Top charity awards for volunteer who demands better diabetes services in North Lancashire

Robert Edge
Robert Edge
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A Blackpool campaigner who works tirelessly to make diabetes a priority for local health authorities has won two volunteering awards from the charity Diabetes UK.

Robert Edge, 68, won the Raise Your Voice Award at the charity’s regional Inspire Awards, held in Bury on 29 March. The award recognises the work of those who have campaigned or influenced for improvements to diabetes services.

Robert was also presented with the David Mottershead Award which is the top award for the North West Region and recognises the outstanding contribution made by an individual volunteer. This award is given in honour of its namesake, who campaigned for many years in Chester and the surrounding area to ensure people with diabetes had access to diabetes services and in particular to eye screening.

Robert is a Diabetes UK Service Champion, representing the charity at key NHS meetings and events and putting forward views and suggestions on how services could better meet patients’ needs. Last year, the North Lancashire Diabetes Strategy Group, which consists of healthcare professionals, commissioners and other key decision makers, was under threat of disbanding. Robert worked tirelessly with local people with diabetes and healthcare professionals to keep the group together in order for diabetes to remain a priority for the local Clinical Commissioning Group.

Helen Pattie, Diabetes UK’s regional manager in the North West, said: “Robert has been involved in various aspects of campaigning and influencing in the area, showing a real desire to make sure people with diabetes get the care they need. But we were particularly impressed with Robert’s hard work to ensure the strategy group stayed together. If the plans to disband the group had gone through, standards of care for the 7,600 people with diabetes in North Lancashire would have been jeopardised.

“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 Robert. 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.”

Robert said: “I was very pleased to see my name mentioned for an award. It meant that someone had thought enough about me to put my name forward. I was delighted to receive the Raise Your Voice Award.

“I was sitting very contentedly when my name was announced for the David Mottershead award. I was staggered beyond belief. I was delighted, honoured, humbled and quite emotional.

“I would like to say a big big thankyou to all who know and support me. My wife said as I went to receive the award ‘I told you that you should have put a tie on.’ “

In addition to his role as a Service Champion, Robert is also chair of the Blackpool Diabetes UK Group and a Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow volunteer.

Diabetes UK has 300 registered volunteers in the North West region, many of which also belong to the charity’s 32 groups. To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Diabetes UK, please email or call 01925 653281.