Reducing harm caused by alcohol in NewcastleAlcohol Awareness Week 2011

    To launch Alcohol Awareness Week the Wellbeing and Health Partnerships Alcohol Board hosted an event on Monday 14 November at Northumbria University.

    This event provided an opportunity for 100 people from different organisations around the region who are involved in reducing alcohol related harm to:

    • Share learning
    • Celebrate success
    • Plan for the future

    A copy of the full program is available here.


    Upon arrival, participants had the opportunity to browse a display of posters which gave data about alcohol use in Newcastle.  The posters told a story about:

    These posters were also used to inform the afternoon workshop sessions.

    The market place

    Participants browsed ‘stalls’ at the Alcohol Event Marketplace for information about the varied range of activities carried out by partners to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

    Stalls were based on partner organisations and included:

    • Trading Standards, Newcastle City Council
    • Environmental Health, Newcastle City Council
    • Newcastle Street Pastors
    • PROPs
    • Newcastle IBA Strategy
    • The Cyrenians
    • Newcastle Alcohol Care and Treatment Service

    The speakers

    Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council

    The Summit was opened by Councillor Nick Forbes, the Leader of Newcastle City Council.  He outlined that whilst the majority of people in the city enjoyed a moderate drink from time to time, there were a significant minority – including some of our young people who were drinking excessively.

    He recognised the contribution that the night time economy bought to the city but also the significant cost of alcohol to the city in terms of costs of policing, to the NHS and the cost of clearing up the mess on the morning after the night before.   He also referred to the significant social costs of alcohol in terms of domestic violence and the impact on children of parental substance misuse.

    He referred to the work that the Council was doing to lobby government on the affordability of alcohol to encourage a national minimum price per unit and that North East Councils would be working together to try and develop north east approach.

    He concluded by welcoming Alcohol Awareness Week and supporting the campaign to lobby the government to protect children and young people from alcohol advertising.  The campaign advertisement See What Sam Sees was shown and participants were encouraged to support the campaign by signing the petition.

    Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, UK Alcohol Health Alliance and Former President of Royal College of Physicians – The national and global challenges of alcohol and how to use evidence to build policy

    Professor Sir Ian Gilmore’s presentation set the context for the event and Alcohol Awareness week.  He spoke about the changing pattern of the drinking culture of Britain in comparison with European and international patterns.   He referred to the high impact changes that were necessary to achieve a change at population level such as introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol and steps to address the advertising of alcohol, particularly to young people.  A copy of the presentation is available to participants.

    Reducing Alcohol related hospital admissions- Margaret Orange, Imelda O’Mahony and Lorraine Hussain

    This presentation described the establishment of the Newcastle Alcohol Care and Treatment Team and its impact on reducing alcohol related hospital admissions.  Real examples of how this had impacted on individuals lives were also provided.

    The Growing Recovery Community in Newcastle – Eileen Ronan, The Cyrenians

    The presentation outlined the work of The Cyrenians to help build a more visible recovery community in the City. An inspiring interview from Phil Valentine from the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery talking about Newcastle was shown, you can view the interview here.

    Newcastle Street Pastor Evaluation – Sue Taylor Balance and Sam Douthwaite Newcastle Street Pastors

    Newcastle Street Pastors is a scheme whereby volunteers work in the night time economy to support people who are vulnerable.  The scheme had been recently evaluated and the results were presented to delegates.

    The Newcastle Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) Strategy

    Margaret Orange and Sandra Davison explained the different strands of the Newcastle Identification and Brief Advice Strategy.

    The workshops

    In the afternoon there were themed workshop sessions based upon the themes of Safe, Sensible and Social, Newcastle’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy.  Each theme was provided with a table top poster outlining what work was already going on to support that theme.

    1. Licensing and Policy enforcement - working to ensure that people live, work and enjoy them selves safely free from the fear of experiencing alcohol related crime or anti social behaviour.Delegates talk about enforcement.






    2. Prevention - developing a preventative approach to alcohol misuse by improving the quality, consistency of information and education by targeting those most a risk of causing harm to themselves, their families and others through their drinking.Delegates get involved with the discussions.




     3. Treatment - working to ensure that people have excellent, appropriate alcohol treatment and care when needed and their families and carers have access to high quality help and support from dedicated services.Delegates talk about prevention.




    At the end of each workshop session, participants agreed under each theme: 

    1. What are the things we need to start doing?
    2. What are we currently doing that we can or should stop?
    3. What are we doing now that works and should continue?

    Copy of these conclusions are here.