Students offered chance to make a difference as a Diabetes UK Community Champion


Community-minded students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) can volunteer for training this month so they can learn skills to help detect people's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The Community Champions scheme is a partnership with the Diabetes UK charity where DMU students can learn how to raise awareness of the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes so they can provide people with vital health information, including referring them to a GP.

Diabetes main

The free two-day training session is taking place on Monday 27 February and Tuesday 28 February, at the Hawthorn Building (room 0.46) from 9am until 5pm on both days.

It aims to give students useful skills for their CVs and is often of particular benefit for Health and Life Sciences students to complement their other work placements, but the scheme is open to all students across the university.

The scheme has been running since 2010 and DMU is the only university in the country to have such a partnership with Diabetes UK. Around 120 DMU students have been trained under the scheme so far, with as many as 80 more due to be added this month.

It has been scheduled to coincide with the university's Enhancement Week, a time set aside for students to work on their development, be it academic, personal or professional skills.

The university's teams of Community Champions, many of whom are Pharmacy students, will be aiming to visit more than 60 events during this academic year, with a target of engaging with 4,000 people.

The charity says its collaboration with DMU has already helped to identify hundreds of people who were later diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes without knowing it and more than 370 people have been referred to their GPs. One roadshow alone last summer saw 172 people referred to their family doctor.


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Pharmacy students who have taken up the opportunity have found it to be a worthwhile addition to their degree and a valuable form of work experience.

Kamandeep Sandhu, a third-year Pharmacy student, said: "It complements the degree and there are useful skills to learn which you can then use when you enter the world of work - and knowing you are helping people too is rewarding."

Zainab Ali, a fourth-year Pharmacy student from Leicester, trained as one of the first Community Champions when it was a pilot scheme. She said: "It's very relevant to my degree. It has been great meeting the public and has helped me understand the people I'll be supporting in the future."

The university is also bringing in Community Champion team leaders to ensure as many people as possible are assessed during the visits to community centres, libraries, schools and Diabetes UK roadshows.

The project forms part of the university's DMU Square Mile Programme, which draws upon the expertise of students and staff to benefit the community.

A MyGateway form for the training can be downloaded via the link here:

Posted on Thursday 2nd February 2017

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