People urged to train up as Diabetes UK Community Champions and tackle Type 2 diabetes in Kirklees

Diabetes UK is looking for people who are passionate about tackling the rise of Type 2 diabetes to get trained as Community Champions in Kirklees.

There are an estimated 24,030 people diagnosed with diabetes in North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield and the programme is looking to work with them, as well as helping others find out how to prevent or delay developing Type 2 diabetes.

One hundred trained Community Champions will help people find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, recommend GP appointments where necessary, and raise awareness of the risk factors of the condition. They will also support people who are already diagnosed with diabetes to better self-manage.

Through the programme, Diabetes UK trains Champions from all backgrounds to improve health outcomes for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, which we know can be two to four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. 21 per cent of Kirklees’ population is from BAME communities.

The charity is training the Champions to work together with communities in schools, places of worship, community centres and health centres. The first training sessions will take place on 18th and 19th March.

Community Champions have already worked with thousands of people elsewhere in the country to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, reduce their risk, and better self-manage the condition.

Jasmin Chowdhury, Partnerships Delivery Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “The need for Type 2 diabetes to be taken more seriously has never been so urgent. We need people who are passionate about Type 2 diabetes to train up and help us tackle the condition across Kirklees and we are delighted to be working with Kirklees Council and the local clinical commissioning groups to do that. Type 2 diabetes is a serious health condition that, left undiagnosed or untreated, can lead to devastating health complications such as stroke, blindness and amputation. However, identified and managed well this doesn’t have to be the case.

“With this training now being rolled out across Kirklees, Community Champions will be making a hugely positive difference, giving people across Kirklees the best chance of living long, healthy lives.”

Dr Nadeem Ghafoor, a local GP and member of the NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body said: “Knowing the facts about diabetes is important when it comes to managing the condition. There is so much information out there, but it is not all true. It is often difficult to know what is right and what is not.  This is why the role of the Community Champions is so vital.”

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Activity to Improve Health said: “We are committed to working with Diabetes UK and Kirklees clinical commissioning groups to raise awareness of this serious condition which, if undetected or not managed in the right way, can result in serious life-changing consequences.

“Educating people in our community about Type 2 diabetes so that people who have Type 2 diabetes, or those at risk, know where to go for information and support and how to manage the condition.

“I would urge people to get in touch to find out more how to become one of our community’s champions – a role which will really make a real difference to the people in our region and to you.”

Trainee Community Champion, Arusa Sadaf, 23, from Huddersfield added: “’Diabetes UK has offered the perfect opportunity to create awareness of the increasing epidemic of diabetes in the UK. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions as well as poor understanding and management of the illness, especially in ethnic minority groups. The Community Champion project therefore provides the necessary outlet to educate and combat such problems.

As a volunteer from a BAME community and with a family history of both types of diabetes, I hope to be the intermediary that will support and improve the health of people living with Type 2 diabetes.”

To apply to be trained as a Community Champion, visit https://forms.diabetes.org.uk/cckirklees or email CommunityChampions@diabetes.org.uk or call 0800 138 1639.

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