The national charity Diabetes UK has started a new programme to recruit a team of community champions of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK in a bid to increase awareness of both the symptoms and effects of diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes known to be up to six times more prevalent in people from South Asian backgrounds than for white people, the community champions scheme follows a previously successful version that originated in London a couple of years ago. This programme has already successfully trained over 150 community leaders and healthcare workers from many different backgrounds, such as Nigeria, Somali, Pakistani, India, Bangladeshi and Polish.
The extended schemen, which is being supported by an award of GBP116,000 from the Department of Health by way of the Volunteering Fund National Awards, is due to be tested in 12 cities in England, including Birmingham, Sheffield, Leicester, Luton and Slough over the next two years.
Although the new community champions will be trained about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the main focus will be on type 2 as the ethnic minorities are at a disproportionate risk of developing it. The champions will then be able to hold events and work to motivate people at a high risk of diabetes to have tests carried out at their doctor or local pharmacist.

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