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Volunteer spotlight – Parveen Khan – March 2023

Parveen khan, Volunteer Spotlight March 2023

Parveen Khan

“It’s important to work together, we have to be sharing information. And people need to be informed about what’s going on.”

Meet our Volunteer Spotlight for March 2023, Parveen Khan

Parveen started volunteering to give something back to her community. She is now a lay member on one of our Diabetes Research Steering Groups.

Starting out as a volunteer

Parveen works part-time for two local organisations supporting South Asian carers. She moved to Crawley, West Sussex after her children were born, and began volunteering for local organisations because she wanted to be more involved with the place she lived in.

The mosque that Parveen goes to held a joint event with Diabetes UK in a nearby community centre, raising awareness of diabetes in the local community.

“I was really interested in the engagement with the South Asian community, but also in how we look at health. I was thinking I’ve got to get more involved, I’ve got to say to people, come and get yourselves checked.”

Different volunteer roles

Diabetes UK is an important charity to Parveen, as her mum had diabetes. She says diabetes has affected her family and friends, and she wants to be there to support other people.

From around 2019, Parveen began volunteering regularly with Diabetes UK, doing lots of different things.
She’s been to meetings to share her opinions on diabetes care. She’s distributed information leaflets to local mosques, faith organisations, and libraries. And she’s even taken part in an online cooking demonstration, with a nutritionist suggesting healthier food alternatives.

Joining a Diabetes Research Steering Group

Two years ago, the Diabetes UK research team invited Parveen to join one of our Diabetes Research Steering Groups (DRSGs) as a lay volunteer. She goes to meetings, workshops, and events to talk to researchers about what they’re doing, and she tells them how people living with diabetes are feeling. She’s keen to ensure that people in the community can tell researchers what they want.

“England is so diverse, and different communities have different health issues. For me, it’s important as a volunteer to be a voice for people not being heard.”

After hearing updates from researchers at DRSG meetings, Parveen shares what she’s learned with her family and friends, and the people she meets when she goes to the mosque and the temple.

“It’s important to have those conversations with people. I really believe you can’t work in health and social care without partnership work. It’s important to work together, we have to be sharing information. And people need to be informed about what’s going on. I like that two-way communication.”

A recent highlight for Parveen was going to a diabetes awareness event at Waltham Forest Community Centre.

“I loved that we had such good conversations with people, listening to their stories, listening to their journey with their health.”

Learning new skills

“I feel good that I’m helping my community”

Parveen feels volunteering has helped her grow in confidence and she’s learned a lot of new skills, such as how to engage with many different people. She says volunteering has made her feel humble, and grateful, and put her in contact with people she never would have met otherwise.

“I’m proud of what I do, and if I can help somebody else, that makes it all the better. I feel good that I’m helping my community.”

Final thoughts

Parveen has no plans to take on any more volunteering at the moment. As well as volunteering for Diabetes UK, she is involved with several other local organisations. But she wants to continue volunteering with us for as long as she can.

She says she would encourage other people to volunteer and says there will be something that suits you.
“If you’re not sure about volunteering, think again. Think about the benefits of helping somebody else or being part of a bigger picture. In Diabetes UK there are lots of different types of volunteering. Even something small can make a big difference.”

Want to get involved with volunteering? There are lots of ways you can volunteer with us. If Parveen’s story has inspired you, take a look at our volunteering opportunities.

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