Cheshire East Council is stepping up its work to protect families from the ill effects of alcohol.
The Council has appointed the Substance Abuse Service at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) as the lead provider of a new integrated drug and alcohol Service in the Borough, which will start on November 3, 2014.
The need to help families is underlined by new research released today by the alcohol campaign Drink Wise. It surveyed 1,020 adults in the North West this summer and found that one in five knew of a child who had been affected by the drinking of a family member, friend or stranger.
If the survey results are reflected in Cheshire East, it would mean that 14,000 children aged 16 or under have been harmed in some way, ranging from emotional and physical neglect or hurt, to missing school and medical appointments.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, cabinet member in charge of safeguarding children and adults, said: “Too many children are the unseen victims of our excessive alcohol culture. Children have been upset, anxious or physically hurt by someone else’s drinking, and their chances in life are being damaged.
“The impact of living in a home where alcohol abuse is an issue can last a lifetime. And the behaviour unfortunately can be self-perpetuating – children of alcoholics are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics themselves.
“That’s why we are changing our services to ensure that we help families to recognise and tackle the problem at a much earlier stage.”
Cheshire East and CWP are supporting a new Drink Wise campaign “Let’s Look Again at Alcohol”, which includes a film designed to get people to think about protecting young people from the ill effects of alcohol. The film can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/107850626 and more information about the campaign is at www.lookagainatalcohol.org.uk
Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, Cheshire East’s Director of Public Health, said: “The new service is designed with a greater focus on prevention and early help. It includes collaboration with Acorn Recovery Project, Intuitive Recovery, Catch22, Expanding Futures, and Emerging Horizons.
“New analysis shows that in the UK fifteen children a day are being admitted to hospital, some as young as eleven. Cheshire East’s own figures show that alcohol-specific admissions amongst under-18s in the Borough are significantly higher than the average for England.”
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s cabinet member for care and health in the community, said: “Doctors and nurses tell us they are incredibly worried about the amount of alcohol young people are drinking. This campaign aims to ask the public to look again at alcohol and ask what more we can do to protect children.”