Peer to peer support – by Vanessa
This is my first blog for Diabetes UK, so hello to you all! I am writing to inform readers about the new Peer Support Scheme that Diabetes UK is providing. Basically, what this includes is a service for people with diabetes, or parents of those with diabetes, to use if they have any questions, queries, worries, or whether they just want to be provided with some relevant information about the condition and coping strategies. Diabetes can seem to be a difficult condition to handle, sometimes more often than not, therefore if anyone has any questions, the volunteers will be there to help, with open arms.
Therefore if anyone is interested in diabetes, has the condition, or is a parent of a diabetic, then this may be a brilliant opportunity for you to help out. I thought it was a brilliant opportunity, as with having diabetes for 16 years, I wanted to help those people with the condition. Growing up I never had anyone to talk to, and personally I would say that this kind of support is important for those struggling with their condition. Even a quick phone call can make all the difference, listening to how others cope, and being provided with important information. Personally if I wasn’t volunteering for the support team, I would be using the service myself!
The role of this position includes speaking to people with any questions or queries via email or telephone, very simple! Just 3 hours a week, this can be spread across days and times to suit the person’s needs. I am currently at university so I have plenty of free time to help.
It is very easy to apply, by contacting Ruth Wilson on 02920 353978, or emailing her at Ruth.Wilson@diabetes.org.uk, were she will guide you through the process. An application form will need to be completed, which can be written online or on paper when printed. You will then be made aware whether your application has been successful by Ruth herself, followed by 3 training days, citied in Birmingham with other volunteers. My first training day starts on the 11th February which I am excited about, as I get to meet other volunteers and diabetics! The training days include a series of activities, exercises and discussions about Diabetes UK as a charity, the condition itself and active listening skills. Listening and speaking skills will be monitored, however you will not be in competition with anybody else, this is just to see whether each person is right for the role, as the job includes a lot of listening and speaking.
Personally I think this support scheme would be brilliant for diabetics to help learn more about the condition themselves. Hope this has provided some insight into what the Peer support scheme is, and good luck to those thinking of volunteering.
Visit the Diabetes UK website to find out more about our Peer Support service and for details on how you can get in touch.