Please Note: Our monthly meetings have been cancelled for the time being.

We have today (11th March 2020) received the following email from DUK Head Office:

Hi Jim,

I'm writing to all Local Group Committees today to provide an update for your local group in relation to the UK’s ongoing response to the outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

This update follows the most up-to-date news from the UK Government’s COBRA meeting on Monday, where it was communicated that the UK remains in the containment phase of managing the virus. Much of the advice is simple common sense, and washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water remains the single best step you can take.

However, we know that coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with diabetes, as well as in older people, and those with other long-term conditions.

We know that a significant proportion of our members and volunteers in local groups fit into at least one of these groups at higher risk of severe complications. In light of this, we are looking at activities carried by, or on behalf of, Diabetes UK, and we are introducing temporary measures to:

1. Limit the formal gathering of people with diabetes where infection might be spread, and

2. Limit activities that involve significant time spent in close contact with members of the general public, such as Know Your Risk events.

Impact on group meetings, events and Know Your Risk activities

As a result, and after very careful consideration, at this time we are requiring all Diabetes UK Local Groups to either cancel or postpone any group meetings, events, or Know Your Risk activities that they currently have planned until at least 30 April 2020.

We don’t want you to be alarmed by this decision. The welfare of our volunteers and local group members is the most important thing to us at Diabetes UK, and we believe these steps are crucial in ensuring your wellbeing is protected.

As part of our decision making, we consulted with other health charities whose volunteers are also likely to be at increased risk of serious impact if they contract coronavirus, and believe this is the most appropriate step to take at the present time.

However, we also appreciate that some members and volunteers in local groups meet socially, outside of the formal work of the group. This is of course a personal decision, but we would urge that any individuals consider and follow the latest government advice available.

Impact on individual volunteer activities

The latest UK Government advice states that most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places. On that basis, if any volunteers from your group wish to continue honouring individual speaking commitments at events for the general public, or to have stands in public spaces to raise awareness or to fundraise, these activities may continue as planned for now.

How we can continue to support you

We recognise that our local groups provide vital support to people affected by diabetes, and that this will be even more critical in the weeks ahead. We would be grateful to hear any ideas you may have on how we can continue to support your communities during this period of halted activity. Please contact your local volunteering team if you'd like to discuss how you may be able to continue providing that support during this time. We, too, are looking at how we can ramp up the support we all provide over the coming weeks.

Where to find information, advice and support for people with diabetes

In partnership with Public Health England and the NHS, we have updated our advice on coronavirus for people with diabetes. This update includes some Frequently Asked Questions that we hope answers any questions you or anyone you may be in contact with may have. It also contains links to the most up-to-date guidance from the NHS and the UK Government.

You can find this advice here:

This page will be updated in response to latest advice from the UK Government and the NHS, but we will also contact you directly via email if the advice to your group changes significantly.

In the meantime, if you have any concerns or questions, you can contact our Helpline on 0345 123 2399, email or speak to your local volunteering team.

We thank you for your understanding in this matter, and for your continued efforts to keep everyone safe and well.

Best wishes,

Andy Broomhead

Head of Volunteering