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West Cornwall group aims to turn the tide on diabetes

Spencer Wimbledon receives Inspire Award

A dynamic Cornwall diabetes group is looking for new members who want to learn more about diabetes and share that knowledge with others.

A monthly support group in Trelawney Community Hub in Camborne, coffee mornings in a doctor’s surgery in St Ives and conducting a survey in supermarkets into care for people with diabetes all feature on our West Cornwall Group’s packed programme this year.

The group also runs regular Know Your Risk sessions in GP surgeries, companies and at meetings of local organisations and events, assessing people’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Last year, it held 48 of these events and gave people who were at high or moderate risk a letter to take to their doctor asking for further investigation.

With all these activities on the go, the group always needs more volunteers. But, as founder Spencer Wimbleton confirms, there’s far more to the group than hard work.

He said:

“I’ve learnt so much about my own Type 2 diabetes since getting involved seven years ago and it’s really sociable too. We’re always up for a cup of tea and a natter. And reaching out and connecting with other people is so satisfying. Recently, a man came to our drop-in at Trelawney. He was well and truly stuck with his diabetes, but we had a good chat and he went away happy. We also did three workshops last year with a local deaf group and it was really gratifying to learn through a signer that one lady with Type 1 diabetes who was totally deaf was receiving good care. Volunteering can be such a rewarding experience.”

Spencer has been recognised with an Inspire Award from us for his work raising awareness of diabetes. Volunteering with our West Cornwall Group has brought unexpected benefits for other helpers too. One volunteer talked about a sky dive he did in aid of us in a presentation he gave for a work promotion, while another, a young graduate, used the skills he learnt to land his dream job in the NHS.

Yet another volunteer, a committee member, brought his blood glucose levels back into the normal range with diet and exercise after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes. He now does awareness-raising cycle rides to show that it’s possible to nip Type 2 diabetes in the bud.

Gemma Jackson, our South West Volunteering and Outreach Manager, said:

“The West Cornwall Group is a fantastic example of what our local groups can do. They support each other and reach out to people in the wider community, offering a crucial service in a county which has more than 30,000 people living with diabetes and many more at risk of Type 2 diabetes. Do consider joining them, whether or not you have the condition yourself, and be part of this incredible movement to turn back the tide of diabetes in Cornwall.”

Our next West Cornwall Group drop-in at Trelawney Community Hub in Camborne will take place on Monday, 4 March at 7.30pm, when Lorraine Long, programme manager for long-term conditions in Cornwall, will be the speaker.

To find out more about the West Cornwall Group, email Spencer Wimbleton at spencerwimbleton41@gmail.com, or call 07810 526636.

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