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Anglia Ruskin University’s SHoKE team work with charity to help people with type 1 diabetes

Students at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) have been working with a national charity to find solutions for people living with type 1 diabetes.

ARU has collaborated with Diabetes UK as part of the university’s Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE) project, which has previously seen ARU students work with public sector organisations across Essex and Cambridgeshire to find tangible solutions to issues faced by residents.

SHoKE is also one of the finalists in the STEM Initiative of the Year category at the 2023 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas cannot produce a hormone called insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

The latest part of the SHoKE project saw teams of students develop ideas to help those students living with type 1 diabetes make the transition from home to university, with four themes selected by the charity for further development: empathy and reducing stigma around diabetes, peer mentoring, a diabetes app, and a student information pack.

Students presented their work to Chris Askew, CEO of Diabetes UK, at an online event earlier this month, and the projects were showcased in poster format at an exhibition at ARU’s Cambridge campus on Tuesday, March 28.

According to Diabetes UK, of the four million people who were diagnosed with diabetes as of 2019, around 10 per cent have type 1, where the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, or rarer forms of diabetes. It is an auto-immune condition not linked to lifestyle and is the most common form of diabetes found in children.

Suzanne Smith, engaging community and volunteer manager who led this initiative for Diabetes UK, said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with the amazing student teams as part of this year’s SHoKE programme.

“Colleagues from Diabetes UK have valued the opportunity to share their experience and specialist knowledge with the students during the past six weeks as they have supported them to develop their ideas.”

Trudy Lynch, SHoKE partnership facilitator at ARU, added: “This collaboration with Diabetes UK has given our students an opportunity to apply their skills and exchange knowledge to develop some excellent ideas and understand the challenges facing those living with diabetes.

“Their proposals focus on contributing to the health and social wellbeing of young people and I hope they can be taken forward by Diabetes UK to bring benefit to everyone.”

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