Interview with the brains behind diabetes networking sensation CircleD

By | 16 March, 2012

Here at ShootUp we believe talking to other pancreatically challenged types comes second only to insulin in the list of how to make life with diabetes less of a pain. Shelley Bennett feels the same. When she was diagnosed aged 19 a nurse told her that no one else her age had diabetes. Thankfully, she discovered this wasn’t quite true and went on to set up CircleD.


Shelley looking happy now that she's met some other diabetics

What’s CircleD?
Circle D is a social group for 18-30’s with diabetes. We meet regularly to chat as well as lots of social events and more. I started it in Kent four years ago but am proud to say that after chatting to me first more ‘branches’ are appearing around the UK, including different age brackets and types. [Excellent, so old fogies such as Tim and myself aren’t excluded – Alison]

Why did you set it up?
I set up Circle D because there was a lack of local support for my age. On the day I was diagnosed a nurse told me ‘oh you are young to have diabetes, no-one else has it your age’. I felt like the only young diabetic in the world! In 2007 I did the DAFNE course and met another diabetic my age, we hit it off straight away and the relief of knowing it wasn’t just me was amazing, I was buzzing for weeks! It’s this that spurs me on to find and give  support to as many other young D’s as I can. As well as to prove that nurse wrong!!!

What do you get out of it?
The best thing for me is knowing that I am helping others to feel less alone and isolated. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did when diagnosed, and for years after. It’s great that I can give them somewhere to channel their ‘rants’ and share their successes. It’s also great for me as I have made a ton of diabetic friends and of course I get to attend the many social events I arrange. It’s great knowing I can make a difference to people. It shocks me that it takes someone like me doing this in my spare time to really reach people and keep at it. The NHS etc should be doing so much more! *RANT OVER*

How do people find a group near them?
Currently we have Circle D Kent 18-30’s, Circle D Norwich 18-30’s, Colchester Circle D for families and Circle D Scotland 18-30’s. There are more in the pipeline though and I know of other non Circle D groups. For up to date info check our website or add us on Facebook for a chat.

What if there isn’t a group near by?
My advice to anyone who has no local support is….CREATE SOME! If you want to think about setting up a group of your own or maybe even a Circle D one you will need to be dedicated, enthusiastic, friendly and able to give up a couple of hours a week minimum. It is also great if you can start a group with someone else too. If you have regular access to Facebook this is a great tool to help you on your way. It is a fairly big commitment but the rewards are fab. If anyone is interested in setting up a group, Circle D or otherwise please feel free to get in touch via the website.

Thanks Shelley. And of course, while we’re talking meet ups, we’re having a ShootUp meet up in Liverpool on April 14 so if you’ve never met other pancreatically challenged type before and are in the area, come along!

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About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

4 thoughts on “Interview with the brains behind diabetes networking sensation CircleD

  1. Tim

    Circle D does indeed rock! There’s nothing better than meeting up with other diabetics for picking up tips, moaning and general understanding. I would highly recommend that people go along to a local group – or do as Shelly’s done and set up your own.

  2. Kate O'Shaughnessy

    Circle D and Shelly are awesome.

    It will be my 5th birthday with The D this May.

    I met Shelley at the 2nd birthday of Circle D in town… and funny enough Alison was one of the first diabetics I had met outside my hospital, I was on a job with BT and Alison was technically my boss/client haha.

    Both ladies have given me support and passed on valuable knowledge when it comes to diabetes. It’s nice to know there are lovely people out there helping others…

    Thx ladies 😉 x

    1. Alison Post author

      Welcome Kate, I made such a terrrifying impression it took you years to pluck up the courage to comment on ShootUp 😉

      1. Kate O'Shaughnessy

        hahaha, i thought i was already signed up! After Louise gave me your web link (nearly 5yrs ago!!), i swore i did!!! haha i obviously just read and leave hahah 😉


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