What do we do?
We engage residents in City and Hackney and provide a safe; warm and muti-functional learning environment based in Hackney Downs ward where we welcome Black people from all backgrounds and abilities to increase active self-care/self-management of their condition through peer-to-peer mentoring; community-based health information to better understand and live well with diabetes; improve culturally specific cooking skills to support weight management; diet and nutrition.
Activities embed community walking groups in local parks, adult learning workshops co-facilitated through community leaders with experience of health inequalities and professional experiences in adult education to co-facilitate a blend of coaching/mentoring approaches to support health and care development.
We also engage residents’ caring for family members who are housebound through regular phone calls to provide compassionate support and signposting to wider health services, emergency funds and advice etc.
The Founders Story
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 1992 and had no idea what to do about it. Self-management groups were not accessible to people who like me; Black Caribbean Heritage, and so a few short years later the hospital consultant told me I was at risk of losing my eyesight sight and that I may need to have one of my feet amputated due to diabetes complications. I was signposted to the diabetes nurse, and I asked if there was any support available. To my shock and amazement, the response was a rather embarrassed “no”. I felt despondent; isolated; indignant and bewildered as I struggled to process what was clearly a barrier to health stemming from Health inequalities that Black, Asian and minority Ethnic groups were up against. I wondered what I should do and it was then that I heard a still small voice within me say “why don’t you do something about it”.
One year later I resigned from my profession as an Ofsted Inspector and soon went on to complete several accredited courses including PTLLS teacher training. I was successful in writing funding applications and in 2013 I took my first steps in delivering the charities signature ‘Sweet Success’ peer supported self-care course for adults at risk of Type 2 diabetes. The organisation became registered as a CIO under the name of Beersheba – Living Well in 2016 and we began to gain traction through building a credible track record providing peer supported group learning courses for adults and older people at risk and the rest as they say is history.