Diabetes UK Family Day - Swansea

This weekend was the second and final for this year of the Diabetes UK Family Day's, held in Swansea at the De Vere Village Hotel. In a beautiful setting near the coast and marina of Swansea dock, the hotel was a great meeting place for all of the Young Person's Project member's on the Friday evening before the event.

Over the event of the weekend so many people that attended could not believe the fact that some of the YPP member's of the group had only met up two times previously to this. Once for the training for the event and once for the family day in north Wales. But we got on so well and are so well organised thanks to Chris the event's creator that even I had to stop and think how often we'd gotten together. Which is testament towards why the day went so well, that we all get on which hopefully made it a positive environment for the family's, sibling's and young people with diabetes to attend.

We spent the Friday night together just the volunteer's and the group's founder and facilitator Chris Headland- which YPP was his great idea. The evening was spent planning the fun activities and discussions for the young people about to attend, eating food and chatting about all of the thing's we've been up to since the last event. And before we knew it, it was time to go to bed to get a good night's rest before the families and children arrived in the morning.

On the day the atmosphere in the breakfast room was noticeably excitable in anticipation for everyone to arrive. And arrive they did by 10am in the morning. After being meeted and greeted and signed in- the parents were taken towards the conference room ready for some really exciting and innovative talks, the younger children were led to their room for arts and crafts and circus skills and the teenagers were taken to their room where we all got ready to go bowling together at the local arena. There were close to 20 teenagers in total from all around Wales. Some with Type 1 diabetes and some friends and sibling's of those with the condition but not with it themselves.

I haven't been bowling for quite some time so we were all really looking forward to going on down to the alley and having a couple of games. We all naturally mixed into groups of children/ teenagers and YPP members. We had an absolute blast together and laughed at the interesting techniques (my lack of aim) on display and the funny shoes that we were all wearing. It was a fantastic idea to go bowling because it was an activity that could be enjoyed by everyone. It didn't matter whether you had diabetes or not, whether you were any good at bowling or not or what age you were. We all joined in and had a great time playing and chatting until it was time to leave for lunch.

On getting back to the hotel and having lunch and of course the traditional game of 'splat', we settled down to have some group discussions and activities more based around diabetes. It was a great opportunity for those again both with and without diabetes to speak openly and honestly about the condition to people who have been through it themselves and come out the other side. We listened without judgement and where appropriate were able to share experiences of getting through our own diabetes too.

Whilst we were facilitating the day for the teenagers the parents were hearing from guest speaker's and healthcare professionals on a number of topics including transitional care and the period's of life that can effect a child/ teenager's diabetes. One of the guest speaker's was Professor Gregory, who was my first ever diabetes consultant. And one of the people to whom I owe my confidence and independence with diabetes. He was there when I was diagnosed and remained my consultant right up until I left for adult clinic many year's later (I didn't want to leave his clinic). So I know the talk that he gave would have been invaluable to the parents listening and I'm sure of great help in the future.

And once again all too soon the day was over, it was an amazing experience and one that I hope the children and families were able to get a lot out of. And it was all thanks to Diabetes UK and clinical director Chris Headland who not only organised this amazing series of events but he brought together a group of people that a few short months ago were strangers and now I consider friends- the YPP volunteers. And I think I can speak on behalf of the group when I say how grateful we all are for the experience of volunteering at the Diabetes UK family days and that we can't wait to see the exciting events that are in the pipeline for next year!


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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