Healthwatch Dorset has been nominated for a prestigious national award for helping local young people to raise awareness of what it is like to live with type one diabetes.

Healthwatch Dorset has been shortlisted under the ‘Celebrating our volunteer team’ category in the Healthwatch Awards 2020, which are run by Healthwatch England.

This annual event – which is taking place virtually this year due to the pandemic – celebrates the difference Healthwatch’s 4,400 staff and volunteers have made over the past year.  Healthwatch Dorset is one of only 30 local Healthwatch out of a total of 152 across England to be in the running for one of the awards.

The nomination recognises the impact of Healthwatch Dorset’s work last year, supporting local young people who have type one diabetes to raise awareness of the condition and to reach out to other young people living with diabetes.

They worked with young volunteers in six Dorset schools, helping them talk to hundreds of young people across the county through assemblies during Diabetes Week, a blog, and two short films that were shown in schools and promoted on social media during World Diabetes Day.  The blog and videos have been seen by thousands of people and shared with health commissioners and providers.  One of the volunteers, 14-year-old Rosey, wrote a blog about what it’s like to live with type one diabetes, and she won the Young Person’s Outstanding Contribution at the Diabetes UK Inspire awards for campaigning to get glucose sensors available on prescription.

The overall award winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced during Healthwatch Week, which runs from Monday 2 November 2020.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Manager, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this national award, as it recognises the enormous value of our volunteers, and how we work with local people to make a real difference.  It was a pleasure working with these wonderful young volunteers, encouraging and supporting them to speak up about their experiences, and making sure their health care needs are heard and understood.  You can find out more about this great project and watch the films we made with our young volunteers on our website: healthwatchdorset.co.uk/project/diabetes-awareness/

Oak Academy, Bournemouth (@Oak_Academy) tweeted: “Congratulations for being shortlisted…we are very proud to have worked with you on this project.  #makingadifference #StudentVoice”

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England, said: “I never stop being inspired by the dedication of local Healthwatch staff to making care better for their communities.  Whether reaching out those whose views are not being heard, helping people to find the support they need or making sure NHS and social care services act on the improvements that the public want to see, the award entries highlight the difference local Healthwatch make.  I would like to congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted.  They have done their communities proud.”

More information about the awards shortlist can be found on the Healthwatch England website.

Like their colleagues across the country, Healthwatch Dorset staff and volunteers have been supporting their local community more than ever through the pandemic by:

  • Finding out what people like about health and social care support, and what could be improved
  • Helping people find the information they need about services in their area
  • Encouraging those in charge of NHS and social care services to make the changes that communities would like to see.