“I learn so much from volunteering. I enjoy doing all of it, the talks, the stalls and fundraising. I’ve also met some great people along the way."
Meet our Volunteer Spotlight for October 2019, Metin Ahmed
Metin has volunteered for Diabetes UK since 2012. In this time, he has supported at a large number of events, helped people to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and led a local peer support group.
“I first got into volunteering after I took part in the London Bridges Challenge in 2012. I raised £230 in sponsorship. I was keen to volunteer, partly to increase my own understanding as I have Type 2 diabetes. I wanted to improve my diet. For the next few years, I volunteered at the roadshows, helping people to find out their risk of Type 2 diabetes. I was also a Team Leader at the ‘Big Collection’ fundraisers at my local Tesco. I gave talks about diabetes and about my experience, which I really enjoyed.”
“I then had a break from volunteering for personal reasons. I moved areas from London to Hertfordshire. In 2018, I was coming up to retirement and I was keen to do something again so I got in touch with Diabetes UK.”
Metin soon started helping out at events across London and the East of England. He applied to be a ‘Know your Risk’ assessor and was trained to take a lead in organising and running events to help the public discover their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. He organised his first event in his local community in Cheshunt this year where he helped 20 people through the Know your Risk tool.
As a Speaker Volunteer, Metin has delivered many talks about diabetes, to audiences such as employees at organisations like the HMRC. Metin is also a Community Champion. He recently helped to run an information stall in connection with Temple Group in Potters Bar for the community to find out more about diabetes. “I gave one talk to a Turkish community where there was an interpreter. That was a new and interesting experience for me.”
“I took part in the Thames Path Walk this year. Last year, I completed the 1 Million Steps Challenge and the London Bridges Challenge. I love taking part in walking challenges for Diabetes UK. I try and do 10,000 steps a day. It’s more enjoyable when you’ve got company though so I often get my son involved!
I have volunteered at an event at Cromer Park Football club the last two years. Every year the club runs a family fun day to raise money for Diabetes UK in memory of a player who sadly passed away. It’s an outside event and the weather is very changeable, 2018 brought the hottest day of the year and this year it didn’t stop raining! My son and I were in charge of raffle tickets and were pleased to raise £150 in two hours.
Earlier this year, I did some bucket collecting at the Harrow Football Club. People were generous that day, we collected a lot of money."
In July, Metin took part in Tesco dance beats. Dance beats saw Tesco staff, local dance groups and volunteers and staff from Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research dance non-stop for 30 hours to raise money and awareness for all three charities.
The Cheshunt Peer Support Group
Metin is the lead facilitator of the Cheshunt Peer Support Group. He found out about the group shortly after he moved to the area and took the lead in running the group in August 2018.
“We have around 10 people coming to the meetings regularly. The group meets every last Thursday of the month. We talk about how we’re doing with our diabetes and it’s a chance to share ideas and learn from each other. One member of the group has put their diabetes into remission which is fantastic.”
Highlights and achievements
“It’s all been a highlight for me. Just the fact that you’re helping people. It’s great to feel you’ve made a difference. People are always grateful for the information I give them. One of the subjects that comes up the most at the Peer Support Group is how shocked everyone is when they’re first diagnosed with diabetes. It can be overwhelming at times, but you learn by talking to each other.”
Metin’s achievements were recognised earlier this year when he won an Inspire Award in the category of Campaigning and Raising Awareness. He was also nominated for an award in the Eastern region. "It was a real honour for me to be recognised and to win an Inspire Award this year.”
Looking to the future – what’s next?
“I don’t drive and it can be tricky to get around on public transport in Cheshunt, so I can’t do as much as I’d like to. But if there are opportunities to help that I can get to, or events in London, I’m very keen to get involved.”
If you’ve been inspired by Metin’s story, find out more about how you can volunteer.