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Join scheme supporting people with diabetes in Cumbria

Diabetes UK befriending circle connects people in the area by phone or email

People with diabetes are being encouraged to join a scheme which gives them the chance to talk to others living with the condition in Cumbria, from the safety of their own homes.

The Cumbria Befriending Circle was launched in March 2019 by Diabetes UK and has been connecting people across the area, either by phone or email, for the past year.

With Diabetes UK group meetings cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, a fresh call has gone out for more people to join the befriending circle – as it is an ideal way to discuss diabetes safely, without having to meet face-to-face.

The way it works is simple. Upon contacting Diabetes UK, anyone living with diabetes or caring for someone with the condition is matched with a trained Diabetes UK volunteer in Cumbria who has been affected in a similar way to them. The two people are connected by email or telephone, so they can begin to talk through any problems or issues they may be going through and provide peer support for each other.

In the UK, there are an estimated 4.8 million people living with diabetes, which is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. There are almost 21,000 people living with diabetes in the North Cumbria region.

Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK, said: “Cumbria is a large area with many isolated locations, making it harder for people to connect. The befriending circle was set up with this in mind – and for the past year, it has been making it more convenient for people who are living with diabetes to receive support from someone else who knows what they are going through.

“With Diabetes UK group meetings on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, I expect this service to become even more vital to people living with diabetes across Cumbria across the coming weeks and months.”

Diabetes UK research revealed that seven out of 10 people feel overwhelmed by the demands of living with diabetes, which significantly affects their mental and physical health. The survey of more than 2,000 adults with type 1, type 2 and other types of diabetes from across the UK showed that the majority (three quarters) of those who feel overwhelmed say that this affects how well they can manage the condition. Initiatives such as these can help provide the right emotional support so that people can manage their condition safely.

The Diabetes UK Cumbria Befriending Circle is open to anyone affected by the condition in the area and the charity is encouraging people who would like to try it to get in touch. To find out more email [email protected] or [email protected], or call 01925 653281 or 07469 154828. Advice about diabetes and coronavirus is available at www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/coronavirus or by calling the Diabetes UK helpline on 0345 123 2399 or emailing [email protected].

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