The Diabetic Association was set up in 1934 by novelist HG Wells and Dr RD Lawrence – both of whom had diabetes. It became the British Diabetic Association (BDA) in 1954 and Diabetes UK at the turn of the millennium.
Radical from the beginning, the charity aimed to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation. Its mission statement was "to promote the study, the diffusion of knowledge, and the proper treatment of diabetes in this country."
The Association campaigned for the creation of the National Health Service and argued that people with diabetes should take an active role in managing their condition.
In 1939 the first diabetes voluntary self-support group was set up. There are now over 400 local voluntary groups, providing support and information to people with diabetes across the UK.