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Volunteers Week 2023: Diabetes Edinburgh

Happy Volunteers’ Week 2023! What an exciting week to be celebrating and the theme couldn’t be more apt; #SmallActionsBigImpact!

With this in mind, we're delighted to share the story of the evolution of the Diabetes Edinburgh group. The group evolved from our volunteer Jean Langford's question; “is there a support group in Edinburgh?”, and the result of that question has led to a community group which has been running for 6 months, with 6 team members and has brought together the diabetes community in Edinburgh of almost 30 people frequently attending the 6 meet-ups they've hosted to date!

You can follow Diabetes Edinburgh on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook under @DiabetesEdinburgh to keep up to date.

How and Why Diabetes Edinburgh Started 

 "I moved to Edinburgh in July 2022 ahead of starting my Masters in Dietetics at Queen Margaret University. On moving over, I wanted to meet new people, I wanted to meet people living with diabetes, and I wanted to get a grasp of the health system here, so I reached out to Diabetes Scotland inquiring about a support group, little did I know I would be so lucky to get to set one up! There had been a group previously, who had unfortunately disbanded with the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The brilliant Mhairi Macdonald, Engaging Communities & Volunteering Officer, came to the rescue and put me in touch with others who were interested in re-establishing a support group! We are so thankful to Mhairi for all of her support in connecting us, getting us set up, and supporting us throughout the last 6 months; we would not have been able to achieve what we have without her encouragement, support, and help. Without Mhairi, we would not be here six months later with a team of 6 people, 6 meetups and events put behind us, and a calendar of meet ups to look forward to for the rest of 2023! Mhairi is essentially the 7th member of our team!" - Jean Langford, Volunteer

The Team

The Diabetes Edinburgh team organising the meetups, meetings, and behind the socials, is made up of 6 Diabetes Scotland volunteers all living with type 1 diabetes; Alyssa Faulkner, Shelley Murray, Jessica Chapman, Norma Fraser and Alison Templeton and Jean Langford!

  • Alyssa, Shelley, Alison, and Jean are all members of the Tech Collective
  • Alyssa and Shelley are Young Leaders for Diabetes Scotland
  • Alison, Norma, Shelley and Alyssa are all members of the diabetes Cross Party Group at the Scottish Parliament
  • Alyssa, Shelley, and Jean volunteer at Type 1 events
  • Alison is a member of two diabetes groups as a patient and parent representing type 1 diabetes and diabetes tech
  • Norma facilitates, and Alison is a member of, the weekly type 1 Diabetes Scotland Peer Support Group
  • Shelley and Jess recently volunteered at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Some honorary volunteer shout-outs also go to the brilliant The Diabetic Survivor who designed the Diabetes Edinburgh logo and newsletter, who has provided amazing diabetes goody bags for free raffles at the meetups to date! A second shout-out to another honorary volunteer, Craig Docherty who has designed templates and calendar outline for the coming months! Small actions = a big impact, and a big thanks! 

Events to Date

Since starting up in November 2022 Diabetes Edinburgh are thrilled with how far they have come in just 6 months! 6 meetups so far, a team that has grown from 3 to 6 people, and already have an exciting calendar of meet-ups planned for the rest of 2023!

Launch Event at DiabetesByDesign

The launch event was a very exciting one, held at a type one diabetes themed art exhibition! Diabetes Edinburgh had the privilege of having the venue to themselves at the lovely DOT cafe in Edinburgh for the evening of the 13th of November, the day before World Diabetes Day (which is November 14th in case it’s not in your calendar!), to immerse in the exhibition called “The Highs and Lows of Living with Diabetes” by award winning designer Alex Durussel-Baker (DiabetesByDesign). Alex also gave a talk on the story of her diagnosis as an adult behind the designs.

Diabetes Themed Paper Cutting Workshop 

The second event was a paper cutting workshop which was very kindly adapted to be diabetes themed by Papercut Punk at Support the Makers in Edinburgh. This was a wonderful evening to relax, chat all things diabetes and get creative. The group were so grateful for the workshop to have been tailored to them and to have the opportunity to do something different! Not only was the workshop fabulous, they got to take away kits to continue practicing our new paper cutting skills at home, also stocked with skittles as hypo treats!

The Tech Collective on Diabetes Chat 

On Monday the 31st of July at 8pm, a few members of Diabetes Edinburgh who are also part of the Tech Collective have been invited to the Diabetes Chat to talk about the current ‘Diabetes Tech Can’t Wait’ campaign, the Diabetes Cross Party Group's updates at Scottish Parliament, and their plans going forward! If you want to learn more, you can join in virtually in discussions on the Twitter Chat Space or Diabetes Chat on YouTube.


Type All Taco Thursdays

Other events to date have been “Type All Taco Thursdays”, which people living with all types of diabetes can attend. There has been 4 of these events so far and Diabetes Edinburgh have a calendar of them scheduled below so you can save the dates. The venue changes each time to try to reach all corners of Edinburgh! If there is a venue you can recommend, please do reach out to Diabetes Edinburgh on social media or via email at


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