Darnhill community in Rochdale is set to take charge of alcohol misuse as part of a pioneering programme aimed at reducing excessive drinking in Greater Manchester.

The ‘Communities in Charge of Alcohol’ programme has been launched following statistics from Public Health England (PHE) showing that residents from across the region are consuming more alcohol than the national average; putting themselves in danger and emergency services under pressure.

Darnhill has been chosen to take part in the programme, as the borough of Rochdale’s pilot research site, to find out whether peer-on-peer interventions and support can help reduce excessive drinking within communities.

The scheme will see volunteers from the community having brief conversations with their families, friends, neighbours and colleagues to help them rethink their drinking habits and tackle the harm caused by alcohol misuse. They will also be involved in licensing decisions within their community and help to recruit other volunteers to share these vital messages.’

Training and day-to-day support will be provided for the volunteers by Rochdale Borough Council, in partnership with Living Well Rochdale.

Councillor Jacqueline Beswick, the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We know that drinking alcohol excessively can not only have devastating effects on a person’s health and wellbeing but it can also put a strain on those around them and local services; so I am very pleased to see one of our communities being given this opportunity to take control of it.

“This scheme is a fantastic opportunity for residents to really make a difference to the lives of people living in their local community and protect them from the harms of alcohol. You don’t need any qualifications just the desire and commitment to help others, so if this is you I urge you to get in touch and get involved.”

The ‘Communities in Charge of Alcohol’ programme is a Greater Manchester wide initiative, with pilot sites in each of the ten localities. It is hoped that the scheme will successfully reduce the rates of excessive drinking in these pilot areas and be rolled out across the region.

Beverley Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, has backed the initiative saying: “Alcohol related crime is putting avoidable pressure on an already overstretched police and health services. The effect of binge drinking on antisocial behaviour is widely known, but excessive alcohol consumption also leads to an increase in more serious crimes that are being committed across Greater Manchester.

“It is important not only for community safety but also for health and wellbeing of our residents that we encourage people to cut down on the amount of alcohol they drink. Many people in Greater Manchester are unaware of the effect alcohol is having on their health. Our Alcohol Champions will be figures of trust in the community who will support people as they think about and change their drinking habits.”

For more information about the programme or to get involved contact Living well Rochdale on 01706 751190.


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