About The Bladder & Bowel Community
Welcome to the Bladder & Bowel Community. Our aim is to break the taboo of living with a bladder or bowel dysfunction, diversion or condition, raise awareness and most importantly, help people.
We support the millions of people in the UK who are living with conditions that affect their bladder or bowel. Whether you have a condition yourself or are caring for a friend or family member, it is our mission to provide the information, support and wider services you need.
This community exists for the benefit of all who need it, whether you’re looking for information about a particular condition, the treatment options available or simply want to chat with others who have shared a similar experience to you.
Meet our team
The Bladder & Bowel Community is run by a small and passionate team of people, whose sole purpose is to support people in the UK living with bladder and/or bowel conditions however possible, and help them access services to make their lives better.
Dr Adrian Fawcett, BSc (Hons), MBA – Chairman
With an extensive and varied career in Healthcare, Adrian Facett heads up the community as Chairman, having previously held the position of Chief Executive of BMI Healthcare and served as a Non-Executive Director on the board of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). He received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham.
BMI Healthcare had over 70 hospitals with over 7,000 consultant surgeons, and provided care for hundreds of thousands of patients. We experienced that it is often the the most common health issues that can be most emotionally challenging and disabling. The things that we don’t talk about that are not easily observed, like bladder and bowel complications are often endured by ‘silent sufferers’.
Adrian understands the challenges faced by so many, and is passionate about breaking down the preconceptions and opening up the conversation to these areas.
Jo Umbers – Managing Director & Commercial Lead
Jo has a corporate background leading teams, and evaluating consumer data for investors and companies. She became interested in the bladder and bowel forum during the time her father was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and the family were searching for relevant and helpful information online.
The ability to help a community of people that relate to each other’s experiences is so powerful. Without judgement, they are all trying to connect and understand their symptoms. This is still our driving goal as an organisation. We endeavour to expand our reach, by broadening our offerings and partnering with key organisations that share our values. We want to give access to information that is relevant to our community, be approachable and wherever possible paperless and free.
Kirstie Jones (ACIM CMktr) – Head of Communications
Kirstie heads up our marketing and communications to manage our online presence and ensure our community’s needs are met via the marketing function. She is passionate about healthy living and a keen outdoor swimmer. She spent her early career working for healthcare charities in hospice care and supporting learning disabilities, and keeps people and their needs at the heart of her work.
Now a Chartered Marketer, she helps us at the Bladder & Bowel Community to continue our vital work to empower people’s access to healthcare and reduce the stigma associated with living with a bladder or bowel condition.
Gemma Savory – Community Marketing Manager
Gemma has 15 years of marketing experience and 6 years at Bladder and Bowel. Gemma looks after our social communities. Critically ,she ensures we hear the voices of the people we serve. Many of our articles are true life experiences from within this community.
Gemma was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer in 2014, which returned as Stage 4 in 2017. After years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, major surgeries including a colostomy, she is currently ‘No Evidence of Disease’. Gemma is also a dialysis patient and understands the complexities of living with several chronic illnesses.
Wanting to break the stigma around these conditions, Gemma strives to provide a space where patients can talk freely and without judgement. “When I was first diagnosed, I got so much support from people online. I want everyone to experience that support and I feel Bladder and Bowel Community can achieve that.”
Penny Burridge – Community Support Manager
Penny is at the core of our support function for our Community. She leads the closed Facebook Group of over 20,000 members, manages our busy email support function and our outreach support programmes.
She has a background of working in healthcare and customer service. She also has first-hand experience of living with chronic health conditions, as well as being a busy Mum of three young children. Penny is always striving to help and support members of our Community as and when they need it.
Julie Fletcher – Finance and Operations
Julie ensures our finances are balanced and our operations are cost effective and nimble to ensure we can push our services as far as possible. She oversees our biggest service offering, the Just Can’t Wait Toilet Card, having issued over 200,000 cards to date.
Julie’s background is in IT and finance, as a financial controller for a global IT service provider. She now works across a number of functions supporting smaller businesses and enterprises.