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Who is Diabetes UK and what does it do?

Diabetes UK is the largest organisation in the UK working for people with diabetes, funding research, campaigning and helping people live with the condition. We have over 170,000 members and are working for people with diabetes, their carers, family and friends. We represent the interests of all people with diabetes by lobbying the government for better standards of care and the best quality of life. Diabetes UK spends over £7 million on research every year to improve the treatment of diabetes and it is hoped research will ultimately lead to finding a cure. Diabetes UK’s mission is to improve the lives of people with diabetes and to work towards a future without diabetes.

Diabetes UK’s forerunner, the Diabetic Association, was set up in 1934 by novelist HG Wells and Dr RD Lawrence – both of whom had diabetes. The radical charity they founded aimed to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation.

In addition, the Diabetic Association (which became the British Diabetic Association in 1954), challenged accepted ideas of how people should be treated. The Association campaigned for a national health service and believed that people with diabetes should take an active role in managing their condition. In effect, this means they were promoting a patient-centred approach a good 50 years before the idea caught on across the NHS.

In 1939, the Diabetic Association set up the first diabetes self-support group. This has now grown to a network of more than 400 local groups, which provide support and information to people with diabetes across the UK.

The British Diabetic Association was renamed Diabetes UK in 2000. The distinctive new identity will help raise the profile of the organisation as the leading diabetes charity in the UK. The new name, quite literally, puts ‘diabetes’ first, and the hummingbird logo symbolises balance and control – vital for people with diabetes who have to regulate their blood glucose levels.

Diabetes UK is one of the largest patient organisations in Europe. They stand up for the interests of people with diabetes by campaigning for better standards of care. They are the largest funder in the UK of research into better treatments for diabetes and the search for a cure and they provide practical support and information and safety-net services to help people manage their diabetes.

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