Healthworks Community Cancer Champions

Healthworks are a community health charity based in Newcastle who work with local communities across the North East, supporting people to live longer, healthier and happier lives by tackling health inequalities with a diverse range of projects, activities and interventions.

One arm of the charity is cancer awareness, spreading key messages through word of mouth and information distribution, and signposting people to local services and support to seek early medical assistance where appropriate.

This work wouldn’t be possible without their Community Cancer Champions who work across the region raising awareness about cancer among their family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

Meet the team…

Wendy Hadlington – Healthwatch Engagement Officer
“It is so important to spread the word around cancer awareness. There are still so many communities where cancer is just not spoken about, which in turn causes early, avoidable deaths and misery. Let’s talk about cancer more, encouraging people within our communities to access regular screening and early support if they are worried about differences to their bodies. As a cancer champion I ensure that any information I receive is shared through our Healthwatch website, social media channels and also personally throughout my family and friends.”

Dona Beny – Health Improvement Practitioner
“I feel that it’s really important to spread awareness because it helps in destigmatising the taboo around cancer and gives an equal opportunity to the general public to understand and gain knowledge about cancer and get a clear picture of what they should do next if they encounter any signs and symptoms.

I have spoken about the cancer champion course in my class to my fellow classmates and tutors and tried encouraging them to follow Healthworks and the work we do in our respective areas.”

Dave Armstrong – Wates Construction
“Having personally experienced the effects of cancer I became a cancer champion to raise awareness of the disease. I wanted to address the elephant in the room and encourage men to talk about cancer. I completed the Cancer Champion’s course and since then talks and events have then been arranged at Wates in the aim of encouraging men to understand when and why to seek medical attention – before it’s too late.”

Judith Oliver – Community Cancer Champion
“As a person who comes from a family that has lost people through cancer and have cousins going through treatment, I understand the need to get the word out there to check yourself regularly and don’t put off seeking advice.

As a cancer champion I am able to do that. I speak to my local chemist regularly and provide them with displays every month. I also live on a busy road near a bus stop so I take the opportunity to display posters in my front window so anybody passing can’t help but see them and hopefully it will encourage someone to attend their screening appointments, seek medical advice and check for any signs or symptoms”

Omar Sarwar – Farah Chemists
“Cancer awareness in community pharmacy is important as we are an accessible entity in the community. Through our eyes we are able to raise awareness, interact with the people, recognise symptoms and signpost patients in a friendly and relaxed environment. We also have the bonus of confidential space for more private conversations.

I think being a cancer champion is so important and I support Healthworks around all cancer awareness work, hosting events and having monthly awareness displays in my window for the community to take notice of.”

Sam Ellis – Welfare Rights Administrative Assistant, Pallion Action Group
“It’s so important to have information available for people about cancer as a lot of people don’t know some of the symptoms and just brush them off because they don’t want to bother the GP with something that can be nothing. As a cancer champion I share information in the form of leaflets in Pallion Action Group but we also do cancer related posts on our social media to spread the word.”

Louise Harlanderson – Public Health Programme Lead Gateshead (MECC facilitator)
“Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is a great way to share key information backed up by evidence. This can be through everyday conversations and interactions with family, friends, colleagues, community members or even total strangers. Since 1 in every 2 people will experience cancer in their lifetime or support someone through their cancer journey, it is vital for people to feel confident to talk about cancer and raise awareness, so people can get the best support possible.

Cancer awareness training from Healthworks empowers people to pass on easy-to-understand information about different cancers, reducing your risks, signs and symptoms, and where people can gain support or further information. Combining cancer awareness training with Making Every Contact Count, enables reliable information to be shared so everyone can know the difference between cancer facts and cancer myths.”

Visit Healthworks for more information