This spring, Holiday Inn Filton in Bristol played host to the first of our refreshed Type One Family Weekender events. It brought together 23 families affected by Type 1 diabetes from across the south west for a weekend of fun, new friendships and sharing of experiences.
Thirty volunteers led and supported group activities. The event was also supported by nine healthcare professionals – also volunteers. They included paediatric diabetes specialist nurses, consultants and dietitians. South West volunteering and outreach manager Gemma Jackson also attended.
The Fun Maestro kicked off the weekend on Friday with games that had everyone giggling. The next day, parents were able to spend time with a team of healthcare professionals and talk together about their concerns while sharing ideas and experiences. For many, this was the first time they had met other parents of a child with Type 1 diabetes. The feedback was that this was a deeply valued opportunity, which made them more confident about supporting their children to become independent in managing their Type 1 diabetes.
Meanwhile, the older children headed off to enjoy go karting, climbing, crate building and scaling Jacob’s ladder in Cheddar. It was also a chance to manage their diabetes independently, supported by healthcare professionals. For some, this was their first time. The younger ones took part in arts, crafts and a trip to a petting zoo.
Volunteer Sue Briggs, who attended the event and supported siblings of children with diabetes, said:
“This was my first time volunteering at a family weekend. Not only did I enjoy being part of such a large team in delivering this event, but I also enjoyed being with so many others with Type 1 diabetes. It was a chance to learn from them and see testing, Libre sensors, and pumps being ‘normal’. The training and support for volunteers before and during the event was excellent."
“If you have ever thought of volunteering at such an event, just do it.”