Ditch the drink and start the new year in healthy style

Carole Johnson Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council, Neil Martin, Balance, and Sharon Robson, Health Improvement Practitioner at Hartlepool Borough Council, at the launch of Dry January in Hartlepool.
Carole Johnson Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council, Neil Martin, Balance, and Sharon Robson, Health Improvement Practitioner at Hartlepool Borough Council, at the launch of Dry January in Hartlepool.

Campaigners are urging the people of Hartlepool to start the new year in a truly healthy way.

Balance, the North East Alcohol office, has joined forces with Hartlepool Borough Council to challenge people to start the New Year by ditching the booze for 31 days.

Carole Johnson Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council, Neil Martin, Balance, and Sharon Robson, Health Improvement Practitioner at Hartlepool Borough Council, at the launch of Dry January in Hartlepool.

Carole Johnson Head of Health Improvement at Hartlepool Borough Council, Neil Martin, Balance, and Sharon Robson, Health Improvement Practitioner at Hartlepool Borough Council, at the launch of Dry January in Hartlepool.

Alcohol Concern’s Dry January, now in its fifth year, asks people to put the excesses of the festive period behind them and start 2017 with a fresh, healthy approach.

Balance is promoting alcohol-free activities and attractions across the North East that people can enjoy during a hangover free January, including The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.

Anyone accepting the Dry January challenge can also look forward to starting the year with better sleeping patterns, better skin, more energy, a smaller waistline and more money.

For the last three years, the North East has led the way on Dry January sign ups.

At a time when we’ve all overdone it a bit at Christmas and we’re looking to start a fresh in the New Year, Dry January is the perfect way to take some time out from alcohol and feel better all round

Sue Taylor

More people have taken up the challenge, compared to any other region in the country. Around two million people nationally attempted the challenge last year, with around 70,000 of these coming from the North East.

Balance is now calling on Hartlepool to accept next year’s challenge, and help put the North East at the top of the table again for 2017.

Sue Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “At a time when we’ve all overdone it a bit at Christmas and we’re looking to start a fresh in the New Year, Dry January is the perfect way to take some time out from alcohol and feel better all round. “Alcohol can make us more tired, anxious and less energised. Drinking above the recommended guidelines also puts us at more risk from around 60 different medical conditions, including at least seven different types of cancer.

“Whatever your motivation for taking part, a break from alcohol for even just one month can have positive effects on our health, and, for many people, joining in Dry January encourages them to reassess their drinking habits and make positive long-term changes.

“As this years’ campaign shows, Dry January is also a great opportunity to get out and about with your friends and family, and see all the fantastic places the wider region has to offer. We’ll be providing people with lots of tips and ideas in the run up and throughout January and we want to hear your own ideas for great ways to spend a hangover free month.”

This year’s campaign is again supported by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Louise Wallace, Director of Public Health at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We all enjoy a celebration but people can get carried away and drink too much over Christmas and into the New Year, and that does harm their health.

“By taking a rest from alcohol throughout January, people will start to feel a benefit to their health. They’ll be able to get a clearer perspective on the amount of alcohol they have been consuming and we hope they will adjust their drinking habits accordingly.”

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council and chair of the town’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “A month off alcohol can make a real difference – just some of the benefits people have experienced are weight loss, more energy and clearer skin.

“The stats also show that most people drink less alcohol even after the month of January is over.”

To sign up to Dry January, find out more about the campaign and to access a wealth of support and advice, visit the Dry January website at www.dryjanuary.org.uk.

For more information about Balance, visit www.balancenortheast.co.uk