DIABETES UK is seeking people in Essex with Type 2 diabetes who are interested in helping to support others who also have the condition.
The charity is pioneering a new service called Type 2 Together, which will connect people who have diabetes with each other in local surroundings. Relaxed and informal group sessions will be led by trained volunteers.
The charity wants to recruit 50 volunteers with Type 2 diabetes in Essex, one of the first areas in the UK where the scheme is being launched.
Sharon Roberts, Eastern Regional Manager for Diabetes UK, said: “We know that people with Type 2 diabetes can often feel worried or unsure about how best to manage their condition and are all too often unable to access practical information and support. Type 2 Together is all about helping people meet others who also have the condition, and supporting them to learn more about how to manage their diabetes better.
“The idea is that anyone in the area with Type 2 diabetes will be able to meet others in their local community and not need to travel for miles. The scheme will be run by volunteers – we are hoping to recruit plenty of wonderful people as group leaders – but it will also involve inviting local diabetes healthcare professionals to group meetings to help the group learn more about living well with Type 2 diabetes.
“We are looking for committed people with Type 2 diabetes to lead the groups. We want people who are open-minded, empathetic and who feel they could help others think through their situation and options without telling them what they ‘should’ do.
“At the moment we are mainly looking for volunteers in central and north east Essex such as Chelmsford, Colchester and surrounding towns and villages, like Braintree and Clacton-on-Sea.”
Would-be volunteers will need to be able to commit to two days of training and a few hours of volunteering each month. Diabetes UK will provide practical tools and a specialist educator to help support them.
The volunteers will also work alongside Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Local Authorities, local health clinicians and voluntary sector organisations.
The first training dates are the 4th and 11th of November in Chelmsford. To find out more about volunteering for Type 2 Together, or to register, ring 0345 123 399 or email Type2Together@diabetes.org.uk.
If you don’t want to be a volunteer but are interested in joining one of the groups being set up you can also contact Diabetes UK on the same number or e-mail. The groups should be up and running by Christmas.