UK: Drinkaware charity to get £15m from drinks industry

14 December, 2009

The Drinkaware charity is to receive a further £15 million (£5 million a year for three years) from the UK drinks industry.

The funding, coupled with an updated Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Health, the alcohol industry and The Drinkaware Trust, will make it possible for Drinkaware to step up its activities as well as continuing to provide education for consumers.

The additional funds will be used to amplify current campaigns targeting adults, young adults and under-18s, build its digital presence, and develop more compelling education and information programmes.

Fifty alcohol-related companies including leading producers, pub operators, supermarkets and off-licence companies have committed more than £5 million per year for the next three years to support Drinkaware.

Derek Lewis, chairman of Drinkaware, said: “We’re extremely happy to receive broad support from across the drinks industry. The funding from retailers, trade bodies and producers will make it possible for Drinkaware to continue talking to under-18s, young adults and adults about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

“Changing the UK drinking culture won’t happen overnight and we’ve all got a part to play. It’s imperative that the drinks industry, medical and public health community, charities and central and local Government all work together to protect consumers from alcohol related harm.

“With alcohol misuse costing the NHS around £2.7 billion each year, it is essential that consumers are able to make informed decisions about their consumption. Education plays a key role in changing behaviour – and Drinkaware, as a provider of independent medically-validated and accessible information, is in a great position to help effect this change.”

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health, said: "With 10 million people drinking more than is good for them, and putting themselves at risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, there’s no doubt that we still have work to do.

“Government action to tackle alcohol can only succeed if the industry step up to the mark and play their part in changing attitudes and helping people drink responsibly. I am committed to taking decisive yet proportionate steps, at every opportunity, to make it easier for people to drink within the recommended limits.

“Drinkaware have made good progress so far, and it’s encouraging that they can continue with more stable funding.”

Welcoming the announcement about industry funding for the Drinkaware Trust, WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said:

"This funding underlines the commitment of the drinks industry as a whole, producers and retailers, to encourage people in the UK to drink responsibly.

"The WSTA has been working with members to secure this financial commitment to Drinkaware and we welcome support for its work to change cultural attitudes to alcohol in this country."





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