Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Volunteering and coronavirus

Here you’ll find our latest position on coronavirus and face-to-face volunteering. Whether you run a local group, volunteer at events or offer your time in any other way, read our guidance to stay safe.

For the latest updates on how the virus can affect people with diabetes, read our coronavirus and diabetes information. 

Face-to-face volunteering events

We believe there are very limited opportunities to restart face-to-face volunteering in a safe way right now, so all face-to-face volunteering is currently paused.

We make these decisions based on government guidance, our advice for people living with diabetes, our own risk assessment procedures, any local restrictions and your feedback.

Local support groups and meetings

We know many groups are keen to start meeting in person, and while we are working towards allowing this to happen safely. Right now, no one should be holding or attending face-to-face local group meetings. You should continue to run virtual meetings where possible. 

We are constantly reviewing government guidance. The your safety and welfare, and the safety and welfare of the public, is our primary concern.

National differences

We recognise that there is currently different government guidance for each of the four nations. Our coronavirus and diabetes information has more about the rules in each of the nations and also the support available for people living with diabetes in your area.

However, wherever you live in the UK, face-to-face volunteering is not able to take place at this time.

New digital volunteering opportunities

We’ve created more online volunteering opportunities to support others with diabetes, and to help local groups run meetings online too. If you’re interested in finding out more, contact your local volunteering team. 

Support for our volunteers

We recognise that this is an incredibly challenging time. We know the positive difference that volunteering makes to our mental health and wellbeing. Whilst we are able to continue with many of our volunteering programmes digitally, we recognise that the absence of being able to see each other in person can take its toll. Please contact your regional or national team if you would like to get involved in online activities or join an online group meeting.

You can also connect with others through our online support forum, or you can give our confidential helpline a call for guidance and support with managing diabetes.

Trials of Covid-19 safe outdoor events

In October, before England went into lockdown, our Norwich and District Youth group worked closely with our Eastern regional team to trial a Covid-19 safe outdoor event.

The event gave teenagers with type 1 diabetes the opportunity to drive a car in a private location off public roads ahead of being allowed to legally learn to drive at 17. The event aimed to help them to drive safely when they start to drive and build their confidence in general. The event saw 11 different drivers, over two sessions, get behind the wheel of a car and get some expert tuition and experience.

Organisers used revised risk assessments and processes to ensure such an event could be delivered safely. The procedures put in place to keep everyone safe included: temperature testing, regular hand sanitising, a socially distanced safety briefing, masks worn in all vehicles and cars were cleaned thoroughly between sessions.

We’re reviewing the event will use our learnings to help our groups to plan similar events when national restrictions are eased and it’s safe to do so.

Volunteering and coronavirus survey results

200 of you completed our survey on how you were feeling about coronavirus and volunteering at Diabetes UK and how we could ensure you felt safe.

Findings from the survey:

  • The three biggest issues for volunteers returning to face-to-face volunteering are:

    • lack of clarity on safety measures in place
    • fear of getting coronavirus
    • a lack of safe transport.
  • Over 70% of volunteers felt we cared about their wellbeing, felt well informed and supported.
  • Over a third of respondents had done some online volunteering since lockdown and over 70% of those would be keen to continue volunteering in this way.
  • Volunteers would be keen to engage with digital offers:
    • 51% would be interested in coming to an online local group meeting
    • 33% are interested in Learning Zone
    • 31% would like to access online peer support.
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