Taking the initiative to reduce the impact of alcohol

Alcohol Misuse affects us all and has a major impact on individuals, families and people across Northern Ireland. At a the Sharing the Learning event, hosted by the Northern Health & Social Care Trust and a group of voluntary sector organisations, the audience heard of the work done by organisations who came together in partnership to deliver projects aimed at reducing the impact of alcohol misuse across the Northern Trust area.

Believe in Youth had delivered outreach to 943 young people, prevention to 4662 and promoted alcohol awareness to some 5000 people. Relationships & Alcohol Misuse delivered 1690 counselling sessions to 199 families with 82% of clients reporting that their well-being had improved after counselling with Relate. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind received 362 referrals for their services. 55+ provided counselling to 221 people, family support/resilience to 204 families along with 2933 people attending alcohol awareness sessions.

The projects have been supported by an investment of more than £1.9 million from the Big Lottery Fund ‘s Impact of Alcohol programme. The programme supports Health and Social Care Trusts and Voluntary and Community Sector organisations across Northern Ireland to tackle a range of issues resulting from alcohol misuse.

Jerome Grace, Funding Officer, Big Lottery Fund, said he was delighted to participate in the event and hear about the major impact the investment of funding had made: “By working with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust we are building on existing expertise in this area and using this funding to respond to the range of issues affecting people, families and the wider community that have resulted from alcohol misuse.”

“It is great to hear the how the collaboration between the Trust and the community and voluntary sector organisations has delivered a range of services which has led to a reduction in the impact of alcohol for many people and through Alcohol Community Champions will continue to deliver change in the lives of people.”

Following a series of consultation events the Northern Trust developed four interlinked projects which, following a successful application process, became known as Believe in Youth, Relationships & Alcohol Misuse, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, and 55+. Recognising that no one organisation can deal with all the issues facing individuals, families and communities the Trust and the successful partner organisations agreed to work in partnership.

The Northern Trust Chairman, Bob McCann, noted: “The event was an opportunity to hear about the impact of the work of the projects reflecting that working together can be challenging however, where it results in the delivery of better services and improved outcomes for our populations then we need to continue to develop our understanding of how to work better together.”

14th December 2016

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