The Finnish Diabetes Association has 106 local branches (and a national association for young people) with a total membership of about 56 000.
Local branches offer their members information, support and a wide range of activities: lectures, courses and other events with experts, individual peer support, members' evenings, clubs, outings and travel opportunities. The larger branches also provide guidance and consultation with diabetes doctors, nurses, dieticians or podiatrists. Many branches arrange self-care equipment and Association booklets and other materials for their members.
The local branch is a channel through which members can have a say on policies and decisions affecting people with diabetes. The local branches are advocates on diabetes issues in their own area, liaising with municipal decision-makers, health-care centres and hospitals. There are different roles available for individuals in a local branch: some may choose to become active organizers while others may prefer to be vigilant rank-and-file members.