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Campaigners’ praise for booze-free month

GOOD WORK ... Maria Melia, occupational health nurse advisor, Bill Alcock, workplace health promotion officer, both for South Tyneside Council, Sue Taylor, of Balance, Coun Tracey Dixon and Amanda Healy, director of public health for South Tyneside at the launch of Dry January.

GOOD WORK ... Maria Melia, occupational health nurse advisor, Bill Alcock, workplace health promotion officer, both for South Tyneside Council, Sue Taylor, of Balance, Coun Tracey Dixon and Amanda Healy, director of public health for South Tyneside at the launch of Dry January.

HEALTH-conscious people in South Tyneside have been praised for staying ‘dry’ in January.

More than 200 people in the borough took part in Alcohol Concern’s Dry January event, which was supported by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.

For the full 31 days of the month, they all gave up booze – with many using the event as a way of raising cash for charity.

Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “It’s great news that lots of people from our borough took part in the Dry January challenge.

“I’m sure they’ll have been amazed at just how much better they felt for not having a drink of alcohol for a month.

“We are working closely with partners in South Tyneside to reduce alcohol consumption among adults and young people, and educating them about the effects alcohol can have on their health and behaviour.”

In the North East, 17,300 people took part in the challenge, which is in its second year.

Early signs show that many participants feel better and highly positive about their experience with plans to drink less going forward.

This indicates that taking a month off the wagon could be one way of changing long-term drinking habits among the population.

A formal evaluation will now be undertaken independently by the University of Sussex to follow up with participants throughout the year to see if they have been able to cut down following January.  

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “It’s great to see the region topping the tables for alcohol for the right reasons. This was a national campaign, but 28 per cent of participants were from the North East.

“Dry January has been a great way to get people really talking about alcohol and to consider their alcohol intake.

“It’s been extremely successful throughout January and as people have seen the real benefits of cutting down, this will hopefully lead to more long-term behaviour changes.”

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez

 

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