Christmas campaign to reduce drinking over the festive period begins in Wandsworth


People drink 41% more in December than any other month.


By Lee Astley

Alcohol abuse sufferers in Wandsworth can get help this Christmas thanks to work from their council and services in the borough.

The council is setting up alcohol-free zones in Tooting, Putney and Roehampton as well as providing outreach officers to these areas to offer help and support.

Battersea Alcohol Services, an abstinence based organisation who specialise in twelve-day programmes for those with alcohol abuse issues, are backing the idea.

A spokesman said: “It’s good that there’s information out there on dry areas in Wandsworth where people can go and enjoy themselves with no alcohol involved.

“Christmas is closely linked with family and usually a lot of drinking comes from childhood and family issues, particularly bereavement, which is always very relevant at that time of the year.”

The service said that the best place to seek help over the festive period is Alcoholics Anonymous who even have a meeting on Christmas Day, as well as an all-day continuous meeting in Chelsea.

With people drinking 41% more nationally in December, Wandsworth Council are using their Alcohol Alliance to help residents.

Health spokesman Cllr Jim Maddan said: “Through this Christmas campaign and the ongoing work of the Alcohol Alliance we want to help people overcome addiction to alcohol.

“We want to work with communities and alcohol retailers to make our neighbourhoods even safer. We hope local people will rise to the challenge with us.”

Wandsworth alone has over 980 licensed premises including Adventure Bars, who have sites in Battersea and Clapham High Street.

It is easy to point the finger at these licensed premises but Thomas Kidd, Managing Director at Adventure Bars, says that although they tend not to get invited or involved in the scheme they would be happy to help.

He said: “It is a complex and wider problem to solve. For example you have supermarkets selling cheap booze.

“There should definitely be a dialogue with licensed premises. It is not easy to solve a problem if you don’t hear about it.

“We have alcohol awareness training and a policy on not serving people who are drunk and disorderly. We follow what councils would outline as best practise.”

Alcoholics Anonymous is open over Christmas and New Year. The London helpline, 0207 833 0022, is answered by volunteers throughout the day from 10am-10pm.

 Photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds, with thanks.

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