Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2018 – by Andy Broomhead
Volunteers’ Week runs from 1 – 7 June every year, and once again we’re well into the swing of celebrating the work that volunteers do here at Diabetes UK.
It’s easy to talk about the huge difference volunteers make to our cause because the list is endless and wide ranging. Words like ‘amazing’, ‘incredible’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘inspirational’ automatically spring to mind (and rightly so), as volunteers are all these things and more.
During a number of our volunteering team meetings earlier this year, we talked about what Diabetes UK would look like if we didn’t have volunteers, and quite simply, it’d be a very different place indeed.
‘The pulse of the charity’
Volunteers are the pulse of the charity – they’re the heartbeat, the constant – without them our world would be very different indeed. The selflessness, dedication, hard work and determination of all those who give up their time to support Diabetes UK is invaluable. Seeing volunteers in action, or hearing stories of their work makes it a privilege to be here supporting those endeavours in whatever ways we can.
It’s easy to try and distil volunteering down to a few numbers (over 100,000 hours of volunteer effort supported Diabetes UK in 2017), but to do that loses the very essence of volunteering itself – the individual stories.
Hearing how a conversation with one of our Know Your Risk volunteers helped someone make changes to their diet and lifestyle, lose weight and drastically lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is incredible.
Knowing the difference that the collective voice of all our campaigners has had on someone’s ability to finally be able to access Flash Glucose Monitoring through the NHS in their area is amazing.
Talking to one of our local groups about the hours spent in community centres, supermarkets and at local events, raising awareness of diabetes and passing on support on information at their local meetings is inspirational.
Listening to the difference that volunteers make to how our research is prioritised and funded is wonderful. Every aspect of the work we do has some involvement from volunteers – and it’s richer and more informed because of it.
A world where diabetes can do no harm
Volunteers give us so much besides their time. Volunteers help us reach thousands of people that we simply wouldn’t be able to talk to on our own. They give us their personalities, their experiences, their skills and their insight to help us make a real difference to people affected by diabetes.
Our mission is a world where diabetes can do no harm, but we’d never get close to that in a world without volunteers.
On behalf of everyone at Diabetes UK, I’d like to thank everyone who gives us their time to help support us in any way they can because we simply couldn’t do it without you.
Read more stories in our Volunteers’ Week section
See our Volunteer’s Week video on YouTube