The theme for Alcohol Awareness Week (AAW) 2010 is 'Alcohol and Childhood' in which we ask the question 'is alcohol damaging childhood?
This theme encompasses the issue of alcohol use by young people, the impact on young people of parental drinking, and the influence of alcohol marketing on young people. The annual week of action provides an opportunity to raise awareness of all alcohol misuse issues and to highlight gaps in alcohol policy as well as to promote the work of alcohol treatment service providers across England and Wales.
During the week, Alcohol Concern is focusing lobbying activities around the three key issues with specific campaign asks and policy recommendations for each. New reports relating to each of these issues will be released during Alcohol Awareness Week.
The main campaign asks for local and national decision-makers during the week are:
- To minimise harms - whenever a young person attends A&E due to drinking - or has contact with other emergency services - there should always be access to support, advice and referral to specialist alcohol services.
- To reduce the risk to children - all social workers and teachers should be fully trained to understand issues of alcohol, substance misuse and domestic violence and how to support children and families affected by it.
- To protect children from alcohol marketing - greater restrictions should be introduced for all alcohol marketing on TV, radio, in cinemas, on billboards and on the internet.
The UK has experienced a dramatic cultural shift in recent decades as alcohol has become increasingly more affordable and more widely available. Consumption has nearly doubled since the 1950s and the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK has increased consistently since the early 1990s. In 2009, more than 945,000 people were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related harms, this figure does not include people attending A&E for alcohol-related issues who are not admitted to hospital.
Today’s generation of children are increasingly replicating worrying patterns of drinking among their older peers and adults, leading to disastrous health and social consequences for them and their families. It is clear that, without effective prevention and intervention, this harmful behaviour will continue to normalise problem drinking and continue to advance pro-drinking cultural attitudes among children and young people.
Supporter action – what you can do
Alcohol affects every community and constituency in the country and your actions can have a national impact:
- Endorse our campaign . Use this simple online tool to support or comment on our three campaign asks and circulate the link to your contacts. (this link will be available from Monday 18 October 2010).
- Call for action to your MP . Contact your MP and urge them to support the Alcohol Awareness Week campaign, inform them of your concerns about alcohol misuse in your area and, if you are an alcohol service provider, invite them to visit and see the work you do. Download a letter template to complete with information relevant to your region .
Alcohol Concern has produced a Constituency Alcohol Bulletin for all MPs in England and Wales providing them with alcohol statistics relevant to their constituency. Urge your MP to respond to this data and support our campaign to protect children and young people from the harm caused by alcohol misuse, and to promote healthier attitudes towards alcohol in the UK.
Find your MP : If you are unsure who your MP is, find their name and contact details by entering your postcode in this handy online tool .
Find your AM (for Wales): If you are unsure who your Assembly Member is, find their name and contact details by entering your postcode in this handy online tool .
Please visit the Alcohol Concern Cymru Alcohol Awareness Week 2010 page for information and a letter template for Members of the National Assembly for Wales.
- Service open days . Alcohol services are invited to hold an open day on Friday 22 October (or whenever suits), to invite local MPs to see the work they do.
- Fundraising or awareness-raising . If you are doing something special to mark Alcohol Awareness Week, alert local media to your activities. Download a press release template to complete with information relating to your event or activity and send to local media. (Link to follow)
We would also be interested to hear about your AAW activities. Please send pictures and information on what you have been doing. We may be able to feature some of your stories in our magazine, Straight Talk.
- Get a child’s eye view of alcohol . Are you aware of how much alcohol advertising children are exposed to in their daily lives? Use this exercise to notice the levels of alcohol advertising in environments readily accessed by children. Download alcohol advertising monitoring forms to note down with your child, or the young people you work with, what types of advertising young people are being exposed to in your area.
Visit the alcohol and marketing page to learn more about this issue.
Monday 18 October - launch of parental alcohol misuse report
Tuesday 19 October - launch of alcohol marketing report
Saturday 23 October - launch of youth drinking/IBA report
Campaign themes for the week
For more information on the three key issues please use the links below to visit the Alcohol Awareness Week website pages:
- Alcohol Concern booklets are currently selling at £1.00 each (for 20 or more copies) and our factsheets can be downloaded for free.
- The Alcohol Learning Centre provides a helpful list of items available from the DH order line ; alternatively visit the DH order line website (and use alcohol as the keyword search in the right-hand box).
- Drinkaware has materials such as unit wheels, factsheets and posters.
This will take place during the week beginning 4 October. For more information, visit the Alcohol Awareness Week website for Scotland .
Find out about our other campaign work .