The chief executive of Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust writes for Globe.

NEXT week millions of people around the world will be coming together to raise awareness of diabetes.

Here at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust we'll be showing our support for World Diabetes Day on Thursday November 14.

Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that can cause serious health complications.

There are two main types; type 1 and type 2 and although they’re different conditions, both are serious.

The latest figures suggest that diabetes is on the increase in Wirral. There are over 19,500* people in Wirral who have been diagnosed with diabetes and we want to help as many people as we can.

Did you know that making small changes to your lifestyle can have dramatic effects, so here in Wirral we run a free Diabetes Smart course to help people manage their condition.

Diabetes Smart will help you think smart - think differently about your diagnosis, act smart - make informed lifestyle choices and live smart - manage your lifestyle and diabetes on a daily basis.

It's available to people living in Wirral with type1 or type 2 diabetes.

The course includes a core session and a number of practical sessions to get involved with.

You can choose which practical sessions you want to attend, but the more you attend, the more you will benefit.

You'll learn how making simple changes in your everyday life around healthy eating and physical activity, can slow down or even halt the development of type 2 diabetes.

There are sessions available on healthy lifestyle choices, support to manage weight, carbohydrate awareness and the effects on blood sugar levels, food labelling, physical activity, keeping well with diabetes and a session on insulin use.

Feedback from people attending the course has been fantastic;

"Whether you've got type 1 or type 2 diabetes this course will help you make changes to your lifestyle and give you help and support to manage your condition. It's helped me so much."

"It's really flexible. You can attend sessions during the afternoon or evening. You can fit the course around your schedule!"

"I found out all I needed to know. It covered all my concerns regarding diabetes."

"I'd recommend Diabetes Smart to anyone living with diabetes. You learn things you don't think about and receive the support you'll need. If you have diabetes this course is worthwhile."

Our trained professionals deliver the course at St Catherine’s Health Centre, Birkenhead, Victoria Central Health Centre, Wallasey and Heswall Clinic.

If you, a family member or friend is living with type 1 or 2 diabetes our course can help you to make small and meaningful changes to your lifestyle and help you manage the condition on a daily basis.

You can sign up to Diabetes Smart by completing the referral form on our website or calling the team on 0151 604 7271.

Diabetes Smart is a Healthy Wirral initiative.

*Diabetes Profile for Wirral - Public Health England / Wirral Joint Strategic Needs Assessment