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Diabetes Involvement Grant

Do you want to involve service users in bringing about change and improvement in diabetes care?

Do you have an improvement project that you are struggling to get off the ground due to lack of time or resources?

Or maybe you know that something has to change, but don’t know where to start or what to focus on?

We can help. You can apply for a small involvement grant from Diabetes UK to help drive forward patient-centred change in your organisation. 

We know that involving patients, carers and their families in making decisions about their care and treatment can lead to better experiences and outcomes. And now, as local teams plan to make changes to the delivery of health services due to COVID-19, this is more important than ever.

However, we hear that although everyone recognises the importance of patient engagement and involvement, it is not always easy to do. Some of the challenges that people come up against relate to time and resources – how do you truly work in partnership with people affected by diabetes to improve services, whilst still doing your ‘day job’? And, whilst involving patients does not need to be time consuming or expensive, how can you cover some of the costs that might be incurred along the way?

Diabetes UK User Involvement team

The involvement team at Diabetes UK are here to provide you with support, advice and expertise on how to meaningfully involve people affected by diabetes in the development of new and improved services. We work across the NHS Diabetes Programme, to help ensure that the voices of those with diabetes and those at risk are heard, and used to inform and shape the programme.

We are pleased to now be able to open up applications for a small number of involvement grants, up to the value of £3,000, to help get your involvement project off the ground.

Who is able to apply for the grant?

We welcome applications from anyone in the Northern region working in the NHS with people affected by diabetes, and who is committed to improving patient care by involving them.

The Involvement Grant is being launched as a pilot in the northern region due to the existing momentum and commitment to involvement following the development of the User Involvement guidelines last year. If the pilot is successful in enabling and supporting involvement projects then we hope to launch a similar national offer.

We welcome applications from anyone working in the NHS with people affected by diabetes, and who is committed to improving patient care by involving them.

This could be at any level, including:

  • Primary care – individual practices or primary care networks
  • Secondary care – individual services or trusts e.g. acute and community trusts
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Regional Clinical networks, ICS and STPs

What is the grant for?

These grants are available to help facilitate person-centred improvement by supporting you to work in partnership with people affected by diabetes. This might be on an ongoing basis as part of your governance structure, or for the duration of a specific service improvement project. In the wake of COVID-19, there is now a real opportunity to involve patients and service users in the redesign of services as we move forward, such as virtual clinics and digital support services.

The grant could cover expenses related to:

  • Recruiting and training people affected by diabetes to be involved, and paying them for their time.
  • Holding interviews, focus groups or engagement events to understand the views of service users about a specific service or topic.
  • Implementing changes that have already been identified and developed in partnership with people affected by diabetes.

It may be that you haven’t yet identified a specific area for improvement - patients and service users can be instrumental in helping to set the priorities and focus for improvement, as well as being part of the solution. In these cases, you should provide evidence of why an area needs to improve, and a clear process for how you will involve service users from the start in determining and designing your project.

We could also support you to up-skill people within your organisation to deliver involvement activity, including ‘champions’ within certain communities, and training peer to peer interviewers; or perhaps you need help with sharing and promoting case studies of where involvement has been done well in your organisation (this could be via recognition awards, for example).

What can the funding be used for?

The grant can be used for expenses incurred directly as part of the project. This could include: 

  • Service user ‘payment’ - it is important that we value the contribution of people affected by diabetes and reimburse them for the time and expertise they contribute to the project.
  • Expenses – reimbursing out of pocket expenses incurred by the involved person e.g. parking for service user attending meeting or call/data allowance for participating remotely.
  • Venue hire, subsistence or refreshments for meetings or engagement events that are run as part of your project
  • IT and digital communications e.g. website development and social media
  • Tools and software to support digital meetings and conferencing
  • Resources/leaflets including design and printing costs
  • Equipment required for project - e.g. cameras for recording appointment ‘journey’, workshop resources or other equipment required for participants to be involved remotely.

How can Diabetes UK help?

As part of this offer, the involvement team can also provide consultancy, advice and expertise on your project.

Specifically, we can provide user involvement support and advice for the project team including: 

  • support to set up a working group, and give advice on practicalities and logistics to consider
  • establish criteria for partnership working with patients
  • assist with implementation of our involvement guidelines to ensure best practice in involvement
  • draw on our contacts and networks where needed

Project sponsor

Whatever the project, it is essential that there is a commitment to change on the back of the work. We are therefore asking for each application to be supported by a project sponsor, a senior decision maker in the organisation, who can support this commitment.

How do I apply?

You will need to submit your plan for an involvement project by completing an online application form:

Apply now


The deadline for applications is 3pm on Friday 31st July 2020. Applications will be reviewed by a selection panel made up of representatives from Diabetes UK and people affected by diabetes throughout August and successful applicants will be notified in early September.

For more information or to discuss any questions, please contact Bridget or Cat at

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