Charity volunteers reach out to shoppers about risk of diabetes

Volunteers from the Croydon branch of Diabetes UK and from the borough’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum, supported by funds from NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, have been telling people about the real risks of contracting diabetes and steps they can take to avoid it.

Lynette Richards-Lord with her diabetes information stall in Surrey Street

Lynette Richards-Lorde is a local “Diabetes Community Champion” and a former director of nursing and midwifery in Wandsworth. Last week, she ran a stall in Surrey Street with a team of volunteers speaking to shoppers and passers-by. Around 30 of the visitors to the stall disclosed that they have diabetes.

They shared information about how to live well with diabetes, including at list of 15 essentials people with diabetes need to know before going to their annual checkup.

“I trained as a Diabetes Community Champion over four years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and I realised there were very few support networks for Caribbean people who have the condition,” Richards-Lorde said.

“By having this stall in the centre of Croydon, we are making information accessible to everyone. Many people approached us asking a range of questions, from simple changes to their diet, to how to address complications relating to their kidneys.”

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, the clinical chair of Croydon CCG and a local GP, said, “The CCG is pleased to support this work in raising awareness of the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The type of outreach work done by Lynette, her fellow Community Champions and the wider Croydon voluntary and community sector can really help to make people aware of simple lifestyle changes that help them live well with diabetes or reduce their risk of getting the disease.”

Diabetes UK Community Champions educate and raise awareness of diabetes and Diabetes UK by organising stalls, talks, presentations and healthy living days at community centres, health fairs and local festivals.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin; and Type 2 diabetes, where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.

In Britain, around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes have Type 2.

The main symptoms of diabetes include feeling very thirsty, urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk and blurred vision.

If you experience these symptoms, visit your GP as soon as possible.

For more information on diabetes, please visit the NHS Choices website.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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