A housing association’s service to support residents with diabetes has been recognised in a national report.

Launched this year, whg’s Community Champion programme has been highlighted as an example of best practice in the Tackling Inequalities Commission Report, produced by Diabetes UK.

The programme, which has been designed by whg with funding from the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) and delivered in partnership with the NHS community diabetes service, aims to support 400 people over the next two years.

The programme builds on whg’s Community Champion model, which recruits residents with lived experience. Through this service champions with lived experience of diabetes support residents in areas where there are high levels of the condition. They encourage and increase access to support services, including diabetes education sessions and support people to positively manage their condition. The champions speak 15 community languages between them and so can engage with customers who have language barriers to understand their health needs.

Fay Shanahan, Corporate Director of Operations, and IT, said: “Housing associations such as whg and other Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) organisations have deep knowledge and trust within their communities. This knowledge needs to be integrated early on into the design of services and materials to ensure that services will be fit for purpose for those furthest away from service access. In Walsall we are integrating health and housing services to benefit the health outcomes of those with the worst health and the least access to services.”

The report, published in November, sets out the findings of the Diabetes UK Tackling Inequality Commission. It was informed by the experiences of more than 100 people living with diabetes across the UK and makes a series of recommendations to help tackle diabetes inequality.

Download the report here.