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Scheme offering peer support for people with diabetes launched in North East

People with diabetes are being encouraged to join a scheme which gives them the chance to talk to others living with the condition, from the safety of their own homes.

The North East of England Befriending Circle has been launched by Diabetes UK to keep people across the region connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trained volunteers are ready and waiting to be ‘paired’ with people who feel they need some peer support during these difficult times. The scheme, which links people by phone or email, is open to anyone living with any type of diabetes in Northumberland, County Durham or Tyne & Wear.

It is based on a successful befriending initiative launched by Diabetes UK in the Cumbria region in March last year.

Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK, said: “Our Cumbria Befriending Circle has been operating for a year and has proved a great success. We decided to roll out a similar scheme for the North East, as we know there are a lot of people living with diabetes in this region who would appreciate some support and friendship at a time when Diabetes UK events and meetings have been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re at the stage now where we are welcoming people on to the scheme – so we would like to hear from anyone in the North East of England who feels they might like to join our befriending circle.”

The way the scheme works is simple. Upon contacting Diabetes UK, you will be matched with a trained, locally-based Diabetes UK volunteer who has been affected in a similar way to you. The two people are connected by email or telephone, so they can begin to talk through any problems or issues they may be going through and provide peer support for each other. Anyone living with diabetes, or caring for someone with the condition, is welcome to join the North East scheme, as long as they are living in Northumberland, County Durham or Tyne & Wear.
There are more than 500,000 people living with diabetes in the Northern & Yorkshire region (which covers County Durham), in addition to 35,000 in Teeside and almost 52,000 in Tyneside.

To join the Diabetes UK North East of England Cumbria Befriending Circle, email Evie Kinghorn at or telephone 07885 557010.

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