A new support group is set to launch in Eastbourne for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
The Eastbourne Diabetes UK Group will hold its first meeting at the Kings Centre in Edison Road on March 29.
Last year Diabetes UK, the country’s leading charity for those with the condition, set up two meetings in Eastbourne to see whether there was enough of an appetite to launch a support group in the town.
Alan Bamford was one of those who attended.
He explained, “In July last year there was a meeting set up by Diabetes UK in Eastbourne and it was very well attended.
“From that they said if you want any more meetings you really need to set up your own Eastbourne group.”
Around 70 people attended the meeting, and three people, including Alan, expressed an interest in setting up a support group for Eastbourne.
With support from Diabetes UK, including a £250 start-up grant from the national charity, the group was born.
Alan, 70, has taken up the role of secretary.
He said, “We have Dr David Till as our first speaker.
“He’s the lead consultant at the DGH for diabetic patients and he is very keen and very supportive of our group.
“From there we want to see what the group would like us to do in the way of speakers.
“There’s a lot of healthcare workers out there in the diabetes medical sector, but we would also like to have talks on foot care, diet care and general health care.”
Alan was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes two years ago and manages his condition through a controlled diet.
Group chairman Peter Smith has Type 1 diabetes, a condition which means his body does not produce any insulin which has to be managed with medication.
Alan believes there is a need for a support group in the town, particularly as the number of people living with diabetes is rising.
He said, “It’s a big issue as since 2010 the number of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes has absolutely rocketed.”
Although funding for the first meeting has been covered by the grant from Diabetes UK, future meetings must be paid for by the Eastbourne group, via fundraising or sponsorship from a local company.
The group plans to meet four times a year – with the second pencilled in for June – but this could become bi-monthly, depending on demand and funding.
Alan said, “If there is a need for it, we may have it bi-monthly. But we have got to really test the water.”
The group has advertised extensively in doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies and via Age Concern. It also has the backing of Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell.
Alan said, “We have been in touch with Caroline Ansell, but unfortunately she can’t come as it’s a Parliamentary day, but she is advertising us on her blog and is sending a letter of welcome to us.”
Although the group welcomes people of all ages with diabetes, Alan said it is predominantly geared up for people aged 35 and above.
The first meeting will take place at the Kings Centre on March 29, 7-8.30pm.
Entry is free, refreshments will be provided.
For more, email eastbournediabetesUK@gmail.com