‘It really feels like the end of an era’

The Gainsborough branch of Diabetes UK is colsing after 28 years G111220-1
The Gainsborough branch of Diabetes UK is colsing after 28 years G111220-1

A CHARITABLE organisation that has helped thousands of diabetes sufferers from in and around Gainsborough is closing after 28 years of serving the town.

The committee of the Gainsborough branch of Diabetes UK claim that they have decided to close after bureaucracy and a lack of co-operation from the charity’s head office has meant that they are longer able to help the people of Gainsborough as well as they once were.

The group have been meeting every month at the John Coupland Hospital since November 1983.

They closed down as of Saturday 31st December 2011.

“To even think about all of the people that from around Gainsborough that the group have helped over the years is crazy,” said secretary Rose Oakley.

“I couldn’t put an exact number on it but it must be thousands. Right from the start, we have always had a strong membership.”

“It’s been an essential service to the community.”

The group was started by Rose, along with Margaret Pocklington and Part Hammond, who all used to have to travel to Lincoln for Diabetes support and wanted to provide something locally. But now, changing circumstances have led them to close down.

“Over the years, the group has bought various things for John Coupland Hospital and sent nurses from surgeries on diabetic training courses,” said Rose.

“At the monthly meetings, diabetics have been able to buy blood metres and testing machines and books at a reduced price, but the rules of Diabetes UK have restricted the group on what we can spend money on over the last few years and the committee feel they are not able to help the diabetics in town like we used to, so we came to the decision to close the group down.”

Rose continued: “We had to start asking for permission for what we could spend money on and it was usually denied.”

“We are quite angry at the bureaucracy of it all - we didn’t start this group up only to raise money for the charity - we did it to help the people of the town.”

A Diabetes UK spokesman said: “All of our voluntary groups have the same rules in terms of spending money. These are in place to provide the best possible value for money for donors at the same time as allowing groups to respond to local needs.”

“We are, of course, disappointed that the Gainsborough group is closing because these groups can provide great support to local people living with diabetes. This is why we hope to see people with diabetes setting up another group in the future.”

The Diabetes UK helpline is 0845 120 2960 .