THE Welsh Blood Service is increasing the amount of donation clinics it is running during the next few weeks, to try to boost stocks during the run-up to Christmas.

Thirty-five clinics are being run in the south east Wales area alone up to the end of December - including 13 in Gwent - as the service attempts to catch up on its own supplies after a period of service modernisation and staff training, when fewer clinics were held.

It was revealed earlier this months that the service had imported close to £500,000 worth of blood supplies from England in the past six months, to cover the training period. That compared to just £63,000 worth during 2010/11.

A Welsh Blood Service statement explained that its blood collection process had undergone "a significant modernisation" and had to import blood to minimise the impact on collections.

"The training programme for staff is complex and requires a controlled and extended period of time in order for staff to consolidate their new skills," it said.

"This ensures that the quality or safety of the service is not compromised. As such, during this period fewer donations were collected at this time. Whilst this has presented challenges to the Welsh Blood Service we are extremely appreciative of the continued support of our donors during this time."

Donation clinics will be held at the following venues in Gwent, to the end of December:

* Tuesday November 26: Asda, Blackwood (mobile clinic), 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-6pm

* Thursday November 28: Royal Gwent Hospital, 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.20pm

* Tuesday December 3: Newport Centre, 12.30pm-4.20pm

* Wednesday December 4: Caldicot choir hall, Mill Lane, 2pm-6.30pm

* Friday December 6: Henllys Suite, Cwmbran Stadium, 2pm-6.30pm

* Tuesday December 10: Beaufort Centre, Beaufort Road, St Julians, Newport, 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.20pm

* Wednesday December 11: Town Hall, Church Street, Caerleon, 3pm-6.30pm

* Thursday December 12: New Inn community hall, 1pm-5.30pm

* Wednesday December 18: Mamhilad Park Estate, near Pontypool, 9.30am-12.20pm and 1.45pm-4.15pm

* Thursday December 19: Mamhilad Park Estate, near Pontypool, 9.30am-12.20pm and 1.45pm-4.15pm

* Friday December 20: Usk memorial hall, Maryport Street, 1pm-5.30pm

* Monday December 23: Tydu community hall, Welfare Ground, Rogerstone, 2pm-6.30pm

* Friday December 27: Malpas community centre, Pillmawr Road, Newport, 1pm-5.30pm

For further details and to book appointments, telephone 0800 252266, or visit