Claim back your parking when you give blood!

By Maggie Don on November 25, 2016

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After a year it seems that still nobody knows that blood donors at Kettering’s Corn Market Hall can claim their parking fees back!

Just over a year ago I moved a motion at Kettering Council calling for them to refund the cost of parking for blood donors using the council’s Corn Market Hall car park. I believe strongly that the council be should be encouraging volunteers to give blood and that it is wrong for them to profit from people doing good for our community.

After a long debate, this was finally agreed. Six months later I was concerned that people were still not aware of the new system so spoke again at a full council meeting asking for an update, and I was assured the system was now in place and the blood donor staff had all been informed that donors could take their validated parking tickets into the council’s reception for a full refund.

This week I had the opportunity to test this in practice as I had an appointment to give blood myself. Having done my civic duty and duly emptied my arm, I sat down to have the prescribed cup of tea and make my next appointment and asked about validating my ticket for the refund.

Initially it appeared none of the staff had any idea about the scheme or how to administer it. This prompted quite a debate among my fellow donors who also didn’t know about the scheme. Eventually someone was found who had heard of the scheme and they managed to find the required stamp for my parking ticket. I was them able to go to the council office and claim back my £1.50 parking charge without any further problems.

But how difficult is it? This is such an obviously good thing for the council to do, but without donors knowing anything about it what is the point?

All the council had to do is put up a framed poster in the reception of Corn Market Hall and both donors and the blood donor staff would at least have a chance to know about it. There is currently no sign, there doesn’t appear to be any mention of the scheme on the council’s website, and I wonder just how many people have heard that they can get their parking refunded, did you?

I have since emailed the blood transfusion service asking them to promote he scheme with their staff, but clearly as a council initiative KBC have a responsibility to promote it, otherwise what’s the point?

It looks like a year on, I am going to have to raise the issue for a third time with the council but one of my fellow donors asked me “if the council can’t get something as simple as this right, what chance have we got with other things?” He may have a point.

I have lived in the borough for almost 40 years, and raised my family here. I was first elected to Kettering Borough Council in 1994, and was deputy leader of the Labour group, and lead spokesperson for housing and the voluntary sector, for many years. Now retired, but for many years I was the CEO for Kettering Centre for the Unemployed running education courses and providing support to those with little or no basic qualifications. I was elected to the new Kettering Town Council for Wicksteed & St Michaels and to Burton Latimer Town Council in May 2021.

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