The new charity – Alcohol Change UK – aims to improve knowledge, policies and regulation around alcohol, encourage a shift in drinking norms and behaviour, and offer improved support and treatment to anyone at risk of alcohol harm.
The merger comes at a time when alcohol-related health issues is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5bn per year in England alone, with 7,327 people in the UK dying as a direct result of their drinking in 2017, the equivalent of 20 people per day and an 11% increase since 2006.
Launching Alcohol Change UK to kick off Alcohol Awareness Week – 19 and 25 November 2018 – the charity’s chair of trustees Professor Alan Maryon-Davis commented: “This is a truly exciting time to be launching our new merged charity.
“There is growing recognition that society’s relationship with alcohol needs to change and that more and better support is needed for people whose lives are blighted by drink.
“Research is key – we need to understand more about the complexities that link drinking and harm. So too is advocacy for evidence-based policy and effective practice.
“And, as ever, increased public awareness and healthier behaviours are fundamental.
“All these elements need to work in synergy rather than piecemeal.
“As trustees of Alcohol Change UK, we are determined to ensure our new strategy works towards co-ordinated change right across this spectrum.
“It’s quite an ambitious programme, but one we strongly believe is achievable and will help make a tangible difference to people’s lives throughout the UK.”
Broader and deeper engagement
Alcohol Change UK chief executive Dr Richard Piper commented: “Our new strategy being launched today draws on the strengths and histories of our two predecessor organisations and an extensive consultation process involving hundreds of stakeholders, who generously shared their ideas to help shape our direction.
“This has resulted in an action-focused strategy designed to drive lasting change.
“Alcohol Change UK is committed to significantly reducing serious alcohol harm in the UK and to improving people’s lives.
“We are particularly excited about deepening and broadening our engagement with people right across the UK who have been affected by alcohol harm or who want to play their part in ending it, whether as volunteers, donors and fundraisers, activists or collaborators in our work to generate new knowledge and insight.
“Too often, we in the UK remain blind to the sheer scale of serious alcohol harm taking place across our communities.
“This harm is massive, but it is not inevitable and it’s not acceptable.
“Alcohol Change UK’s name, identity and deeply held values reflect this fundamental belief, and we are excited to be sharing them today, at the start of Alcohol Awareness Week.”