13/08/2013

£3.6m To Tackle Alcohol Misuse

The Big Lottery Fund has announced a new multi-million funding package to tackle the problem of alcohol misuse across Northern Ireland.

£3,605,696 of grants from the Impact of Alcohol programme will be delivered to Northern Ireland by four organisations.

Addiction NI have been awarded £667,511 to work with employers to look at alcohol related issues in the workplace.

First Housing Aid and Support Services have been granted £939,200 to work with homeless people with alcohol problems.

ASCERT received £999,662 to look at Parental Alcohol Misuse, while Opportunity Youth have been awarded £999,323 to work with prisoners with alcohol problems who are about to be released.

Thelma Abernethy, Director of Addiction NI, said alcohol in the workplace is an issue that needs to be addressed.

"We will be partnering on this programme with Business in the Community, FASA and Social Research Centre to address the issues and help develop and shape alcohol support services within the workplace on an ongoing basis," she said.

"The project will support families and communities affected by alcohol, and ensure that employees and employers are aware of the issues around alcohol misuse and how and where to obtain support.
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"Research reveals that the impact of alcohol on a person’s mental and physical well being is an area not being addressed within the workplace. Alcohol misuse leads to employees coming into work in poor form, hung over, which can cause a reduction in productivity and increase risk of accidents in the work place."

One Belfast business with over 1,000 employees has welcomed the initiative.

Martin McCreight, General Manager for LBM, a contact centre based in west Belfast, says employers must work to address to various health challenges employees are facing.

"People struggle with issues such as finance, relationships, family problems and mental health issues – so we are working with our employees and local organisations to encourage an active lifestyle and signpost when people need support. We are happy to have an avenue now to openly discuss and signpost for those who need to talk about alcohol related problems through this project."

Joanne McDowell, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Director said: "Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of adults who exceed their recommended daily limit for alcohol than in the rest of the UK, and alcohol related deaths in Northern Ireland are higher for both men and women.

"So we are delighted that the grants we have announced today will deal with the issues caused by alcohol misuse in communities across Northern Ireland. We are building on existing experience and expertise in this area and offering funding to community and voluntary groups that work with people, families and communities affected by alcohol misuse."

(IT/CD)

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