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Congratulations to our Inspire Award Winners!

Volunteers from across Scotland have been honoured with Inspire Awards in recognition of their dedicated support for the diabetes community. 

Sadly, we could not host our usual celebration event this year but we tried the best we could to capture the magic in online ceremonies held over four evenings.  

We were delighted that over 100 people joined us for at least one of the events, with several people joining us every night.  

There were 59 nominees across eight different categories.  Every person was nominated in recognition of the valuable support they give to people living with diabetes across Scotland.  

Angela Mitchell, National Director of Diabetes Scotland, said: "Congratulations to all of the Inspire Award nominees and winners.  Our volunteers are out there working hard in the community day in and day out and we could not continue our work towards a world where diabetes can do no harm without your incredible support.  I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of our volunteers who make an enormous positive difference to the lives of people living with diabetes."

And the winners are...

Campaigning and Influencing:  Aileen Hilis

Aileen has been campaigning for improved services and access to diabetes technology for over 15 years. A key advocate in the campaign for access to insulin pumps, Aileen attended meetings with politicians and charities and used her Facebook pages to help others strengthen their own advocacy skills and get involved. As a result, many people on pumps, continuous glucose monitoring or Libre have Aileen to thank.

Fundraising:  Colin Rodger and Martin Higgins/Pearl Jam Scotland

Colin and Martin are huge fans of the US Grunge Band Pearl Jam and have used this passion and their own musical talents to raise awareness and raise over £11,500 so far for Diabetes UK.  They have done this through a combination of organising music events for grunge music lovers, raffles and the sale of Pearl Jam Scotland merchandising (their own idea and a huge success). They have used their love of music and their fellow music lovers and networks to create something amazing which is just growing and growing.

Reaching Out and Connecting:  Vicki Kitson

Vicki is Chair of the Glasgow Family Group and gives up a lot of her time to organise and attend the group’s drop-in sessions, activities and events including cycling trips, pantomines and basketball tournaments. Vicki is also a passionate advocate for improving care and services and she is currently involved in campaigning for a specialist diabetes clinic in Glasgow which would support children and young people up to the age of 25.

Supporting Diabetes UK:  Joint winners, Joy Iheobi and Becca Prinn

Joy is secretary of the Aberdeen and District Local Diabetes Group and is a committed fundraiser and motivational speaker.  Last year Joy gave a talk at the Diabetes UK colleague conference and spoke with passion about her and her family’s journey with diabetes and her personal volunteering journey.  It is fair to say she engaged with every member in the audience who found her very motivating.  She is always happy to support in any role asked of her and often speaks out about her experience to support the charity's work.

Becca has been a very active volunteer for Diabetes Scotland for several years. She has been involved in many roles including Tesco big collections, office volunteering, admin at volunteer conferences and helping (often at short notice) with children’s programmes.  Additionally, for the past five years Becca has created the inspirational video which is shown at the Inspire awards. This involves a great deal of work and coordination of inputs from local groups and individual volunteers. 

Local Groups and Communities:  Ayrshire Families with Diabetes

Ayrshire Families With Diabetes only launched in 2018 but it has already had a great impact on the local community.  The group is committed to fundraising which enables them to run free, fun activities every six weeks for the whole family.  Additionally, the group works with the local healthcare team to distribute information packs to families of children who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  The Facebook page has over 140 members and is a platform to provide support and information at any time of the day.  Ayrshire Families With Diabetes have created a space where no family affected by type 1 diabetes ever needs to feel alone. 

Young Person's Outstanding Contribution Award:  Joint winners, Emma Stein and Harris Catlin

Emma, 12, is an active volunteer in her local family group, attending and supporting all of their events. She has demonstrated real confidence and maturity in dealing with her diabetes and is dedicated to helping other people to understand the condition including by delivering a presentation at her school during Diabetes Week.  She is also very keen to support others who have been diagnosed and help in any way she can.  

Harris, 11, has been very involved in his local group since it launched.  He wants to make sure that other children feel less lonely on their diabetes journey so he welcomes them to the group and really makes them feel included. He has also been involved in may fundraising activities, including a bucket collection, sponsored cycle and getting his school involved in fundraising. In addition, he has taken part in research projects including a recent photovoice project about letting the world see through your eyes.

Supporting Others:  Gemma Shilton

Gemma has undoubtedly been the driving force behind the success of Type I Warriors events in Fife in the last year.   Her quiet focus and determination have kept the group on track and have led to two successful events for families taking place in Fife since the new committee came on board. 

The John Ireland Award:  Dave Duff

The John Ireland Award is presented to people who have served the diabetes community with distinction.  We are delighted to present this award to Dave Duff. 

Dave has been a volunteer for over 12 years. He has been involved in many aspects of diabetes support in that time including chairing his local group, serving two terms on the Council of People with Diabetes, member of the Scottish Advisory Council, and he is currently a member of the research grants panel.  

Dave was instrumental in building up relationships with local healthcare professionals and administrators to ensure the collation and supply of many thousands of newly diagnosed packs across his considerable geographic region.  He was an active participant on his local health board and at Cross Party Groups in Scottish Parliament groups contributing valuable lived experience to the discussions.  At one point he was even the “poster boy” for a national diabetes campaign, 'Chat, Click Call'.  

He and his wife, Ann, have been volunteers on a number of family weekends and he has supported families to attend these events. Dave has supported many members of his community who had particular challenges with their diabetes and his care and kindness was always evident.

During his time as Chair, his local group also raised funds of over £30,000 for the charity.  He is, without doubt, someone who has served he diabetes community with distinction.

Congratulations and thank you to all of our volunteers, nominees and winners!  


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