Diabetes UK Cymru Volunteer Conference and Inspire Awards 2014

The Diabetes UK Cymru Volunteer Conference and Inspire Awards event is an amazing day held every year, that celebrates the work of diabetes volunteers and the work of their friends and family. It's a great opportunity for education in the area of diabetes and an opportunity to celebrate all things diabetes. The day was action packed with fascinating guest speakers, educational workshops and lots of networking. And the evening full of hearing inspiring stories about individuals and volunteer groups, some of which gaining great recognition through awards. I was invited along to give a presentation on my volunteering experience during the day and also as part of the Diabetes UK YPP and as the founder of Blue Circle Diabetes Support group for young people.

I was amongst great company for the day and it was a pleasure to meet so many inspiring people. I include amongst those my fellow young person's project members, in addition to all of the wonderful guest speakers for the day. Sat on the speaker's table I couldn't believe one of the first people I spoke to lived within a 100m of my house. And in which case was just the kind of person that would be great as a new member of Blue Circle Diabetes Support Group. The volunteer conference was opened up by the National Assembly for Wales minister for health Mark Drakeford. It was great to hear him speak again having met for the first time at my old high school where we both spoke after I carried the Olympic Torch. Also having met with the minister's senior policy maker a few months previous about the challenges that young people with diabetes face in their transitions through hospitals and life. It was great to see that what I'd said had not only been listened to but completely understood.

Next it was my turn to speak and present to the volunteers about my experiences of volunteering with Diabetes UK. For the most part I decided to focus on the volunteering groups that I've had the pleasure of being involved in after carrying the Olympic torch. And I then went on to talk about the role of Blue Circle Diabetes Support Group and my hopes and aspirations for its future within psycho-social support. The pilot for which I'm currently doing in Wales but that I hope to role out across the country in the not so distant future. It was over-whelming to hear after the speech was over, how many people share my views on supporting the psychological side of diabetes care and sharing experiences is truly what I believe an event such as this is all about.

There were so many inspiring speakers throughout the day. So inspiring in fact that to mention them briefly in this post event report blog would never do them justice. Resultantly many of which I'll be focussing on in my blogs in the week ahead (so watch this space). But to give an overview it was fascinating hearing about the history of research within Diabetes UK and where that will be going in the future, how well the charity has been doing fundraising wise and especially with the Tesco partnership. There were other volunteer stories that were excellent to listen to and take inspiration from. But it wasn't just those who presented that were inspirational but also the people I met in the breaks and in the dinner in the night that had such wonderful stories of diabetes heroism to tell. Many of which were rewarded for their efforts in the Inspire awards after dinner.

All in all it was a great event and a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate a fantastic year of all that's good and inspiring about diabetes. I left the conference feeling energised and even more inspired for a great year of volunteering in 2014 as I'm sure will be the same for the other volunteers. I really felt that we're #InItTogether and I honestly believe that together we'll inspire others to join our cause too if Saturday was anything to go by.


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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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