Diabetes UK has been awarded £465,452 from the Centre for Social Action’s Innovation Fund to develop an education and support programme for people with Type 2 diabetes to help better manage their condition.
The Fund, which is run by Nesta and funded by the Cabinet Office, supports the growth of innovations that mobilise people’s energy and talents to help each other, working alongside public services.
The grant will be used by Diabetes UK to set up a training programme in four areas that aims to support more than 7,000 people with Type 2 diabetes.
People with Type 2 diabetes will be trained to become facilitators for new support groups where people with the condition can talk to each other about issues they are facing, with monthly sessions also incorporating an engaging programme of information modules to increase participants’ diabetes knowledge.
Participants will also receive regular access to a diabetes specialist nurse. The new programme is a response to the fact that many people with diabetes do not get the psychological support they need, while just one in 10 people newly diagnosed with diabetes are offered education to help them manage their condition.
The new programme follows a successful pilot run by Cambridge University Hospitals, which significantly improved the average blood pressure of the 1,299 participants and helped people feel more confident dealing with the day-to-day pressures of diabetes.
"Could be rolled out across country"
Diabetes UK hopes that by further developing the content of this pilot on a larger scale to include interactive learning as well as peer-to-peer emotional support it will provide a model that could eventually be rolled out by the NHS across the country.
Diabetes UK believe this has the long-term potential to make a difference in improving the health of people with Type 2 diabetes and reducing rates of devastating health complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We know that people with diabetes often struggle to access the education and psychological support they need to best manage their condition.
"But by training facilitators to lead groups where people with Type 2 diabetes can get support and advice from other people with the condition, this new programme has the potential to fill some of that gap by helping give people a sense of confidence and control.
"Could lead to better health"
“We are delighted that the Centre for Social Action’s Innovation Fund has agreed to fund this programme because the results of the pilot in Cambridgeshire show that this kind of support and education can also lead to better health and so has the potential to help people with Type 2 diabetes live longer and healthier lives.
“Also, if this programme is successful in improving people’s psychological and physical health, we can provide a model of support that could potentially be rolled out across the country and so make a long-term positive impact on a national scale.”
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: “Diabetes UK has created a programme that, with the right support and funding, could greatly benefit a significant number of people. It is ventures like this that The Centre for Social Action can support, by mobilising people to help solve some of the social challenges we face in the UK. I want to wish Diabetes UK every success with this programme.”