Britain’s biggest diabetes charity has come under fire for signing a £500,000 contract with the makers of Tango and Pepsi [File photo]
Britain’s biggest diabetes charity has come under fire for signing a £500,000 contract with the makers of Tango and Pepsi.
The three-year partnership between Diabetes UK and fizzy drinks firm Britvic will fund the charity’s schools, education and awards programmes.
Doctors and campaigners described the deal as ‘appalling’.
Diabetes UK has long warned that sugary food and drink is fuelling Britain’s diabetes epidemic.
Just last week the charity released figures showing 7,000 under-25s are being treated for type 2 diabetes – ten times more than previously thought.
However, it said it was ‘thrilled’ by the partnership with Britvic.
The charity’s chief executive, Chris Askew, last night defended the deal, stressing that his organisation ‘cannot tackle the diabetes crisis in isolation’.
He said: ‘We recognise that partnerships – and the opportunities they present both to influence industry, and to amplify our work – are one of the key ways for us to make change happen.’
He insisted the new deal is ‘in line’ with the charity’s funding policy, written just five months ago, which states: ‘No commercial partnership will be entered into with a company whose product or service is considered to be detrimental to people living with or at risk of diabetes.’
It rules out working with tobacco firms, and insists that deals with food and drinks companies ‘will be subject to a full risk assessment’.
Dr Simon Tobin, a GP from Merseyside, told The Sunday Times: ‘I’ve been diabetic lead at my practice for 25 years. I cannot recommend my patients are supported by Diabetes UK. How can they trust a charity that has partnered with Britvic?’
The deal with Britvic specifically relates to type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disease which has no link to obesity or diet [File photo]
Radio presenter Jon Gaunt, who put his type 2 diabetes into remission by cutting out sugar, described the deal as ‘blood money’, adding: ‘This is a company that still pushes sugary products. Diabetes UK has lost all credibility by doing this.’
The charity was originally founded as The Diabetic Association in 1934 by HG Wells, who had the disease. Last year it had an income of £40million, of which £29million came from public donations and legacies.
The deal with Britvic specifically relates to type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disease which has no link to obesity or diet.
It will fund Diabetes UK’s schools programme, which provides information packs to help schools look after pupils with type 1 diabetes. As part of the partnership, Diabetes UK will also help Britvic’s 2,000 staff ‘understand how to live healthy lives’.