Council backs Dry January campaign and asks – “What could you do during a hangover free weekend?”

Published Monday, 29th December 2014

Photo of patient being examined by a doctor in GP surgery

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is teaming up with local activity providers to encourage people to reclaim their weekends during January, as part of a national campaign run by Alcohol Concern.

The Public Health team is supporting the Dry January campaign which as well as raising funds for Alcohol Concern, gets people thinking about how much they drink, and alcohol’s effects on their health and wellbeing.

Ian Gilbert, Executive Councillor for community development, says:

“We have seen a marked drop in smoking over the years, because people understand just how dangerous it is. However, over-indulging in alcohol remains a popular pastime, despite alcohol posing a serious risk to health and safety.”

Health Improvement Practitioner for the Council’s Public Health team, Lee Watson says:

“We are not saying people need to quit alcohol for good, but, if you can manage to get through January without a drink, hopefully you’ll notice how much better you feel and might think about modifying how much you drink in the future. If people drink less, they often lose weight as alcoholic drinks are high in calories, and begin to get more active – usually because they’re less tired and have more energy. All of this greatly reduces risks of developing liver disease, certain cancers and heart disease.

Some alcohol facts:

  • Liver disease deaths have increased by 12% since 2005, totalling 46,244 lives lost. There are few warning signs that the liver is being damaged, but once liver disease has developed there is a 25-50% chance of immediate death.
  • Alcohol is the biggest cause of accidents in the home; resulting in around 4,000 deaths yearly. Also each year there are 2.6 million alcohol-related accidents that need A&E treatment.
  • There were 32,225 alcohol-related hospital attendances (to Southend hospital) in 2012/13. Locally, alcohol-related injury or illness costs the NHS almost £10 million per year.

Activities that will be taking place across the Borough include Zumba and swimming every Saturday from 3rd January. We’re also encouraging people to try out Parkrun – a free 5k run in Gunners Park, Shoebury. It’s suitable for all abilities; children and dogs are welcome too.

Activities are listed on There’s no charge for the activities, all that’s required is that your lack of hangover means you’re up and well on a Saturday morning. There will also be information available about fundraising for Alcohol Concern and about responsible drinking.