Know diabetes. Fight diabetes – by Chris Askew

chris-askew-150x150You may have seen that recently here at Diabetes UK, we’ve started to make some changes to the way we look, including a new strapline ‘Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes.’ So, why the changes and what’s the thinking behind it?

Our previous strapline – ‘Care. Connect. Campaign’ – did well describing much of what we do as a charity, but it struggled to convey our ambition and mission. It also said nothing of the huge investments in diabetes research we make, thanks to our supporters’ fundraising. So, we did some testing and spoke with supporters and partners, and learned that, for a strapline, it simply didn’t relay why our work is critical and it had little emotional impact with which to connect to others who share our vision and crucially, to those many who may not be aware of our work or of the challenges of diabetes.

The simple fact is that diabetes is serious. It affects more people than cancer and dementia combined, yet only 25 per cent of us see it as a serious health condition. We know that self-management is critical and that everyone’s experience is different – yet more than 69 per cent of people living with diabetes don’t fully understand how to manage it.

At Diabetes UK, we believe it’s our job to make people sit up, stand up and take notice. We are calling for change and we’re asking others to join us; which is why, through consulting with others, we’ve developed ‘Know Diabetes, Fight Diabetes’. It reflects our ambition. It reflects our call for change. It acknowledges what it will take to make that change. And it’s an appeal to others to join us.

Firstly, it says that we are driven to know more. We are reliant on knowledge and understanding of diabetes; whether gained through the experience of people with diabetes, through our discoveries at the research bench, or through talking with healthcare professionals.

Secondly, it says that we are fighting to achieve change; whether that is to reverse the injustice of a lottery in how diabetes care and support is delivered, or the challenge of achieving equal access to new technologies in diabetes management. We are fighting to challenge the daily stigma and discrimination which comes through a lack of understanding of what causes all types of diabetes and we are fighting the uphill battle to combat an environment in which living healthily becomes harder with each day.

We understand that many will be doing all they can to manage their diabetes, but the reality is that many struggle and don’t have the help or understanding to manage day in and day out. We need a step change in diabetes treatment and education and it is our job to make sure that everyone has equal opportunity to get the right care and support to be in control of their own diabetes.

Looking ahead to 2017, Diabetes UK will continue to take on all the challenges that come with preventing, treating and managing diabetes and, with your help, will continue to be a strong force for change. Change that benefits all those living with the harm diabetes can bring.

But change will not happen on its own, so we must bring our experience and resources and those of our volunteers and donors, to fight for that change. Our vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm. We hope that, by speaking more clearly about what it will take to achieve this, we can bring together all the ingredients of achieving that vision.

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