The Steve Morgan Foundation is providing Diabetes UK with a £5 million donation to build a support programme for young people with type 1 diabetes.
In partnership with the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK has announced the Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices programme for young people aged 11 to 25 with type 1 diabetes: a UK-wide peer support programme to thousands of young people living with type 1 diabetes across the UK as they transition to adulthood.
Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Diabetes UK, said:
“Growing up can be tough, but thousands across the UK also have to manage a serious and relentless condition – often without meeting or sharing their experiences with other young people like them. It’s time to change this. Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices will be transformational for young people with type 1 diabetes, connecting and empowering them, and giving them back control.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the Steve Morgan Foundation. Through this partnership we will support young people and their families across the UK, equipping them with the tools, support and community they need to navigate the highs and lows of this lifelong condition.”
The programme, which will be developed in collaboration with young people with type 1 diabetes, will be the first of its kind to be rolled out in-person and online across the UK. Driven by young people’s experiences and needs, Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices will support young people with type 1 diabetes and their families to:Increase knowledge and confidence on how to best manage type 1 diabetes – resulting in better health and wellbeing.Reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness by developing strong peer support networks. Improve relationships with healthcare professionals (HCPs) by empowering children and young people to communicate effectively with HCPs resulting in better treatment, care, and transition to adult services.
Laura Bull, age 30 from Essex, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2015 aged 23. She said:
“Some of the most useful things I’ve learnt about managing type 1 diabetes have come from others who are also living with it. Having a network of people I can turn to for advice if I’m feeling uncertain or worried about something is invaluable, and something everyone with type 1 diabetes should have access to. Having this support not only improves the way you manage the physical elements of the condition, but it also helps you mentally deal with it. I’m really hopeful that this programme will connect young people and help them navigate type 1 together.”
Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices will offer an integrated, youth-led approach to supporting families affected by type 1 diabetes. Diabetes UK will work with local partners, communities, paediatric diabetes units and the health system to offer a combination of local and national support services.
Steve Morgan, and his wife Sally, are driven by their personal connection with the condition. Sally’s son Hugo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of seven.
Steve and Sally Morgan said:
“We know from our own experience the impact that type 1 diabetes has on family life – it’s something we carry with us every day. But we also know that young people across the UK don’t have easy access to the support they need to navigate the highs and lows of life with this condition.
“Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices will connect thousands of children and young people across the UK, providing a community that will help them feel less isolated because of their condition. We’re proud to be partnering with Diabetes UK to deliver something special which we hope will genuinely change the lives of thousands of young people with type 1 diabetes across the UK for the better.”
The funding is in addition to a £50 million partnership between Diabetes UK, the Steve Morgan Foundation (SMF) and JDRF UK announced earlier this year. The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge aims to drive forward type 1 diabetes research, and pave the way for the development of new treatments and a cure.