the research evaluation of its impact is the start of an exciting innovation in perinatal health for women across Wales and beyond. Professor Amy Brown, director for the centre of Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translation (LIFT) at Swansea University said: “We were delighted to recently receive funding from HEFCW to build the work of LIFT, part of which enabled us to establish the milk bank hub. We are looking forward to working with the HMF and the health board to enable more families to receive and donate human milk.”