Background to the group
The Histon & Impington Type 2 Diabetes Support Group was established in the summer of 2018, with the aim of proving support to those diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). Until 5 or so years ago T2D was viewed as a chronic condition that was managed. Now it is recognised that by losing visceral fat and reducing the amount of carbohydrates in a diet, plus some moderate exercise, it is possible to put T2D into remission; that is reduce the blood glucose levels within the body to pre-diabetes level.
Formation of the group was supported by Diabetes UK (training, public liability insurance) and Histon & Impington Parish Council (complimentary meeting space). Firs House Surgery has also been very supportive.
The group operates as a peer to peer group under the Diabetes UK umbrella, rather than a true support group. DUK Support Groups have a formal structure, and as well as providing local support, carry out fundraising, campaigning etc.
Meetings are held in the Parish Council Community Room, Impington Recreation Ground on the second Thursday of the month 7:00 – 8:30 pm. The first meeting was held September 2018. At the Parish Council meeting in November 2018 funding was allocated for use of the Community Room for the 12 meetings in 2019. Meetings are free of charge to attend.
Publicity for meetings has been via Facebook (Histon & Impington, HI People), and flyers posted around the village on notice boards. We also had a table at the Activities Fair in 2019 and the Feast Festival (jointly with Firs House PPG).
According to Diabetes UK, around 5.6% of the population of the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, of which 90% will have type 2. For the villages that would suggest around 570 (5.1%) have been diagnosed with T2, and a further 150 (1.4%) probably have T2 but haven’t been diagnosed. Firs House Surgery has 550 registered with them with diabetes, but this also includes their practice in Cottenham.
The initial meeting attracted 13 people. Over the first year 23 more people have joined, and 6 no longer attend, so the active number in the group has grown around to 30. Meetings by the end of 2019 averaged around 20.
Most meetings have an invited speaker; a professional with expertise in a field related to T2D. So far speakers have covered:
- Understanding T2D
- Monitoring and testing for blood glucose
- Food and diets
- Retinopathy and eye care
- Foot care and problems
- Fitness and exercise
- Wellbeing and mental health
Following each meeting notes are circulated amongst the group with links and attachments to relevant access points for services, further information etc. As well as the group, copies are sent to Firs House Surgery diabetes team (Dr Sara Bastiani, and Diabetes Specialist Nurse Marie Rouse), Parish Council (Denis Payne) and Diabetes UK (David Robinson, Volunteer Coordinator, Eastern Region)
Survey of the group November 2019
The results confirm that there is a positive benefit to those attending, with 53% reporting an improvement in their condition and 40% feeling their condition was much the same. Only 7% (2 people) have had their condition deteriorate. More dramatic is their understanding of T2 diabetes with 63% saying their understanding has improved. In addition, 80% said the sessions had improved how they feel about T2 diabetes. The full results of the survey are included at the end of the report.
In order to judge the success of the group, and to help shape its future, a survey was emailed to the 30 group members as at November 2019. The survey was completely anonymous. There were 15 responses and the results are shown below:
Unfortunately, only one of the 6 people who no longer attend responded to the questionnaire, and for this question you could give multiple answers:
- Too busy/other commitments
- Meeting time or location inconvenient
- The meetings don’t offer anything to me
- I’ve got all the information I need from them so no longer need to attend
Fortunately, no one is more depressed about T2D from the meetings, even though some of the speakers have explained the possible consequences of this condition.
It seems that both “Interaction with other group members, hearing their stories and tips etc.” and “Talks by invited speakers” are rated almost equally. Following each of our talks there is always an open Q&A session.
It seems the meeting notes are an important way for those unable to attend every meeting to get information.
Facilitator, Histon & Impington Type 2 Diabetes Support Group
14 November, 2019