Leigh White, 46, is working with Diabetes UK to use her experience of living with diabetes to trial a peer support scheme. She was diagnosed with Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young, when she was 27.
The charity has trained her to use her diabetes knowledge to reach out to people with the condition who are looking for support networks. The peer support scheme has been created by Diabetes UK so that people can be in touch with other people who understand what being diagnosed and living with diabetes means.
She explained: “For many people, living with diabetes can make them feel very isolated and alone and some struggle emotionally. I am here to lend a listening ear and help talk about subjects that friends and family without the condition might not understand.
“I know how helpful it would have been if I could have chatted to someone who really understood the condition, but instead I put my head in the sand and largely ignored my condition only really taking it seriously when my daughter was diagnosed five years ago.
“When I heard about this new scheme to help people with diabetes connect with each other, I decided to volunteer. I’m on call for a three hour slot once a week and every other weekend. There are a huge range of calls that come in but the root of each one is a need to connect with someone who really understands what it is like to live with diabetes.”
Peer Support is a safe and secure service, and all volunteer peers are specially trained. All information shared will be kept private and confidential within the scheme. To contact the service and be matched up to a suitable volunteer to speak to, call 0843 353 8600 on Sunday to Friday from 6-9pm.