On Tuesday 26 July at Chilwell Olympia, 18 Broxtowe residents living with diabetes talked to us about whether their self-help group had made a positive difference to their lives. The resounding answer from the room was yes!

The group was set up by two PICS staff from different services working together to help improve patient lives. Karen Richardson, Specialist Diabetes Nurse and Gareth Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Coach are both part of Nottingham West Primary Care Network.

Since March 2022, between 15-40 people have been meeting regularly to chat, ask questions and share advice. Self-help and peer-to-peer groups are proven to be an effective way for people living with long-term conditions or specific needs to better manage their own care, maintain independence and improve wellbeing.

The aim is that people with lived experiences of diabetes could be more involved in their own care by gaining knowledge from each other and building confidence. They have organised and hosted regular meetings and run workshops and wellbeing sessions.

GP surgeries refer people who have diabetes to the group, or anyone can join in – there are flyers posted on community notice boards and on the internet.

Gareth highlighted how empowering the group is for participants: “We’re actually meeting in August to plan how to move forward, and I’m really excited that members are talking about running the group themselves. That just really shows how worthwhile it is for healthcare professionals to use our networks to set up new groups.

Sally Smith, 67 from Beeston, was diagnosed with Diabetes in 2018 and talked to us about the impact on her health from joining. Watch this three minute video to hear Sally explain how her GP surgery helped her get involved and the difference it’s made: https://youtu.be/vOecPYQ7neY