A volunteer who campaigns tirelessly for better diabetes services has won a volunteering award from the charity Diabetes UK.
Stephen MacMahon won the Supporting Others Awards at the charity’s regional Inspire Awards, held in Taunton, Somerset, on March 8.
Stephen, who got involved with Diabetes UK after his wife was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, is a Service Champion, which means he represents Diabetes UK at NHS meetings and events to help influence key decision makers and shape services.
Service Champions work with their local Diabetes UK regional office to identify how diabetes services are performing in their area. They are the charity’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground.
Stephen has tirelessly lobbied and campaigned for better diabetes care in Swindon for the past five years. He devotes many hours each week to meetings with staff from the NHS and local authorities, politicians and patients.
At these events he challenges poor service and represents patients’ needs. His work includes major improvements to NHS diabetes services across Swindon, the setting up of a new patients’ website and the launch of an expert diabetes clinical network to improve and provide oversight of NHS services.
Phaedra Perry, Regional Manager at Diabetes UK in the South West, said: “Stephen has been a fantastic ambassador for Diabetes UK since becoming a Service Champion and has set about improving diabetes services with tenacity and expertise.
"It is so important to be able to have people like Stephen who can be called upon to represent people with diabetes and lobby for the best care possible. He has a brilliant knowledge of the local services and has campaigned hard for all people with diabetes to receive the care they need. I am delighted Stephen has won this award.
“The Inspire Awards are a great opportunity to thank the people who deserve recognition for their fantastic efforts to support people with diabetes. As an organisation, we couldn’t do what we do without brilliant and dedicated volunteers like Stephen.
"Thanks to our network of volunteers, we’re helping people with diabetes manage their condition, campaigning to improve the quality of care available to them, funding pioneering research into the condition and working to stem the rising tide of diabetes.”
Stephen said: “I was pleased and surprised to win this award which recognises the work we are trying to do to improve care for people with diabetes in Swindon. We know that we still have a long way to go to get the services that people with the condition need. But there are meetings coming which I hope will lead to improvements.”
Diabetes UK has more than 570 registered volunteers in the South West region, many of whom also belong to the charity’s 23 groups.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Diabetes UK, please email email@example.com or call 01823 448260.
People can find out more about Diabetes UK local groups in their area at www.diabetes.org.uk/South_West.