College creative arts leader volunteers on NHS front line

James Stanley, North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College, NWSLC

A college manager who leads on creative arts courses spends his free time as a volunteer transporting emergency blood supplies to NHS hospitals around the Midlands by motorbike. James Stanley from Kingsbury near Tamworth responds to calls on a high-powered motorbike collecting and delivering blood to hospitals in destinations from Sutton Coldfield and Warwick to Coventry and Birmingham.

By day, James is based at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College’s (NWSLC) creative arts Hinckley Campus where he manages a team of more than 30 tutors delivering courses in art and design, fashion and textiles, interior design, floristry, and photography. On two evenings each month, James is on stand-by overnight and can be called out to make journeys to relay lifesaving supplies between hospitals, or to transfer them to other couriers for more distant destinations.

James, who has worked for NWSLC for seven months as part of a 12-year career in the further education sector, is also a musician who has toured internationally including with soul band DC Fontana. He has also toured the country playing guitar in tribute acts performing songs by Amy Winehouse, Simply Red and Chic.

James said, “I had always wanted to ride a motorbike and invested a lot of time in developing high level roadcraft skills so I could be as safe as possible. After I had passed my test, I followed it up with an advanced course run by the police and became a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

“I was happy to volunteer to ride a ‘blood bike’ on behalf of the Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes (WSBB) charity and help the NHS, especially at this time when services are stretched by the coronavirus pandemic. The WSBB helps the NHS and charitable health organisations with transportation services outside normal working hours.

“I am sometimes required to transport COVID-19 samples, breast milk or platelets. It is a highly critical service, and the NHS needs people who are able to respond rapidly.”

Carrie-Anne Abdulai, Director for Higher Education and Access to Higher Education at NWSLC said, “James is a man of many talents and we are proud that he is making such a valuable contribution to the NHS at this crucial time. We are pleased to have him on the team where he is also working hard to support our tutors and students as we work through current restrictions.”

James added, “Although I really enjoy my volunteering role, my first passion is for the creative arts and I find it highly rewarding to see our students develop and grow with the support of our fantastic tutors. I am currently getting them involved with competing for a commission to design a Junior Jet as part of the LOROS Rocket Round Leicester project, a city art trail due to launch this summer.”