AN awareness-raising campaign is turning the spotlight on the harm caused by problem drinking in Leicester.
Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from July 3 to 9, is focusing this year on the cost of alcohol in terms of health problems, financial worries, relationship issues and its burden on the NHS and emergency services.
A series of events is taking place throughout the week, to help people understand their drinking, make better choices and also to know where to find help and support.
In Leicester, hospital admissions and alcohol-related deaths are higher than the national average, despite an estimated half of the population not drinking alcohol.
The Centre Project, a charity supporting vulnerable people in the community, will be hosting an afternoon of activities and information around alcohol and wellbeing at its premises in Granby Street, Leicester city centre, on Tuesday, July 4, from 1pm to 4pm.
On Wednesday, July 5, and Thursday, July 6, the Haymarket Shopping Centre will be hosting a pop-up advice session by national alcohol charity Drinkaware and Leicester’s Turning Point, which helps people with alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues.
The campaign is part of ongoing partnership work in the city to reduce harm from alcohol under the Leicester Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy, involving the city council working alongside the NHS, police, community safety, housing, schools and universities, and alcohol treatment providers.
It sets out the actions needed to tackle problem drinking by promoting a safe, responsible drinking culture.
Leicester deputy city mayor responsible for social care, health and community safety, Cllr Sarah Russell, said: “The cost of alcohol misuse is huge, and can include a whole range of negative outcomes ranging from poor physical and mental health, to injuries and accidents and ultimately a higher than average level of alcohol-related deaths in the city.
“Our work as part of the Leicester Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy looks at all those different aspects, to see where effective steps can be taken to help people make better choices, signpost them to help and ensure that relevant support is accessible to people who need it.”
Public Health Registrar in Leicester, Dr Robyn Fletcher, is one of those involved in Alcohol Awareness Week.
She added: “We hope this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week will provide an opportunity for people living in Leicester to take some time to think about their own drinking and the drinking of those around them.
“It is also an opportunity to highlight the local services available and to encourage people to access the support they need.”
The Leicester City Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy 2022-2027 was launched in October 2022. By working in partnership with the police, public health, universities and the alcohol trade, the council wants to promote responsible selling of alcohol, improve health and wellbeing through appropriate treatment, as well as protecting children, young people and families from alcohol-related harm, and reducing alcohol-related crime, antisocial behaviour and domestic abuse.
The strategy was launched at an event in City Hall, opened by City Mayor Peter Soulsby, the then assistant city mayor for health and wellbeing Cllr Vi Dempster, and with an address by Leicester South MP and former shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth – a vocal supporter of work to tackle the misery and damage alcohol can cause to families.
Further information and support about alcohol, smoking and weight loss is available at the city council’s website here.
Details of Leicester Turning Point are available at their website here.
Information on Centre Project can be found on their website here.