A Bit about our Group 

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A BIT ABOUT OUR GROUP

An introduction to our group

Hello,

My name is Peter Bellingham and I am the Secretary of Bexley Diabetes UK Group. I just wanted to give you a bit more information about the group and what we do. I’m really pleased you’ve asked to find out a bit more about us and look forward to getting to know you.

Diabetes UK Groups exist to give advice, information and support to people living with diabetes and their friends and family- indeed we’re open to anyone who’s interested in diabetes.

Who we are:

A few individuals who were affected by diabetes, sufferers together with carers and medical professionals originally formed the Group in August 2000. It was then known as the Bexley Diabetes Support Group. Membership steadily increased and we now have 700+ members. In view of the growth in numbers and our activities it was decided, in 2005, to become a registered voluntary group within the Diabetes UK to benefit ail and acquire charitable status. We are now known as Diabetes UK Bexley. This group is a self-funding body.

Our main aims are:

To offer mutual support, sharing information about the condition and the good practice in care and treatment. Also to ensure that high levels of professional care are available and maintained within the local Heath Authorities and other health care providers. To become involved as laypersons with regional and national level study and research projects.

How often and where do we meet?

On the 3rd Friday of each month, except August, during the evening from 7.30pm (ending approx. 9.00 pm) at the United Reformed Church, Geddes Place, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DJ

Is there any membership fee and how do I join?

Simply contact the local answering service responder, on: Tel 07775305110 you will be advised of the date of the next meeting and then come along. There is no membership fee, but when attending meetings a voluntary contribution is accepted, to cover cost of refreshments and the hire of the hall.

Who attends the meetings?

Anyone who is affected by Diabetes whether a sufferer, a carer or a relative, is welcome to attend. For those who are newly diagnosed it provides an opportunity to meet other sufferers in a friendly and informal atmosphere. On average 30 - 50 people attend each month with most coming along when there is a particular topic that interests them. Parents and children are very welcome.

What happens at meetings?

Various professional speakers are invited to talk and answer questions on topical issues ranging from general diabetes care, healthy eating, eye care, foot care and occasionally we invite inspirational speakers who have excelled in many different ways and have not let diabetes stop them from living a full life. The emphasis is on ensuring that everyone is relaxed and not deterred by technical language so they become better informed. The Annual General Meeting provides an opportunity to select your representatives.

How often must I attend meetings to remain a member of the Support Group?

Some members never attend a meeting and this is fine, instead they are happy to receive the monthly newsletter. You may have an e-mail address, which can be used for forwarding correspondence (free of charge); if you do we use a device that prevents others becoming aware of it. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the newsletter by post then it helps to provide our membership secretary with your mailing address and a supply of 11 x 2  class stamps so we can post the letters to you.

What benefits are there to being a member of the Support Group?

A monthly newsletter can be sent to you containing up-to-date information of the new initiatives in diabetes care and research and any other matters relating to the group's activities as well as dates for your diary. Coming to meeting also means that you see and hear about things first hand and receive encouragement in dealing with any issues that may cause you concern. Many members say they find it helpful to talk over shared experiences but nobody is expected to share confidences if they prefer not to.

Can I get specific advice about my own health?

No, only information and guidance is offered to members as each individual must follow the advice of their GP, Diabetes Nurse or hospital consultant. If, however you are unclear about aspects of the treatment you are receiving, the group will assist by providing information to enable you to question and understand your condition and the treatment more clearly.

What other activities does the group organise?

A variety of social events are organised each year, including walks, visits to places of interest, a quiz night, theatre trips and the buffet at Christmas. We also run a stall at various local charity events, particularly during the summer months, to raise awareness of the group and about diabetes and funds to finance the Group. An occasional raffle is held at the monthly meetings and we sell previously owned books, CDs and new handicraft items.

What to do next?

If you are interested in becoming a member then refer back to "How do I join?" If you know anyone who also may be interested in the group then please pass them this information sheet. Thank you for your interest and taking time to read all about us and we hope to see you in the future.

We look forward to seeing you at our meetings, you will be assured of a warm welcome! 

Our next meeting is on the 3rd friday of every month except in August where we hope to continue our informative  discussions and invite questions for our Speakers. Keep an eye open for our newsletters which are sent out by e-mail each month

Please take a look at the website http://www.diabetes.org.uk where you will find a tremendous amount of useful information.