Beating bowel cancer together

The BeWEL project

BeWEL is a project that aims to reduce the risk of people developing bowel cancer by using volunteers to help them to lose weight and become more active. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government, and undertaken by The University of Dundee in conjunction with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Tayside, and Bowel Cancer UK.

As part of the programme, Bowel Cancer UK is looking for volunteers from Greater Glasgow and Tayside who can support people living in these areas of Scotland to reduce their risk of developing bowel cancer.  Volunteers, known as Life Coaches, will offer simple tips to local people to increase their physical activity, encourage them to sign up to nearby walking groups and leisure centres, give guidance on portion sizes and calories, set them attainable goals and most importantly, be there to support, motivate and inspire them.

Research shows that around half (54 per cent) of all bowel cancers could be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle, such as being of a healthy weight, taking more exercise, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking.

Volunteers with a background of coaching and counselling are preferred, but this can be informal experience, as well as having an interest in physical activity and nutrition. The ideal volunteer will also have empathy for people with health challenges, can show tact and discretion, be enthusiastic and well-organised, and have the ability to maintain trusting relationships. Full training will be provided by the University of Dundee in September.

Volunteers will be required to have face to face visits plus telephone appointments with the participants, plus take their weight and encourage the keeping of food and activity diaries. All of the resources will be provided for the volunteers and they will receive expenses for travel costs.

Claire Donaghy, Head of Scotland for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “This exciting new project empowers people living in Greater Glasgow and Tayside to take small steps to reduce their risk of bowel cancer with the support of a trained volunteer. I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering for the charity as a Life Coach to join us – you won’t regret it! Not only will you enhance your knowledge of nutrition and physical activity but you will be helping us to save lives from bowel cancer.”

If you’re interested in becoming a Life Coach for the BeWEL project, or if you would like more information, please contact Ross Lamb, Health Promotion & Training Coordinator for Scotland, on or 0131 281 7353.

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