VCS Public Health key messages


First key message – Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2023












April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and knowing the symptoms of bowel cancer could save your life.

The 5 symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo.
  • A persistent and unexplained change in your normal bowel habit – such as needing to go for a poo more often or feeling like you haven’t emptied your bowels properly.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy.

Other health problems can cause similar symptoms but contact your GP if you have any of these symptoms for 3 weeks or more.

If you receive a bowel cancer screening test kit in the post, do complete it. The test is simple to do at home and does not hurt. People aged 60-74 and some people in their 50s should receive a kit from their GP every two years.

Bowel Cancer UK are hosting a free online information event for anyone worried about symptoms or having tests for bowel cancer, and their family and friends:

  • Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023
  • Time: 7pm – 8pm

Useful resources

  • NHS offers information on symptoms of bowel cancer.
  • Bowel Cancer UK offers a number of publications that are free to download.
  • Cancer Research UK offers information and resources about bowel cancer including a leaflet and video about how to use a bowel cancer screening kit.

Resources in community languages

  • NHS videos showing how to use bowel cancer screening kit in various community languages such as Arabic, Bengali and Urdu.
  • North Central London Cancer Alliance video on bowel cancer screening in Somali and Turkish.
  • Video offering information on the bowel cancer screening invitation letter in British Sign Language.

Second key message – New Emergency Alerts system

Emergency Alerts is a UK government service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby, for instance severe flooding, fires, or public health emergencies. In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.

IMPORTANT! If you have a hidden or secondary phone due to domestic abuse, please make sure to switch it off on Sunday 23 April. To turn these notifications off, you will need to head to your settings and look for ‘emergency alerts’. You can then toggle on or off the alerts. There’s also an instructional video by Refuge charity.

Visit the UK government website and have a look at the FAQ document to find out more information.

Third key message – Gathering your views on illegal tobacco

 The sale and use of illegal tobacco is harmful to smokers and non-smokers and its availability within local communities is of real concern – not only when it comes to people’s health but also its links to organised crime.

The London Tobacco Alliance and London Trading Standards are working together to gain Londoner’s experience or awareness of cheap or illegal tobacco, including ‘duty frees’. The findings will be used to shape a campaign to support the reporting of illegal tobacco within communities.

You can take part in sharing your views through this survey. The survey is open to everyone, smokers, non-smokers, or families of smokers. It is completely anonymous, confidential and it only takes 10 minutes.

Information (Covid-19): 

More information can be found on the Islington Council websiteCoronavirus COVID 19 | Islington Council 

For information about Covid-19, vaccines and support services in other languages, the North Central London Integrated Care Board websiteCOVID-19 and Flu – North Central London Integrated Care System (

More information (Cost-of-living):

More information the cost-of-living campaign toolkit can be found on the Islington Council website – Campaign toolkit | Islington Council