Ditch the booze, make a difference

Six national charities team up with Alcohol Concern for Dry January

Dry January, the annual movement run by the charity Alcohol Concern, will this year partner with six national charities working on issues related to alcohol harm. In 2017 over five million people went dry for January, giving up alcohol for 31 days to reset their relationship with alcohol. 

The charities are: 

  • Action for Children 
  • Breast Cancer Now 
  • British Liver Trust 
  • Crisis 
  • Hospice UK 
  • World Cancer Research Fund 

The charities are partnering with Dry January to fundraise, but also to raise awareness of the many issues connected with alcohol. 

  • Harmful drinking is a factor identified in almost 1 in 5 children in need of help or protection from social care in England 
  • Experts estimate that 6% of breast cancers in women are linked to regularly drinking alcohol 
  • The last 10 years have seen a 20% increase in the number of deaths from liver disease in the UK 
  • Two thirds of homeless people cite drug or alcohol use as a reason for first becoming homeless 
  • Each year, hospices provide care for more than 200,000 people living with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, MND, dementia and liver disease. Many of these are alcohol-related 
  • Alcohol is a cause of six types of cancer: breast, bowel, liver, mouth and throat, oesophagus and stomach. 

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Concern, said: 

“Dry January is about making people healthier and happier through resetting their relationship with alcohol. It’s a behaviour change campaign that works; over 2/3 of people who attempt a dry January make it the whole month without drinking, and 70% are still drinking less than they were before Dry January six months later. Plus people who try Dry January report benefits including better sleep, weight loss and money saved – what better way to start the new year?

“This Dry January we’ll still be talking about all the amazing benefits that come from ditching the booze, but also raising awareness about and funds for tackling alcohol harm, through working with our six brilliant official charities.”

Nick Jones, Managing Director of Fundraising, Communications and Policy for Action for Children said: 

“We’re really pleased to be partnering up with Dry January. The annual event is a fun, interactive way for people to improve their health and save money while supporting Action for Children and Alcohol Concern to tackle some of the harm that harmful drinking can cause to children and families.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: 

“We know that regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer, and unfortunately there is no ‘safe’ amount to drink. While you can’t change some things that affect your breast cancer risk, you can control how much alcohol you drink. Taking part in Dry January is a simple first step to making a positive health change for 2018. Why not encourage your friends and family to take part too and stay dry together? If you have concerns about how alcohol intake affects your breast cancer risk, speak to your GP.”

Judi Rhys, CEO of the British Liver Trust, said: 

“In the last 10 years we have seen a 20% increase in the number of deaths from liver disease, a major cause of which is drinking too much alcohol. Doing Dry January is a great way to begin to Love Your Liver. Dry January should be seen as the impetus to change your relationship with alcohol for ever; we recommend that you have two to three consecutive alcohol-free days every week.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: 

“With homelessness on the rise due to a shortage of affordable housing and changes to the welfare system, tackling it has never been more urgent. Dry January is a great way to raise vital funds to give people a route out of homelessness, and to support our work to end homelessness in this country once and for all.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: 

“Hospice care supports a healthy and balanced approach to mind and body, helping people with life-limiting conditions to live as well as they can and making every moment count. During Dry January we hope that our supporters will consider their own well-being and make healthy lifestyle choices, whilst raising vital funds for hospice care.”

Caroline Moye, Head of World Cancer Research Fund UK said: 

“We want to encourage more people to take part in Dry January to discover the incredible benefits of ditching the booze, and to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer risk. Our evidence shows that, for cancer prevention, it is best not to drink any alcohol. However, cutting down on the amount you drink can help to reduce your risk of several common cancers, including bowel and breast cancer."

People can choose to fundraise for or give what they save from not drinking to one of these charities when they sign up. Their chosen charity will get 80%, with 20% going to Alcohol Concern, who work to end alcohol harm. Drinking too much is the biggest cause of death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49. 

People who sign up to Dry January are more likely to make it through to the end of the month without drinking. They get access to support, tips and tricks, prize draws, and the Dry January & Beyond app, with features including a unit calculator, calorie counter and money-saved tracker. 

ENDS 

Dry January press contact: 

For more information or to arrange interviews about Dry January, please contact 

Maddy Lawson / 020 3907 8493. 

Charity press contacts: 

Action for Children – Beth McDonald / 07940 441 770 or 24-hour media desk on 07802 806 679 

Breast Cancer Now – Jo Matthews / 020 7714 2338 / 07436 107 914 

British Liver Trust – Vanessa Hebditch / 01425 600 208 

Crisis – Press Office / 020 7426 3880, Media Team / 07973 372587, Email / media@crisis.org.uk

Hospice UK – Hospice UK Communications & Campaigns Team on 07881 940 318 

World Cancer Research Fund – Deborah Hyde / 0207 343 4200 / 07989 483 022 

Notes to editors: 

Alcohol Concern recently merged with Alcohol Research UK to create a major independent national charity, working to end the harm caused by alcohol. Alcohol Concern is a trading name of Alcohol Research UK, Registered Charity No. 1140287, Company No. 7462605. 

Dry January began in 2014. In 2017 over five million people in the UK went dry for January, with over 60,000 signing up.

People can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk, or by downloading the Dry January & Beyond app via the App Store or Google Play.