Swanswell http://www.swanswell.org/ This is the feed of the latest news from Swanswell. <![CDATA[The Cranstoun Group awarded grant by Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation]]> We’re delighted to announce the Cranstoun Group has been issued a grant award of £2,500 by Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation.

The £2,500 donation will support ‘Entry into Employment Loans’ for our Swanswell West Berkshire service, whereby service users can apply and get financial and administrative support to obtain essential items needed to access employment. Essentials that can be accessed include entry-level course fees, clothing, equipment, trade tools and access to health and safety certificates. The funding will provide an immediate solution to support an immediate need and will help to support approximately 25 service users.

Clare Maryan, our Director of Development said of the donation: “We are thrilled to be awarded this grant. Service users can be prevented from taking their first step towards employment if they are unable to obtain simple, everyday items, which can be mandatory to enter the workplace. This donation will enable our service users to achieve their employment goals.”

Genevieve Glover, Chair of Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation said: “We are pleased to be supporting Cranstoun. Not only does the charity work with individuals in structured treatment programmes to support people to achieve their substance recovery goals but also provides them with support and funding to get themselves back into employment, increasing their chances of abstinence.”

For more information on the Wasps Legends Charitable Foundation, please visit www.waspslegends.co.uk.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/the-cranstoun-group-awarded-grant-by-wasps-legends-charitable-foundation.aspx Fri, 31 Aug 2018 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell Kidderminster supporting Mental Health Awareness Week]]> Swanswell Kidderminster will be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week on Thursday 17 May by hosting a pop-up shop in the Swan Centre, Kidderminster and an open morning at Kidderminster Swanswell, 109-111 Coventry Street, Kidderminster, DY10 2BH, from 10am-12pm.

Workers will be on hand to discuss the service and its provision, and some of the implications for mental health and wellbeing.

Call 0300 303 8200 if you need further details.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-Kidderminster-supporting-Mental-Health-Awareness-Week.aspx Sat, 12 May 2018 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers support over May bank holiday]]> Swanswell’s West Berkshire and Worcestershire services will be offering a telephone support service on Monday 7 May to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Please see our bank holiday service contact page for details of how to get in touch.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-support-over-May-bank-holiday.aspx Thu, 03 May 2018 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell's Recovery Bike Ride 2017]]> Swanswell service users, team members, volunteers and partners rose to the challenge at the weekend and completed Swanswell’s West Berkshire Recovery Bike Ride 2017.

The national recovery charity that helps people change and be happy believes in a society free from problem alcohol and drug use and provides local support to those who are affected by drugs and alcohol in the West Berkshire community.

The cyclists began their journey at 10.30am on Sunday 10 September from three starting points; Hungerford, Pangbourne and Theale. 18 people completed the three cycle routes meeting at Shaw House, Newbury in time for a celebration BBQ, raffle, face painting and alternative therapies.

James Bull, Peer Mentor and Volunteer Coordinator, who organised the charity bike ride said: I’m really pleased with the success of Swanswell’s West Berkshire Recovery Bike Ride 2017. It was a tough bike ride, but very rewarding. We’d like to thank Louise Thornton, James McCafferty, The Watermill Theatre, The Community Furniture Project and all the service users, team members, volunteers, family and friends that attended.’

Swanswell’s West Berkshire Recovery Bike Ride 2017 has raised over £750, which will go towards supporting Swanswell’s service users on their journey towards recovery.

The fundraising page is still available for you to donate at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swanswell7

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-Recovery-Bike-Ride-2017.aspx Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Changes to Swanswell's substance misuse service in Evesham]]>  Swanswell’s Evesham locality office at 23 Vine Street, Evesham is now closed. Swanswell is still providing a substance misuse service in Evesham from a variety of community venues, which will improve access for all service users.

Needle exchange services will still be provided by the following local community pharmacies:

  • Boots: 19 - 21 Bridge Street, WR11 4SQ

  • Boots: 2 Evesham Retail Park, Worcester Road, WR11 4AB

  • Vale Pharmacy: Evesham Medical Centre, WR11 4BS

  • Stewarts Pharmacy: 75 - 77 Port Street, WR11 3LF

  • Stewarts Pharmacy: 53 Waterside, WR11 1JZ

Apart from local GP surgeries, the main location being used for appointments is Wallace House Community Centre, Oat Street, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 4PJ.

This is by appointment only.

Swanswell also offers drop-in clinics across the county at our other locality offices.

Kidderminster

Tuesday 2-4pm

Wednesday 10am -12pm

Friday 2-4pm

Worcester

Monday 9-11am

Wednesday 2-4pm

Friday 2-4pm

Redditch

Monday 2-4pm

Thursday 10am-12pm

Friday 2-4pm

 

To find out more, or to make an appointment, please call 0300 303 8200.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Changes-to-Swanswells-substance-misuse-service-in-Evesham.aspx Fri, 07 Jul 2017 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Cranstoun and Swanswell merger]]> Cranstoun and Swanswell, two national charities providing support to people affected by addiction and other life challenges, are joining forces. The charities’ shared vision to save, change and rebuild lives makes this an exciting partnership for the future.

The ever-changing and increasingly demanding political and economic environment, together with the growing and more complex needs of service users, have created a challenging environment for service providers. This merger between Cranstoun and Swanswell and the consolidation of operations is in the best interests of service users; it will strengthen sustainability, maintain support for existing contracts and in turn, place the merged organisation on a stronger footing to secure new business and pursue growth and development for the future, in order to better deliver high-quality services to individuals and communities.

The charities already successfully work in partnership on a number of projects, and the merger will enable them to further combine their respective experience and knowledge to expand their services and achieve better outcomes for service users and the wider communities within which they operate.

The merger was completed on 16 December 2016, with Cranstoun taking over control and management of Swanswell as a wholly-owned subsidiary. This process will ensure service users and commissioners continue to get the service they expect. Staff will continue to provide ongoing support to service users and work closely with commissioners and other partners for the benefit of service users and their communities.

Steve Rossell, Chief Executive of Cranstoun, said:

'This exciting partnership of two leading national charities offers a greater opportunity for service users to continue to receive innovative and high-quality support to address the increasingly complex challenges they face. The two organisations bring together a wealth of expertise, and Cranstoun and Swanswell together will offer a broader range of service provision, over a wider constituency, that can better respond to the needs of communities and the commissioning authorities we work with.'

Shân Nicholas, Interim Chief Executive of Swanswell, said:

'The two charities are an excellent fit in terms of their positive vision, mission, values and their shared ambition to save lives by tackling alcohol and drug addiction. We’re really excited about this partnership.'

 

Notes for editors

Cranstoun employs over 300 staff, directly and in partnership, with a current turnover of approximately £18 million per annum and delivers services to over 8,000 service users per year.

Swanswell employs over 300 staff, with an income of over £11 million in 2015/2016, delivering drug and alcohol treatment and support services to over 9,000 service users per year.

Cranstoun contact:

Steve Rossell

Cranstoun

Thames Mews, Portsmouth Road

Esher

Surrey KT10 9AD

 

 

Tel: 020 8335 1830

Email: srossell@cranstoun.org.uk

 

Swanswell contact:

Annie Steele

Swanswell

Suite 5, Hilton House

Corporation Street

Rugby

Warwickshire CV21 2DN

 

Tel: 07527 386 303

Email: anne.steele@swanswell.org

 

About Cranstoun

Cranstoun has been making life better for those affected by alcohol and drugs and other life challenges since 1969.

Our skilled and compassionate people work closely with services users and their families to change and save lives. We combine proven expertise in treatment and recovery with innovative approaches and actively involve those we help in improving the design of the services we provide.

Visit Cranstoun’s website at www.cranstoun.org or follow Cranstoun on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Cranstoun_org.

 

About Swanswell

At Swanswell, we believe in a society free from problem alcohol and drug use; that everyone deserves the chance to change and be happy. We’re a charity with an exciting programme of innovative new service developments and a team of committed people who are working hard to achieve our ambitions.

 

Visit Swanswell at Shan Nicholas joins Swanswell, the national drug and alcohol charity, in the role of Interim Chief Executive on Tuesday 9 August 2016.

Shan has wide-ranging leadership experience in the charitable sector, having previously provided transitional leadership at eight high-profile charities including the British Refugee Council and the Child Poverty Action Group.

Shan is passionately committed to tackling multiple disadvantage and social exclusion. She is looking forward to deploying her extensive skill set in support of Swanswell’s mission to secure a society free from problem drug and alcohol use.

Swanswell’s Chair, Alice Maynard CBE said: ‘Shan was the clear choice in our search for interim leadership at Swanswell. The need to help people to think clearly about drug and alcohol use remains a pressing challenge for society and Shan has the leadership capabilities to help Swanswell meet the needs of its service users in the months ahead.’

Shan Nicholas said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed Interim Chief Executive and am looking forward to the challenge, working with the Swanswell team to lead the organisation through this next period.’

In recent years, Swanswell has developed a compelling corporate plan driven by a vision of a society free from problem drug and alcohol use. The charity supports thousands of service users and their families on their journey to recovery.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Interim-Chief-Executive-joins-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Debbie Bannigan to step down as Swanswell's Chief Executive]]> Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of the national drug and alcohol charity, Swanswell, is to step down to pursue new interests after almost 9 years in the role.

Under Bannigan’s leadership, Swanswell developed a compelling corporate plan driven by a vision of a society free from problem drug and alcohol use. The charity supports thousands of service users and their families on their journey to recovery.

 Swanswell Chair, Alice Maynard CBE said:

‘Debbie played a pivotal role in developing an ambitious vision for Swanswell, one which dared to imagine generational and transformational change in the tackling of problem drug and alcohol use.

Her leadership inspired clearer team thinking and reconnected the organisation with our central cause, appropriate to our charitable status. 

On behalf of the trustees I want to thank Debbie for her contribution and I wish her every success in her next venture.’

Debbie Bannigan leaves Swanswell at the end of July.

A search for her successor has been initiated. The Swanswell trustees are working alongside the Executive Team and have in place a robust plan for the next period. The charity will maintain its focus and commitment to safeguard service users whilst helping them to change and be happy.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Debbie-Bannigan-to-step-down-as-Swanswells-Chief-Executive.aspx Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell and the NASUWT warn pupils about the hidden harm of energy drinks during exam season]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity and the NASUWT, the UK’s largest teaching union are warning pupils about the risks of using energy drinks as a way of getting through their exams.

Marketed for their effects as a stimulant, energy drinks such as Monster, Relentless and Red Bull contain high levels of caffeine. This is an alkaloid which stimulates the central nervous system and is known for giving energy or a boost.

Readily available to children, a 500ml drink typically contains around 160mg of caffeine, double that found in a soft drink like coca-cola. Yet many parents and children think that energy drinks are just like soft drinks.

However, too much caffeine can lead to poor pupil behaviour and health problems including insomnia, heart palpitations and high blood pressure. Swanswell have even seen evidence that some children are using cannabis to come down from energy drinks.

Swanswell and the NASUWT are calling on the government to commission independent research into energy drink use and the long-term effects on health. In the meantime, they’ve joined up to produce a fact sheet for parents, teachers and pupils. It’s available at: http://bit.ly/1VWLk3H and provides information about the hidden harm of energy drinks.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Energy drinks are cheap and there’s no restriction on how many of them a child can buy. Although they look like soft drinks they’re not. In fact, too much caffeine can lead to a range of health problems and can actually affect a child’s performance in school.’

She added; ‘In Canada the government recommend that children do not exceed 85mg of caffeine a day - yet a child can drink double that amount in a single energy drink. So why isn’t there more information and advice available for parents and children about this hidden harm? Isn’t it time for the government to publish guidelines on how much caffeine it’s safe for children to drink?’

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT said; 'Exam season is inevitably stressful for young people and there is concern that some students may see these energy drinks as a positive way to give themselves a boost during revision or ahead of an exam. However, these drinks contain very high levels of stimulants and caffeine which can have negative impacts on young people’s mood and behaviour, particularly when consumed in excessive quantities.'

She added; 'Students and parents need to be aware that energy drinks are not like other soft drinks. The joint guidance produced by the NASUWT and Swanswell aims to help to raise awareness of the risks involved in consuming these drinks to help young people and their parents make informed choices.'         

]]> http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-and-the-NASUWT-warn-pupils-about-the-hidden-harm-of-energy-drinks-during-exam-season-.aspx Fri, 27 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT en <![CDATA[End licensed bars in primary schools now, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, has set up a petition calling on the government to end licensed bars at child-centred events in primary schools.  

The change.org petition calls on the government to change the law so that applications for Temporary Event Notices (TENs) at these events are automatically rejected – currently they’re automatically granted unless the police or environmental health object.

Alcohol was sold at over 9,000 school discos, fetes and sports days across England and Wales in 2014/15. That’s equivalent to one in three primary schools, or a licensed bar opening up every hour every day of the year.

Studies show that a child’s future relationship with alcohol is shaped by their own parents’ attitude to alcohol - particularly between the ages of six and ten. When a child sees their parents drinking at the school disco it creates a positive expectation around alcohol.  

Teaching children about responsible drinking should include examples of not drinking at all. If children aren’t able to experience social events where alcohol isn’t present they could make an early link between socialising and alcohol - likely to influence them to drink when they’re more independent.

Commenting on the petition Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘We’re calling on the government to think again about alcohol in primary schools. A glass of wine at the school disco might sound harmless but it normalises alcohol for children in an environment that should be setting a better example. Alcohol is everywhere in today’s society, does it really need to be in primary schools too? Isn’t this a bar too far?’

She added; ‘We’re giving up to five million very young children mixed messages about alcohol. Is it really that surprising if some of them choose to drink in their own social setting when they’re more independent?’ In fact, we’re already seeing 109 children a week admitted to hospital because of alcohol and today’s children could become tomorrow’s problem drinkers. Out of a typical year group of 100 children today, 40 will go on to be affected by alcohol in some way in the future. Can’t we do better than this for our children?

The national alcohol and drug recovery charity want the petition to raise awareness of the situation. They’ll then present it to the Minister, Karen Bradley MP.

You can help Swanswell by signing the petition and sharing it via social media.          

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/End-licensed-bars-in-primary-schools-now-says-Swanswell-.aspx Thu, 26 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[London Marathon - Jay’s going the distance for Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, is getting set for the London Marathon this Sunday. That’s because Jay Simpson, a Swanswell team member from Birmingham, is taking part!

He’ll join over 38,000 other runners in the annual 26 mile challenge through the capital. Jay’s aiming to raise £1000 for Swanswell so the national charity can help even more people to recover from alcohol and drug misuse.

A self proclaimed fitness fanatic, Jay’s been running for the last seven years. He’s taken part in the Birmingham Half Marathon four times, the Birmingham 10k run and the Spartan Race. Jay’s wanted to run the London Marathon for some time and this year he’ll achieve his ambition while helping more people to change and be happy.

Speaking ahead of the run Jay said; ‘I’ve always had an active lifestyle whether that’s playing football or taking part in Muay Thai Boxing! I know this sounds weird to most people but I enjoy pushing the boundaries of my personal fitness. I’ve wanted to run a marathon for the past 3 years so the London Marathon was the next logical step.’

He added; ‘I’ve chosen Swanwell because I’m proud of how the organisation helps people to change and be happy. My run will raise awareness of the valuable work that Swanswell does and raise funds so that Swanswell can help even more people to overcome problem alcohol, and drug misuse.’

Visit Jay's fundraising page at http://bit.ly/DonateToJay to sponsor him.       

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/London-Marathon---Jays-going-the-distance-for-Swanswell-.aspx Wed, 20 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Fresh evidence that primary schools are influencing children to drink, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, says fresh evidence released today by the University College London and the London School of Economics about under-age drinking means it’s time to think again about licensed bars in primary schools.

A study of 10,498 children found that one in seven children aged 11 had tried alcohol. Crucially, the study concluded that a child is more likely to drink if they view alcohol positively and are 80% more likely to drink if their mother is a heavy drinker.

The report adds to the mounting evidence that a child is most influenced about alcohol between the ages of six and ten and by their parents drinking habits. Evidence, says Swanswell, that primary schools should be setting children a better example than allowing parents to drink at school events.

Research published by Swanswell last year found that alcohol was served to adults at over 9,000 primary school events aimed at children in England and Wales in 2014/15.

Swanswell are calling for a change in the law so that the Temporary Event Notices required by primary schools are automatically rejected if children are going to be present. At the moment, they’re automatically granted unless there’s an objection from the police or environmental health.

The national alcohol and drug recovery charity also want head teachers to pledge to make their school an alcohol-free zone to prevent alcohol from being brought into school for raffles and as gifts to teachers.

Responding to the report Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘This report adds to the evidence that children pick up their attitude towards alcohol from their parents. It also shows that when a child has a positive approach to alcohol they’re more likely to drink it. So when a child sees a parent drinking at the school disco it’s likely to create a positive expectation around alcohol and create an early link between drinking and socialising.’

She added; ‘Most parents want to protect their children from alcohol-related harm. However, we all need to stop and think again about the impact our own behaviour can have on a child’s choices in the future. By serving alcohol to adults at the school disco we’re giving children a mixed message about drinking in an environment which should be setting a better example. Isn’t this a bar too far?’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Fresh-evidence-that-primary-schools-are-influencing-children-to-drink-says-Swanswell.aspx Fri, 04 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Dr. Steve Brinksman joins Swanswell as Medical Director]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drugs recovery charity, has announced the appointment of Dr. Steve Brinksman as the charity’s new Medical Director.

Dr. Brinksman has over 25 years of experience as a GP and has worked with drug and alcohol users throughout his career. He’s the clinical lead for the Substance Misuse Management in Group Practice network (SMMGP), a member of the NICE Quality Standards in Substance Misuse Group and is part of the Novel Psychoactive Substances Network.

Steve is a regular contributor to Drink and Drugs News, the sector’s leading publication, with his column ‘Post-its from Practice’ and has worked in adult and young person’s community drug teams. He helped to develop the Neptune Guidance on legal highs and shaped Birmingham’s successful primary care based drug treatment model – a model Swanswell was also instrumental in developing.

Dr. Brinksman has been a member of the Roles and Responsibilities of Doctors and Working with Substance Misusers Group and the new Non-Medical Prescribers Guidelines Group.

Commenting on his appointment as Medical Director Dr. Brinksman said; ‘I’m very impressed by Swanswell’s commitment to providing excellent services and I’m excited about joining such an enthusiastic and hard working team. I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping Swanswell to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse within a generation.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell's Chief Executive, said; ‘I’m delighted that Steve’s joined the team. His knowledge and experience will help to ensure Swanswell’s clinical governance continues to exceed best practice standards and meet the expectations of our service users and commissioners. He’ll complement the hugely talented team we have here at Swanswell who are committed to helping people to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Dr-Steve-Brinksman-joins-Swanswell-as-Medical-Director.aspx Wed, 02 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Government U-turn on drink-driving puts lives at risk, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, has expressed concern that the current drink-drive limit in England and Wales is putting lives at risk unnecessarily. Swanswell were responding to reports that the UK Government has ruled out a reduction in the drink-driving limit after initially indicating it was prepared to consider a change.

The latest figures show that 240 people were killed by drink-driving in 2014 and over 1,000 were seriously injured. According to the RAC Foundation, lowering the limit would have saved 25 lives last year and prevented 95 serious injuries.

At 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, the drink-driving limit in England and Wales is one of the most lenient in Europe. In 2014, the limit in Scotland was reduced to 50mg per 100ml of blood, bringing it into line with most European countries.

Swanswell insists the best advice to drivers is to avoid alcohol altogether, although they believe a reduced limit would be a step in the right direction. The national alcohol and drug recovery charity believes greater education is the key to tackling drink-driving in the longer term.

As many as one in five drink-drive offences occur the morning after heavy drinking and one in three incidents involve a driver under the age of 24. Evidence, say the national charity, that many people don’t understand drink-driving laws or how soon it’s safe to drive after drinking.

They’re campaigning for a change in the law so that new drivers are required to attend a drug and drink-driving workshop as part of their theory test.

Responding to the news Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘We would like to see motorists advised to avoid alcohol altogether because there’s no safe limit at which to drink and drive. However, a reduction in the current drink-drive limit would be a step in the right direction so the announcement by the UK Government that they aren’t prepared to consider this is really disappointing. Although we all have a part to play in tackling drink-driving it’s up to government to show leadership.’

She added; ‘Ultimately, we believe that education is the best way to help people to think again about drink-driving. It’s ridiculous that drink-driving workshops already exist but people are only sent on them when they’ve offended. Why don’t we make better use of this resource and give people access to it before they pass their test? Most people who’ve offended say they wish they’d been on the drink-driving course before their conviction and if they had maybe the outcome would have been different?’


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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Government-U-turn-on-drink-driving-puts-lives-at-risk-says-Swanswell-.aspx Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[John’s skydiving for Swanswell!]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, is getting ready for a skydive! On Saturday 06 February John Gauntlett, a Recovery Worker for Swanswell in Coalville, Leicestershire, will be jumping out of a plane at over 10,000 + feet to raise funds for the national charity.

After taking off from Durham Airfield, he’ll jump from the plane, descending through the clouds at a speed of 120 miles per hour, from nearly two miles above the ground.

After recovering from substance misuse himself, John decided to do a skydive to show other people recovery is possible. He also wants to give something back to those who’ve helped him. The funds he raises will help Swanswell to make recovery possible for more people.

So far, John has raised £400 for the national alcohol and drugs recovery charity and, with over a week to go, he’s hoping to beat his initial target of £465.

Speaking ahead of the Skydive, he said; ‘As part of my recovery, I was introduced to mutual aid groups and I saw people who stopped using alcohol and other drugs. I saw people smiling, really smiling and having joy in their life and I suddenly found hope that I could also do it. Today, I have a flat, employment and I enjoy a good relationship with my friends and family.’

 He added; ‘This skydive is a great way of celebrating my recovery and showing other people that change is possible. I’m so grateful to drug and alcohol services for the help and opportunities they’ve given me that I wanted to give something back. So, I’m donating the money I raise to Swanswell which will help even more people to change and be happy.’

Visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/johngauntlett1  if you’d like to pledge a donation to John. The funds raised will be used by Swanswell to help more people to change and be happy.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Johns-skydiving-for-Swanswell.aspx Thu, 28 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell takes drug advice into the digital age]]> National alcohol and drug recovery charity Swanswell teamed up with Loughborough University Students’ Union to answer questions about drugs live via the internet on Monday 25 January. Along with Richard Taylor from the University, Deborah Durdey and Emily Fisher, two of Swanswell’s Substance Misuse Workers, were on hand to answer questions from students, and anyone else living in the Loughborough area.

The question and answer session was streamed live through the Students’ Union’s website between 6.30 and 7.30pm. Using a social media website called www.yikyak.com viewers were able to send in questions anonymously for the panel to answer.

Swanswell delivers the Adult and Young Persons Substance Misuse Service in Leicestershire and Rutland and this event was organised as part of a wider partnership with the Students’ Union.

The online format was developed to make it easier for people to come forward and ask questions. Many students were too nervous or embarrassed to take part in previous face to face drop in sessions organised by Swanswell and the Students’ Union.

Speaking after the event, Jennifer Hames Swanswell’s Assistant Director said; ‘Enabling people to take part in an online question and answer session anonymously is a great way for us to speak to even more people, and also to reach out to those who may have reasons not to access support in more conventional ways. We’re determined to reach out into the community and take our services to anyone who may need them. We have established relationships with other organisations and community groups in the area, such as Loughborough University and the Students’ Union. This latest event is just one of the ways we’re joining up so we can help even more people to change and be happy.’

Alison Barlow, Stakeholder Relations Manager at Loughborough University, said; 'The University takes the issue of student welfare very seriously.  The confidential drugs question and answer session is part of an ongoing programme to provide advice and information to students on a whole range of health and wellbeing issues. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Students’ Union and colleagues from Swanswell to deliver it.'

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-takes-drug-advice-into-the-digital-age.aspx Wed, 27 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell responds to Alcohol Guidelines Review]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, has welcomed new guidance on drinking alcohol issued by the Department of Health today. For the first time the guidelines make it clear that even light to moderate drinking carries a risk.

The new guidelines advise men and women to drink no more than 14 units a week, equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine, with a couple of drink free days each week. It also advises pregnant women not to drink at all. The advice replaces the previous daily limit of 3-4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 for women.

It’s the first full review of the guidelines since 1995 and has been prompted by growing evidence of the harm even light drinking can cause. Alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of developing a range of cancers including breast, mouth and throat, and is increasingly a major cause of ill health in the UK.

There’s even an increased risk of developing dementia through regular alcohol consumption and it’s thought that one in ten of the UK’s 800,000 dementia sufferers could actually have alcohol dementia.

Alcohol costs the country over £21 billion a year to manage and over the last decade alcohol-related hospital admissions have more than doubled to over a million each year – equivalent to the population of Birmingham.

Responding to the new guidelines Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Although we’re concerned that many people still don’t understand the alcohol unit system these new guidelines are a step in the right direction. They recognise the harm that even light to moderate drinking can cause and may help more people to make informed choices about their own drinking. With growing evidence linking alcohol to a range of illnesses we all need to think again about the harm caused by alcohol. It isn’t something that can be tackled solely by the government or any one body, we all have our part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-respond-to-Alcohol-Guidelines-Review.aspx Fri, 08 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s on hand to help over the festive season]]> Swanswell will once again be staying open over the festive break to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use. It’s business as usual for the national alcohol and drug recovery charity as it offers bank holiday support on Christmas Day, Monday 28 December and New Year’s Day, in addition to its normal services at all other times.

Christmas Day – Friday 25 December 2015
A special bank holiday telephone service will be in operation for all Swanswell service areas. Simply call the local office as usual for support and information. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch. For telephone support in Barnsley on Christmas Day please call 0300 303 5000.

Monday 28 December 2015
A special bank holiday telephone service will be in operation in Birmingham (0121 633 1750). All other services will be open as usual, please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

New Year's Day - Friday 01 January 2016
A special bank holiday telephone service will be in operation in Birmingham (0121 633 1750) and Barnsley (0300 303 5000). All other services will be open as usual, please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.    

Barnsley – Carers Support Service
A special telephone support service will be in operation in Barnsley on Wednesday 23 December, Thursday 24 December, Christmas Day, Thursday 31 December and New Year’s Day, please call us on 0300 303 5000 for support and information. The service will be open as usual throughout the rest of the festive season (including Monday 28 December) please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fifth year that Swanswell’s been open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need them.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The festive season can be a difficult time for people who need our support, so we want to make sure help is available whenever it's needed. It’s particularly important that we’re accessible as many other services are closed for the festive break. We’re staying open to take our services to even more people, so they can turn around their lives for the better, change and be happy.’


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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-on-hand-to-help-over-the-festive-season.aspx Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges drivers to think again about drinking over the festive season]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity is urging people to think again about drinking if they’re planning to drive during the festive season. They’re warning drivers that if they fail a breath test a visit from Santa Claus isn’t all they can expect to receive this December. They’ll be arrested, prosecuted, banned from driving and may even receive a prison sentence.

Alcohol consumption traditionally increases by around 40% in December and the nation will consume the equivalent of 67 million bottles of wine or 261 million pints of beer over the month. Sadly that’s reflected in the number of people caught drink-driving.

In December 2014 in England and Wales, the number of breath test failures increased by a quarter from the previous month, a total of 6,686 – more than any other month in the year. In total, 5% of motorists tested failed a breath test, in contrast to 4.5% in December 2013.

Although the number of drink-driving convictions has fallen by a third in ten years, the message still hasn’t got through to everyone. In 2014 there were over 66,000 recorded  drink-driving offences,equivalent to 180 a day. The latest figures also show that alcohol was involved in around 260 road deaths. 

There’s no safe limit to drink and drive, just one drink will affect a driver’s reaction times and could be enough to put them over the legal limit. The impact alcohol has on each person will vary depending on a range of factors including weight, age, gender and food intake.

Also, many people still don’t understand how long it takes for alcohol to leave their system, putting them at risk of being over the limit the following morning. If a driver had five pints of 5% lager (2.8 units each), it would take at least 16 hours for the alcohol to leave their body and for it to be safe to drive. Similarly, five medium glasses (175ml) of 13% wine (2.3 units each) would take at least 13 hours to clear the system.

One in five drink-driving offences occur the morning after drinking, good evidence that new drivers need to be given more information sooner, says Swanswell. They’re calling for the introduction of a mandatory drink-driving workshop for new drivers which would be taken as part of the theory test.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Many people think that after a fried breakfast and a shower they’re fine to drive the morning after drinking. The reality only sets in that they’re not when they’re pulled over by the police on the school run or on their way to work. A drink-driving conviction is for life, it’s not just for Christmas and they’ll have to live with the consequences for a long time. Worse still, they may kill or injure themselves, a loved one, another driver or pedestrian all because they didn’t know how long alcohol stays in the body.’

She added; ‘We’re all responsible for our own actions, however it seems strange that drink-driving education courses are only offered to people after they’ve offended. Why aren’t we offering new drivers more information about the risks and consequences of drink-driving? Wouldn’t this help them to make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol before anyone offends?’

 

VIDEO: What happens when you're caught drink-driving (West Mercia Police)

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-drivers-to-think-again-about-drinking-over-the-festive-season.aspx Mon, 07 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol at the school disco? Swanswell says it’s a bar too far]]> National alcohol and drug recovery charity, Swanswell, says that the future drinking habits of five million children are being shaped by primary schools in England and Wales.

Figures obtained by Swanswell through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) show that alcohol was served to adults at over 9,000 primary school events aimed at children last year. This represents an increase of five percent in English primary schools since 2013.

Between the ages of six and ten a child’s future relationship with alcohol is heavily influenced by their parent's drinking habits. When they see them drinking at the school disco it shows a child that this is normal behaviour.

This means they’re more likely to drink in their own social settings when they’re independent enough to do so because an early link is created between socialising and alcohol. So is it any surprise that 109 children a week are admitted to hospital because of alcohol?

Swanswell think this is a bar too far and are calling for a change in the law this Alcohol Awareness Week (16 November – 22 November).

At the moment, the Temporary Event Notice (TEN) which a primary school needs to sell alcohol is automatically granted by a local authority unless there’s an objection from the police or environmental health.

Swanswell believes that applications from primary schools should instead be automatically rejected if children are going to be present.

They also want head teachers to pledge to make their school an alcohol free zone to prevent alcohol from being brought into school for raffles and as gifts to teachers.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan will today unveil the figures at a conference organised by Public Health Wales in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire.

Speaking ahead of the conference she said; ‘Most parents want to protect their children from alcohol harm. However, we all need to stop and think again about the impact our own behaviour can have on a child’s choices in the future. By serving alcohol to adults at the school disco we’re giving children a mixed message about drinking in an environment which should be setting a better example. Isn’t this a bar too far?’

She added; ‘No-one falls to earth as an alcoholic, it’s something that develops over time. However, we’re putting a generation at risk of leaving primary school having formed a view about drinking already. Alcohol’s so visible in society today, is it really a good idea to serve it at a primary school disco as well?  It doesn’t have to be this way and we’re campaigning so that one day there’ll be no more licensed bars at the school disco or beer given away as raffle prizes.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-at-the-school-disco-Swanswell-says-its-a-bar-too-far-.aspx Fri, 20 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for action as report highlights link between alcohol and dementia]]> National alcohol and drug recovery charity Swanswell is urging the government to take action on alcohol dementia after a health watchdog advised people to avoid alcohol altogether to reduce the risk of getting dementia.

Dementia affects 800,000 people costing the UK £20 billion every year and research suggests one in ten sufferers could actually have alcohol dementia.

If diagnosed and treated correctly this preventable dementia is reversible in half of cases, but more government investment is needed for research to improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Although the government’s 2020 Dementia Strategy provides funding and resources it doesn’t specifically recognise alcohol dementia.

Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘This report provides more evidence of the harm caused by drinking and the link between alcohol and dementia. Research shows that one in ten people suffering from dementia could actually have alcohol dementia costing the UK £2 billion a year and affecting 80,000 people. However, there’s no mention of alcohol dementia in either the government’s alcohol or dementia strategy.’

She added; ‘The government needs to invest in improved research, diagnosis and treatment of this preventable dementia. Swanswell has developed its own treatment model and we would be keen to see this piloted. However, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play by taking responsibility for our own alcohol use.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-action-as-report-highlights-link-between.aspx Wed, 21 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell concerned by research indicating ten million people drink and drive]]> National drug and alcohol recovery charity Swanswell has reacted with concern to research indicating ten million drivers knowingly drink-drive in the UK.

A study commissioned by insurer RIAS and charity Alcohol Concern, recently asked a sample of 2000 drivers over 18 about their drink-driving habits. The survey found that one in three drivers (36%) under 50 years old and nearly one in four drivers (24%) over 50 years old admitted to drink-driving.

When applied to the UK adult population this would equate to ten million drivers getting behind the wheel while knowingly over the limit.

Astonishingly, one fifth of drivers (20%) in their thirties said they believed they would be safe to drive after six or seven glasses of  beer or wine.

Drinking any amount of alcohol puts drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk of serious injury and even death. Many respondents to the survey said they’d experienced blurred vision, falling asleep at the wheel and even minor crashes while drink-driving.

For over thirty years road safety campaigners have been warning drivers not to drink and drive, these findings will raise concern that the message still isn’t getting through to everyone.

Commenting on the report Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Although we’ve seen a fall in deaths and casualties caused by drink-driving over the last thirty years it’s still a big problem. Drink-driving causes around 260 deaths and 10,000 injuries each year costing UK tax payers over £800 million.’

She added; ‘ This study suggests the message about drink-driving still isn’t getting through to everyone. Part of the problem is that people are often sent on drink-driving awareness courses after they’ve offended, when it’s too late. We’re calling for the introduction of a mandatory drink-driving workshop as part of the theory test so people have more information about the impact of drink-driving before it’s too late.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-concerned-by-research-indicating-ten-million-people-.aspx Thu, 15 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes Alice Maynard as new Chair of the Board of Trustees]]> Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is delighted to welcome Alice Maynard as its new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Alice will help to shape the direction of Swanswell and ensure the charity fulfils its ambition to help people change and be happy.

Commenting on her appointment Alice Maynard said; ‘I’m really looking forward to working with Swanswell. It’s a vibrant organisation with exciting plans for the future and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to work with the Board further developing those plans and bringing them to fruition.’

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘I’m pleased to welcome Alice Maynard to Swanswell as our new Chair. Alice brings a wealth of experience to the table which I know will help us achieve our aim of a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse.’

An experienced strategic thinker, Alice has held a range of influential positions across a diverse group of organisations, most recently serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Scope. Between 2008 and 2014 she turned around and re-invigorated the national charity, which has an annual turnover of £100 million.

Alice runs her own business, Future Inclusion, through which she provides strategic advice on inclusion with a particular specialism in transport.

In the past, Alice has served as the Head of Disability Strategy at Network Rail and as a Commissioner on the Human Genetics Commission.

Her achievements were recognised recently when she was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours list. Alice was also named as the Sunday Times Non-Executive Director of the Year, Not-for-Profit/Public Service in 2014.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-Alice-Maynard-as-new-Chair-of-the-Board-of-Trustees-.aspx Fri, 25 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Penny Cook and Andy Furlong become trustees at Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has welcomed two new members to the Board of Trustees.

The new trustees, Penny Cook and Andy Furlong, join an experienced board helping to ensure Swanswell fulfils its ambition to help people change and be happy.

Penny Cook is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and has research experience in the area of substance use. Her research has been particularly focused on alcohol, firstly at Liverpool John Moores University and now at the University of Salford where she is Professor of Public Health.

Examples of her research include gauging the public’s attitudes to the role of alcohol in society, and their beliefs about the potential effectiveness of various interventions including pricing strategies in the Big Drink Debate.

Penny said; ‘I’m looking forward to helping Swanswell achieve its aims of helping people think clearly about alcohol and drug use, working towards a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse. I’m very impressed by Swanswell’s commitment to providing excellent services and its genuine passion for helping people to change and be happy.’

Andy Furlong is the Director of Policy and Communication at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), a professional body with over 42,000 members worldwide. He’s a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

He project managed the seventh World Congress of Chemical Engineering and has been closely involved in the delivery of several major IChemE initiatives including the successful whynotchemeng careers campaign and the Chemical Engineering Matters project.

Commenting on his appointment to the Board of Trustees at Swanswell, Andy said; ‘I’m delighted that I’ll be working with such a forward-thinking and imaginative team. Swanswell’s work is helping people up and down the country to turn their lives around and raise awareness of the wider issues of problem alcohol and drug misuse within society.’

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘I’m delighted to welcome Penny and Andy to the Board of Trustees at Swanswell. Their experience will complement the hugely talented team we already have here as we help people to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Penny-Cook-and-Andy-Furlong-become-trustees-at-Swanswell-.aspx Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges drivers to think again about drinking during the Rugby World Cup]]> With England set to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Fiji this evening, national drug and alcohol recovery charity, Swanswell is urging fans to think again about drink-driving.

With evening fixtures taking place during weekdays throughout the six week tournament (18 September to 31 October), sports fans who wouldn’t normally drink on a weekday may be tempted to while watching the big game. And many will be unaware that they may still be over the limit the next morning.

If a driver had five pints of 5% lager (2.8 units each), it would take at least 16 hours for the alcohol to leave the body and for it to be safe to drive. Similarly, five medium glasses (175ml) of 13% wine (2.3 units each) would take at least 13 hours to clear the system.

By driving with alcohol in their system the morning after the big match, drivers are risking penalty points on their licence, a driving ban and even prison. Getting caught for drink-driving isn’t the worst thing that can happen either. In 2013, alcohol was involved in around 260 road deaths. 

As many as 17% of drink-driving offences take place the morning after heavy drinking and Swanswell believes education is the key to help people think again about drink-driving. Many people who’ve been on Swanswell’s Drink Impaired Drivers programme say they wish they had known more about drink-driving before they had offended.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is calling on the government to change the driving test for new drivers. Swanswell believes the theory test should include a drink-driving workshop. This would give motorists the information they need to make an informed decision about drink-driving, before it’s too late.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Most people know that drinking and driving is not a good idea so the best way to stay safe is simply not to drink if you’re going to be driving. However, a lot of people don’t understand how long alcohol stays in their system, and that they can still be over the limit the next morning. So to really make sure you’re not going to get caught for drink-driving you also need to factor in how long it will take the alcohol to leave your body.’

She added; ‘Education is key to reducing drink-driving. Giving new and young drivers more information about the risks, and the harm, involved in drink driving as part of the theory test would make sure people have the facts they need before it’s too late.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-drivers-to-think-again-about-drinking-during-the-Rugby-World-Cup.aspx Fri, 18 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell opens its doors to the community for Recovery Week]]> Swanswell’s opening its doors to the community in Leicestershire and Rutland to mark the start of Recovery Week on Monday 21 September.

Between 10am and 4pm, the national drug and alcohol recovery charity will be opening their support service offices (hub locations) in Loughborough and Coalville to anyone who’d like to find out more about the services it offers, and how it supports recovery.

Visitors will get to meet staff, find out more about the service, what we do, who we help and how they can engage with the service if they or friends and family need help.

Recovery Week’s all about marking the progress people have made and at the event visitors will be able to see postcards written by service users who want to share their recovery journeys and successes.

Operations Manager Pete Singleton said; ‘Recovery Week’s all about marking and celebrating the recovery of people from all walks of life who’ve suffered from drug and alcohol misuse. Swanswell’s part of the community and every year we help thousands of people to change and be happy. We want people to drop in and see for themselves what we do, and what support we’re able to offer.’

In Loughborough Swanswell’s address is; 95 Ashby Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3AB.  In Coalville Swanswell are based at; 42 High Street, Coalville, LE67 3EE.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-opens-its-doors-to-the-community-for-Recovery-Week.aspx Thu, 17 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls on primary schools to think again about alcohol]]> As children return to school after the summer holidays, Swanswell is calling on primary schools to think again about alcohol. Research undertaken by the national drug and alcohol recovery charity, shows that around one in three primary schools in England are serving alcohol to adults at events aimed at children.

Last year, Swanswell presented MPs with data obtained through a freedom of information request which revealed that alcohol had been served at over 8,400 events in primary schools. These were events where children would have been present, such as school discos, fetes and sports days.

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes this is a bar too far. The charity wants licensing laws changed so that any application from a primary school for a Temporary Event Notice to serve alcohol at events aimed at children is automatically refused. At the moment it’s automatically granted. It also wants schools to think again before having alcohol in raffles or allowing children to bring alcoholic gifts in for teachers at the end of the year.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘My own children received an invitation to a disco at their primary school, offering a licensed bar for adults, and our own research shows that it’s happening in as many as one in three primary schools. If children are led to believe that alcohol is an important part of every social occasion, we shouldn’t be surprised if they expect to drink at their own social occasions as soon as they’re independent enough to do so.’

She added; ‘Research indicates that children’s feelings about alcohol are formed early, between the ages of six and ten while they’re at primary school. That’s why, we need to think again about how we can help children shape their opinions about drinking, so they can make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol when they’re older. Tackling problem drug and alcohol abuse isn’t something any one body or organisation can do on their own, we all have to play our part.”

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-on-primary-schools-to-think-again-about-alcohol-.aspx Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Trekking for Swanswell in Hope Valley]]> A Swanswell team member from Sandwell will be trekking across the Peak District this Saturday to raise money for the national drug and alcohol recovery charity. Starting at the picturesque Hope Valley in Derbyshire, Jasbinder Chahal will aim to complete the 13 mile Trekfest challenge within six hours.

Jasbinder works in Sandwell’s Alcohol Services as a substance misuse community nurse and she’s aiming to raise £500. Each year thousands of people take part in Trekfest helping to raise money for good causes.

Speaking ahead of the event she said; ‘I’m doing Trekfast because I enjoy any challenge! I love physical exercise and I’ve stepped up my training in preparation. I’ve chosen Swanswell as my charity because I’m proud of how the organisation helps people to change and be happy.’

Please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jasbinderchahal1 to pledge a donation.

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Trekking-for-Swanswell-in-Hope-Valley.aspx Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers substance misuse support over August bank holiday]]> Swanswell will be open as usual over the August bank holiday to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Appointments, drop-in facilities and telephone support will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday 31 August 2015. Services will be available as usual at all other times.

All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fifth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed. It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’


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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-substance-misuse-support-over-August-bank-holiday.aspx Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urge parents not to give their children alcohol to celebrate this results day]]> With GCSE results day just around the corner, Swanswell is calling on parents to think twice before giving their children alcohol to celebrate their achievements.

Whether for a post-exam party, a festival or a holiday, a Drinkaware survey found that 23% of parents give their children alcohol. And with those aged 14-17 receiving an average of 9 units, equivalent to a bottle of wine or four cans of beer, the effect on these children is detrimental.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell Chief Executive said: ‘It’s clear from these statistics that the majority of parents do not give their children alcohol and that is something we must remember. However these statistics are particularly worrying, given the large amount of alcohol given by parents and the fact that buying alcohol for children is illegal.

‘The impact on children can include weight gain, headaches and disturbed sleep, alongside other conditions such as the development of mental health problems.

‘With 1 in 5 parents saying they have no understanding about alcohol or aren’t aware of any medical guidance at all, it’s clear that better and consistent education is needed for parents and children alike. I would encourage any parent to visit our website which has lots of information about the effects of alcohol and how to minimise harm: www.swanswell.org.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urge-parents-not-to-give-their-children-alcohol-to-celebrate-this-results-day.aspx Wed, 19 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Rachel’s jumping for recovery!]]> Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, is getting ready for the first skydive of the year.

This Saturday brave Rachel Warman, a peer mentor for Swanswell in Worcestershire, will be jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet to raise money for the charity. After taking off from Whitchurch Airfield in Shropshire, she’ll jump from her plane descending through the clouds at a speed of 120 miles per hour from nearly two miles above the ground.

Speaking ahead of the Skydive, she said; ‘I suffered with addiction problems from the age of 18, but thanks to Swanswell and other recovery organisations I’ve entered recovery and been abstinent for 17 months and 20 days. It’s never crossed my mind to do a skydive before but I was on the Swanswell website and I thought it’s a way for me to give something back. I wanted to help Swanswell, and to help others to have the same chance as I’ve been given.’

She added; ‘I’ve never done anything like this before, it’s a challenge but I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been preparing through mindfulness and acupuncture so I don’t worry about it! So far I’ve raised over £500 and I’m hoping to raise more!’

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/rachel-warman1 if you’d like to pledge a donation to Rachel. The funds raised will be used to help more people change, be happy and achieve a sustainable recovery.

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Rachels-jumping-for-recovery.aspx Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell cautiously welcomes fall in younger drinkers]]> Swanswell cautiously welcomes fall in younger drinkers

National recovery charity Swanswell, has cautiously welcomed new research which says young people are drinking less. However, more should be done to educate children about alcohol earlier.

Young people are drinking less frequently, and less when they do, according to a report published by think tank Demos. A survey of 16-24 year olds revealed one in five don’t drink at all and two thirds said alcohol wasn’t an important part of their life. Some said they didn’t drink because they were worried about their health, or their image on social media. The cost of alcohol stopped others drinking.

However, despite falling by a third in a decade, nearly one in five said they binged on alcohol regularly.

Commenting on the findings, Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Any news that young people are drinking less is positive, but we need to be cautious. Nearly one in five of those surveyed are binge drinking and that’s storing up problems for the future. Alcohol is responsible for many problems and costs our society up to £21 billion a year. It causes a range of health problems from cancer to preventable Alcohol Dementia.’

She added; ‘All the research shows that children’s attitudes to drinking are most heavily influenced before they reach age 11. Yet even in primary school they receive a mixed message.  On the one hand they are given information about drugs and alcohol, however last year we revealed one in three primary schools served alcohol to adults at children’s events, such as the school disco. When children see their parents drinking in school it ‘normalises’ it, and creates an early link between socialising and alcohol. We think this is a bar too far and we want to see dry primary schools. We all have a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse, it’s not something any individual, organisation or government can tackle on their own.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-cautiously-welcomes-fall-in-younger-drinkers.aspx Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for action as alcohol-related hospital admissions rise]]> UK drug and alcohol charity Swanswell, has reacted with concern to statistics showing that alcohol-related hospital admissions have more than doubled since 2004.

Figures released this month by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that nearly half a million people were admitted to hospital where alcohol was a factor in 2003/4. In 2013/14 the figure had more than doubled to over one million, with around two thirds of these admissions being due to longer term chronic illnesses such as cancers and hypertension conditions.

During the last decade, alcohol has become cheaper and more readily available. With more people drinking at home, it’s also harder for people to keep track of their drinking. Swanswell believes the government needs to provide better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use before we begin to see a decrease in these figures. We need to help future generations make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, and avoid drinking behaviour that could damage their health before we have a positive impact that tackles society’s alcohol problem.

Reacting to the report Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘These figures are extremely concerning, however they’re not surprising considering the way society’s relationship with alcohol has changed over the last decade and more. The problem is that alcohol has become so integrated into everyday life that it’s difficult for someone to know when drinking is becoming a problem. There are also so many mixed messages around alcohol, which adds to the confusion. We need to be clear that when people drink they are increasing their risk of  both short and long term alcohol-related health problems.’

She added; ‘We can’t expect people to drink responsibly within the government’s guidelines when people don’t understand the units system used to measure alcohol - only 13 per cent of people know how to work out alcohol units. It’s vital that people have access to better education and clearer information – and that governments take appropriate action to remove mixed messaging around alcohol.

‘We all have a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse, it’s not something any individual, organisation or government can tackle on their own.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-action-as-alcohol-related-hospital-admissions.aspx Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Contacting Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service now easier than ever]]> Swanswell, the national recovery charity which delivers the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service in Worcestershire, has developed its service to make it even easier for people to get in touch. There’s now just one number you need to contact all of Swanswell’s offices in Worcestershire, 0300 303 8200.

The single point of contact makes it easier for people who want to get in touch, or for partner organisations making a referral. The new system will automatically direct callers to the correct office based on their dialling code.

Representatives from the police, local councils and GPs heard about the new system at a launch event last week, and gave the new number their backing. It makes it simpler for them to refer someone to Swanswell, who have been delivering the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service in Worcestershire since April.

Swanswell’s Director of Western Region, David Lewis, said; ‘We’re very excited about the new services we’re providing in Worcestershire and we’ve introduced just one number to make it even easier to contact us. We all have a part to play in tackling drug and alcohol misuse and we’ll be working with other services to make sure people get the help and support they need.’

To get in touch please call 0300 303 8200 or email us, worcsadmin@swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Contacting-Drug-and-Alcohol-Recovery-Service-now-easier-than-ever.aspx Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to offer drug and alcohol advice at Download festival]]> Team members from Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be in attendance at the Download festival in Castle Donington, Leicestershire, this week.

Working with staff from North West Leicestershire District Council’s Community Safety Team, Swanswell will be on hand to provide harm minimisation advice to visitors and answer questions about alcohol and drug use. The team will be located  next to the welfare tent in the main camp site between 10 am and 6pm from Wednesday 10 June to Saturday 13 June. They will also be at the festival on Sunday 14 June between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

While there’s no particular concerns about alcohol or drug use at the festival, people can get confidential advice should they need it. It’s the fourth year the national recovery charity has provided support at the Download festival, complementing Swanswell’s existing substance misuse support service for adults and young people in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Pete Singleton, Operations Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘Although there are no particular concerns about alcohol or drugs at the festival, we’re available if people need us. We’re on site to answer questions, give confidential advice or just to have a friendly chat – from the moment the camp site gates open, right through to the last day of the festival.’

He added; ‘We also provide support for anyone living in Leicestershire and Rutland who is worried about problem alcohol and drug use. Call us on 0300 303 5000 or pop in to one of our offices to find out more about the services we offer.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-to-offer-drug-and-alcohol-advice-at-Download-festival.aspx Wed, 10 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell team tackle Brecon Beacons to raise funds]]> Team members from Swanswell’s team in Bristol will be taking part in Trekfest this week to raise money for the national recovery charity. The challenge  involves completing a 29-mile trek in the Brecon Beacons, within twelve hours and tackling Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in south Wales at 2,907 ft.

One of those taking part is Amy Doherty-Saw, who works in the Arrest Referral and Intervention Service in Bristol, who has raised over £150 so far. Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, provides help to people who come into custody with alcohol or drug problems through the Arrest, Referral and Intervention Service. By being involved in the criminal justice system Swanswell can ensure people get the help and advice they need to turn their lives around with the aim of reducing drug and alcohol related crime.

Amy wanted to raise funds for Swanswell because she is proud of the difference the national recovery charity has made to the people she has worked with in the Arrest, Referral and Intervention Service.

Speaking ahead of the challenge she said; ‘I signed up for TrekFest as I thought it would be a good challenge for me. But it’s not until then that I realised how many things there were that I hadn’t thought of! I’m not normally an endurance person so this is a real challenge for me.

She added; ‘ I have worked for Swanswell, in Bristol,  for over a year and soon I will become a recovery worker. I have seen firsthand how alcohol problems can ruin a life and Swanswell have been there to help. This work is so important which is why I chose Swanswell as my charity.’

To pledge a donation please visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/amyds to support Amy or mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/rickytrekfest  to support Ricky Chodkiewicz,  who is a team leader at the Arrest, Referral and Intervention Service. 

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-team-tackle-Brecon-Beacons-to-raise-funds.aspx Thu, 04 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers substance misuse support over spring bank holiday]]> Swanswell will once again be open as usual over the spring bank holiday to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Appointments, drop-in facilities and telephone support will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday 25 May 2015. Services will be available as usual at all other times.

Spring bank holiday -25 May

All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fifth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed. It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-substance-misuse-support-over-Spring-Bank-Holiday.aspx Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes call for reduced drink-drive limit]]> Swanswell has backed calls by the Police Federation for the legal drink-driving limit in England and Wales to be lowered in line with Scotland but  questioned whether it goes far enough. Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem drug and alcohol use, believes the clearest guidance for motorists would be to abstain from consuming alcohol altogether.

Swanswell were responding to news that the Police Federation is calling for a legal limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (instead of 80mg per 100ml as it is currently).

The legal limit can be confusing for motorists when people don’t understand how many units of alcohol can take them over the legal limit and it creates the impression that it is safe to drink and drive at the legal level. The evidence shows that even by consuming low levels of alcohol, drivers are putting themselves and others at greater risk of accident and injury. Drivers  with 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a car crash than those with no alcohol in their blood.

Key to reducing drink-driving is education, and Swanswell are calling for the introduction of a mandatory drink-drive awareness course as part of the driving test. Presently, only those caught drink-driving attend such a course, when the damage has already been done.

A lower drink-drive limit would bring England into line with other parts of the UK and many European countries.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s  Chief Executive, said: ‘Ultimately, although this proposal would be a step in the right direction, there is no safe limit for the amount of alcohol you can drink before driving – any amount can affect judgement and the ability to drive safely. So the only way you can be sure you’re not over the limit and posing a risk to yourself and others, is to not drive after drinking.’

She added; ‘Education about drink-driving is important and there should be a drink-driving awareness course as part of the driving test. At the moment only drink-drivers  receive this help after they have been caught and when it’s too late. We all have a part to play by taking responsibility for our own alcohol use. And we need to give motorists the tools to make good decisions enabling them to act responsibly and be safe.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-call-for-reduced-drink-drive-limit.aspx Wed, 20 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for government action on alcohol dementia]]> With Dementia Awareness week taking place from the 18th May until 24th May (organised by Alzheimer’s Society), Swanswell is calling on the new Conservative government to do more to tackle alcohol dementia by increasing investment for research into this hidden harm.

Research indicates that up to 10% of the 800,000 cases of dementia in the UK could actually be alcohol dementia and if diagnosed correctly many patients can make a full recovery. Although the 2020 Dementia Strategy, developed under the previous coalition administration, pledges increased funding and resources to tackle dementia, it fails to specifically recognise alcohol dementia, which costs the UK economy around £2 billion every year.

Caused by long term heavy drinking, the symptoms of alcohol dementia are similar to those of  dementia, however a lack of awareness around alcohol dementia specifically makes diagnosis difficult. This means sufferers do not get the support they need to address their alcohol misuse and the mental and physical effects of the condition.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We are pleased that the UK Government has a strategy to tackle dementia but this plan must address alcohol dementia at a strategic level. With 80,000 people in the UK affected by alcohol dementia we need the government to focus a larger proportion of its investment in to research, diagnosis and treatment for alcohol dementia.’

She added; ‘By raising awareness of this less well known type of dementia and investing in research, we can make alcohol dementia a thing of the past. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, the condition can be reversed or relieved, so that up to 50% of people who develop alcohol dementia can continue to live independently.However, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play by taking responsibility for our own alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-government-action-on-alcohol-dementia.aspx Fri, 15 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Calorie labels on alcohol one step closer to becoming a reality, says Swanswell]]> Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks, bringing this excellent initiative one step closer to becoming a reality.

With two-thirds of English men and over half of English women being overweight, and with over 80 percent of people not knowing how many calories are in a large glass of wine, this initiative could not come at a better time.

Calorie labelling is part of a wider Alcohol Strategy proposed by the European Parliament, which also calls for greater awareness and education tools around alcohol use for young people, amongst others.  

Swanswell are well aware that alcohol can be a significant factor in weight gain, alongside other harms, and are conscious that greater awareness is needed to address this important issue. It’s for this reason that Swanswell has written an eBook ‘3 simple steps to put your weight loss into hyperdrive’.

Providing information about the calories in alcohol and giving tips on how to reduce your drinking, the eBook is available to download for free at: http://join.swanswell.org/weightlossalcohol.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘It’s fantastic that the European Parliament has voted in favour of calorie labelling on alcohol as part of the wider Alcohol Strategy. Although this vote does not guarantee that this will come into force anytime soon, I’m thrilled that it has been backed by such an influential body in the European Union.’

‘I’m proud of the work that we’re doing, raising awareness around calories in alcohol, and we’re receiving positive responses to our eBook which is excellent. If anybody wants to hyperdrive their weight loss by reducing their drinking, I would encourage them to download our free eBook.’

Swanswell’s website has lots of helpful tips and advice, not only on alcohol and weight gain, but also how to minimise the risks of drinking, measuring units and drinking responsibly. To find out more visit: http://www.swanswell.org/helpful-information/alcohol

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Calorie-labels-on-alcohol-one-step-closer-to-becoming-a-reality-says-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell continues to offer vital support over the Easter break]]> Swanswell will once again be staying open over the Easter break to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

It’s business as usual for the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – as it offers bank holiday support on Good Friday and Easter Monday, as well as its normal services at all other times.

On Friday 3 April and Monday 6 April, services will be open as usual in Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham, Sandwell, Leicestershire and Rutland and Avon and Somerset. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fifth year that Swanswell’s been open during a bank holiday period and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said:

‘Bank holiday periods can often be difficult for the people who come to us for help throughout the year, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

‘It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people so they can change and be happy.’

To find out more about Swanswell and the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-continues-to-offer-vital-support-over-the-Easter-break.aspx Mon, 30 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell asks, Alcohol – do you know your limits?]]> With St Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Swanswell, a leading recovery charity, is urging people to take care of themselves when drinking alcohol.

Widely celebrated across the UK and abroad, St Patrick’s Day is well known as a day of festivities. Although not everybody will consume alcohol, many will and Swanswell is concerned about the lack of awareness around consumption and the impact alcohol has on people’s health.   

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said:

‘In 2009, only a quarter of people correctly said that one unit is less than a small glass of wine. This is very worrying.

‘If the majority of people are unaware of what a unit is, how can we expect people to drink responsibly and within the recommended daily limits?

‘St Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration and we want everybody to enjoy themselves. However, we also want people to think about how much alcohol they’re drinking and how it impacts on their bodies, their health and their ability to drive.

‘Many people will get in their car and drive to work the morning after St Patrick’s Day celebrations. We believe that drivers simply aren’t aware that alcohol can still be in their system for hours after they’ve finished drinking, even if they feel absolutely fine. In fact, one in five drivers admit driving the morning after they have had a lot to drink.’

‘There are lots of steps people can take to drink safely and reduce the impacts of alcohol, including drinking water between alcoholic drinks and swapping higher percentage alcoholic drinks for drinks with lower alcohol content.’

Swanswell’s website has lots of helpful tips and advice, not only on how to minimise the risks of drinking, but also about measuring units and drinking responsibly. To find out more visit: http://www.swanswell.org/helpful-information/alcohol

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-asks-Alcohol--do-you-know-your-limits.aspx Thu, 12 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New drug-driving law a step forward but better education vital, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell, a leading recovery charity, welcomes the  new drug-driving law but calls for better education to stop drink and drug-driving altogether.

As of today, anybody driving over new specified limits for 16 illicit and prescription drugs could face imprisonment, a fine or a driving ban.

Although drug-driving laws in England and Wales already exist, this new law will allow police to do roadside testing for certain drugs. This will make it easier to prove that an individual is impaired by drugs and is therefore unsafe to drive.  

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said:

‘Fewer people are drinking or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel than ever before, but this is still a big problem across the UK. This new law is most certainly a step in the right direction but more work needs to be done.

‘Statistics show us that in the last year almost 220,000 drivers in the UK have driven under the influence of drugs and this is particularly prominent in younger drivers. Although those aged 17-24 account for only 8% of the driving population, 22% of drink-drive deaths are caused by drivers in this age group.

‘Drink and drug-driving wastes hundreds of lives every year and costs the government millions of tax payer’s pounds. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

‘Hundreds of lives could be saved each year by introducing compulsory drink-drive education for learner drivers. With better and compulsory education as part of the learner process, drink and drug-driving could be eliminated within just a few generations.’

If you want to find our more information about Swanswell’s campaign or the work of Swanswell please visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-drug-driving-law-a-step-forward-but-better-education-vital-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 02 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to deliver £13 million alcohol and drug recovery service in Worcestershire]]> Swanswell, a national recovery charity, has been awarded a three year contract worth around £13 million, to deliver support for people affected by problem alcohol and drug use in Worcestershire.

Established nearly 50 years ago and with a proven track record of delivering similar services effectively, Swanswell will begin helping residents across the county from 01 April 2015.

Swanswell will deliver a full range of recovery services for young people and adults, with support for their friends and family, from hubs in Redditch, Kidderminster, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Malvern and Evesham.

People will also be able to access one-to-one and group support from a number of other locations including GP surgeries, pharmacists and other community venues across the county. Further details will be available in the coming months.

When it launches this year, the new service will be available throughout the week including some late evenings and weekends, as well as bank holidays including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

David Lewis, Swanswell’s Director of West Region, said: ‘We’re delighted that we have been awarded this contract to deliver an integrated alcohol and drug service to help communities in Worcestershire.

Problem alcohol and drug use affects thousands of lives across the county – not just the individual, but also their family, friends and wider community, so we’re keen to help as many people as possible with their journey towards recovery.

‘We have a wealth of experience delivering similar services in other parts of the country, and I know that we’ll deliver an excellent service in Worcestershire that will help people change and be happy’.

To find out more about Swanswell including the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-to-deliver-13-million-alcohol-and-drug-recovery-service-in-Worcestershire.aspx Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Blaby District Council ‘Walk for Change’ and Swanswell is their charity of choice]]> Today, staff and councillors from Blaby District Council will ‘Walk for Change’, and have chosen to raise money for the recovery charity, Swanswell.

Swanswell provide alcohol and drug services throughout Leicestershire and Rutland, helping people change and be happy, by achieving sustainable recovery.

This is part of Blaby District Council’s Workplace Challenge, where staff have been invited to get involved in health and wellbeing activities. Today’s walk is the first in a series of four activities, planned for the coming weeks.

Each activity aims to reflect one of Blaby District Council’s health priorities, which include, drugs and alcohol, dementia and healthy hearts, as well as raising money for different charities.

Stuart Haste, Operations Manager for Swanswell’s Leicestershire and Rutland service, said:

‘I am delighted that Swanswell has been chosen as Blaby District Council’s charity of choice for their ‘Walk for Change’.

‘Active involvement with Blaby District Council, and other councils, helps to promote visual recovery within the community, and this always has a positive impact.

‘Two of Swanswell’s team members, Emma Coleman and Simon Kilgallen, will be joining Blaby District Council staff on the walk, to support them and get involvedI know they'll agree this is great, and we'd like to thank Blaby District Council for recognising the work we do in the area, and supporting us in this way.’

Blaby District Council will also ‘Walk for Dementia’ for the Alzheimer’s Society, ‘Walk for Heart’ for the British Heart Foundation, and walk for Loros, a Leicestershire based charity.

Sam Strickson, Sport and Physical Activity Graduate (Legacy Maker) at Blaby District Council, said:

‘We are so pleased to be holding these walks and activities as part of our Workplace Challenge.

‘Swanswell are a fantastic recovery charity who work with us in Leicestershire and Rutland. Choosing them for our walk, based on our drug and alcohol health priority, was an obvious choice, and I am glad we are able to support them today.

‘Today is an opportunity for Blaby District Council staff and councillors, to get active, and engage with our workplace health and wellbeing activities. I am pleased that we have been able to link these events with our health priorities too.’

If you or your organisation would like to support more people to achieve recovery in Leicestershire and Rutland, please contact Cat Sanchez, Swanswell Fundraising Executive, at catherine.sanchez@swanswell.org or on 01788 559 428.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Blaby-District-Council-Walk-for-Change-and-Swanswell-is-their-charity-of-choice.aspx Fri, 16 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Make drinking less your New Year’s resolution in 2015, urges Swanswell]]> Drinking less alcohol should be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions to help them feel well in 2015, according to Swanswell.

Losing weight, exercising more and giving up smoking are usually among the most popular pledges for the next 12 months, but the national recovery charity’s encouraging more people to think about their drinking habits too.

January marks the start of a national campaign – Dry January – organised by Alcohol Concern with support from Public Health England.

It aims to encourage people to give up alcohol for 31 days (it’s not advisable for dependent drinkers to take part, as it could be dangerous to suddenly stop drinking) and to reconsider their alcohol use for the rest of the year.

Around one in four people are classed as hazardous drinkers. In 2012, there were 8,367 alcohol-related deaths in the UK – the majority of all alcohol-related deaths in England and Wales (63%) were caused by alcoholic liver disease that year.

Despite this, society still sees drinking alcohol as part of everyday life. However, cutting down is not as difficult as it might seem, and there are a number of benefits to drinking less.

Alcohol contains a large number of empty calories – if a man drinks up to the governments recommended daily limit of 3 to 4 units per day (or about a pint and a half of 5% lager) five days a week, they’d have the equivalent calories of four kebabs every week.

For a woman, having a large glass of wine five days a week for example (3.3 units per glass –  just over their recommended daily limit of 2 to 3 units per day), is like eating almost two pizzas every week on top of her usual diet, or 45,840 calories over the year.

So, cutting back on beers, wines and spirits will help people stay in shape over the next 12 months.

In the short term, alcohol use can disturb sleep, cause feelings of stress, loss of appetite, sweating, anxiety, and can affect judgement, so having fewer alcoholic drinks will improve health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.

Over time, regular alcohol use increases the risk of alcohol-related illnesses including some cancers, diabetes, and heart disease and liver problems. Cutting back can reduce those risks too.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘At this time of year, people start reflecting on what they’ve achieved over the last year, and what they think they should do differently in the coming 12 months.

So it’s a great time to review last year’s alcohol use and consider how drinking less can improve your life in 2015 – there are so many health benefits to cutting down and you’ll feel the benefit in your pocket too, as drinking less will cost you less.

‘But, don’t set unrealistic challenges like cutting alcohol out completely for the year – set smaller goals and reduce gradually to help you feel happier by the end of the year. Get your friends and family involved too – why not make it a group challenge?

If alcohol use is becoming a problem though, it’s a good time to take the first step and speak to organisations such as Swanswell, who can offer non-judgemental help and advice.’ 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Make-drinking-less-your-New-Years-resolution-in-2015-urges-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 30 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[2014 festive opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be staying open over the festive break to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

It’s business as usual for the national recovery charity as it offers bank holiday support on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, in addition to its normal services at all other times.

Christmas Day - Thursday 25 December 2014
A special bank holiday telephone service will be in operation for all Swanswell service areas between 9am and 5pm. Please call 0300 303 5000 for support and information.

Boxing Day - Friday 26 December 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

New Year's Day - Thursday 01 January 2015
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell’s been open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need them.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays are often difficult for people who need our support throughout the year, so we want to make sure help is available whenever it's needed - especially as many other services are closed for the festive break.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can turn around their lives for the better.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/2014-festive-opening-hours.aspx Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell awarded £3 million contract to continue delivering alcohol treatment in Sandwell]]> Swanswell has been awarded a contract worth a total of around £3 million to continue delivering community-based alcohol treatment in Sandwell.

It means the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will remain in the borough for at least the next three years, following the completion of a competitive tendering process.

The new contract, which began on 01 December 2014, builds on the existing service provision in Sandwell that Swanswell has been delivering since 2011, and now includes the full range of alcohol treatment, such as community-based detoxification.

Swanswell will remain at the Alberta Building, 128b Oldbury Road, Smethwick – alongside the drug service, delivered by IRiS Sandwell – as part of the borough’s integrated alcohol and drug service, and can be contacted on 0121 553 1333. 

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Director of Central Region, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been awarded this new contract to continue delivering alcohol treatment to adults in Sandwell and to expand the services we’re able to offer to the community.

Over the last three years, we’ve created some great partnerships with GPs and other health-related services in the borough, so we’re excited about building on those moving forwards to help even more people change their life for the better.’

Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for health, said: ‘I am pleased the contract with Swanswell has been continued to ensure we work with those who need support and tackle the effect of alcohol misuse on individuals, families and our communities.’

For details of how to get in touch with Swanswell's alcohol service in Sandwell, visit our Contact us page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-awarded-3-million-contract-to-continue-delivering-alcohol-treatment-in-Sandwell.aspx Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Better education key as one in five admit to morning-after drink-driving, says Swanswell]]> Better alcohol education is key to helping people understand the risks of drink-driving according to Swanswell, as a new survey reveals a fifth of motorists have got behind the wheel the morning after a night of heavy drinking.

The national recovery charity is responding to research from the Automobile Association (AA), which also found that over half (54%) of those asked had recognised the risks of drink-driving by agreeing a designated driver for their night out (Daily Mail).

But 19% admitted to driving the next morning – when they could still be over the legal limit – according to the survey.

More than a third of drivers (37%) also said they drank lots of water to reduce the effects of a hangover, with almost half of younger drivers aged between 18 and 24 turning to a fried breakfast before getting behind the wheel the next day.

230 people lost their lives and almost 10,000 were either injured or seriously injured in drink-drive incidents in 2012 alone.

According to the most recent figures from the Department for Transport, around 35% of reported alcohol-related crashes happen between midnight and 6am, with a further 12% happening between 6am and midday.

Swanswell believes drivers simply aren’t aware that alcohol can still be in the system for hours after they’ve finished drinking, and that common hangover ‘remedies’, like drinking lots of water or eating a fried breakfast, are myths and don’t speed up the recovery process.

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not easy to know when it’s safe to get behind the wheel the next day.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body, such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels.

Generally, alcohol leaves the body at a rate of around one unit per hour, plus another two hours to allow for the first drink to be processed.

So, if someone had five pints of 5% lager (2.8 units each) on a night out, it would take at least 16 hours for the alcohol to leave the body and for it to be safe to drive. Five medium glasses (175ml) of 13% wine (2.3 units each) would take at least 13 hours to clear the system.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The figures aren’t surprising to us but should act as a wake-up call to anyone who is thinking of getting behind the wheel the morning after a night of heavy drinking.

While it’s positive to see motorists recognise the immediate drink-drive risk by arranging a designated driver for a night out, many don’t realise how long it takes for alcohol to leave the body because they’re driving early the next day – when they could still be over the limit.

It only hits home when it’s too late and they’re pulled over by the police on the school run or on their way to work, breathalysed and arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Once convicted, they can face fines, a driving ban and even a prison sentence – they’re also sent on drink-drive education courses like those that we deliver. It’s here that they tell us they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel after drinking, if they knew what they did now after completing the programme.’

Swanswell has launched a petition calling on the government to introduce compulsory drink-drive education workshops for learner drivers, so that people are clear about the effects of alcohol on their ability to drive safely, before they get behind the wheel.

In the meantime, the national charity’s advice is clear. Debbie added: ‘The only way to be sure that you’re safe to drive the morning after, is to not drink at all on a night out. If you do, stop drinking early on and leave plenty of time before getting behind the wheel.’

To find out more about our drink-drive campaign and petition, visit our campaigns page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Better-education-key-as-one-in-five-admit-to-morning-after-drink-driving-says-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s morning-after drink-drive warning to festive party-goers]]> Swanswell's urging party-goers to think before they drink over the festive season, especially if they’re planning to get behind the wheel the next morning.

With a month of celebrations around the corner, the national recovery charity is raising awareness of the consequences of morning-after drink-driving, as millions prepare for weeknight office parties or time out with friends and family.

Traditionally, alcohol consumption increases by 40% during December and with it comes the increased risk of drivers being over the limit the next day, particularly if they’ve been out drinking late the night before and have to drive to work or do the school run.

230 people lost their lives and almost 10,000 were either injured or seriously injured in drink-drive incidents in 2012 alone.

According to the most recent figures from the Department for Transport, around 35% of reported alcohol-related crashes happen between midnight and 6am, with a further 12% happening between 6am and midday.

Swanswell believes drivers simply aren’t aware that alcohol can still be in the system for many hours after they’ve finished drinking, and that common myths about sleep, coffee and showers – among others – speeding up the recovery process aren’t true.

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not easy to know when it’s safe to get behind the wheel the next day.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body, such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels.

Generally, alcohol leaves the body at a rate of around one unit per hour, plus another two hours to allow for the first drink to be processed.

So, if someone had five pints of 5% lager (2.8 units each) on a night out, it would take at least 16 hours for the alcohol to leave the body and for it to be safe to drive. Five medium glasses (175ml) of 13% wine (2.3 units each) would take at least 13 hours to clear the system.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘For many, the festive season is a time for celebration it’s easy to stay late for one extra drink before you get a taxi home, ahead of a busy day at work or because you’ve got to do the school run in the morning.

Some people think that after a sleep, shower and a coffee, they’ll be safe to drive the next day – however, the reality soon sets in that they’re not, particularly after they’re pulled over by the police, breathalysed and arrested because they’re still over the limit.

Before they know it, they’re facing a New Year with a large fine, driving ban and a potential prison sentence because they didn’t realise how long alcohol stays in the body.

The best advice if you’re planning on driving the next day is not to drink at all the night before – but if you do, limit your drinking and stop early on, so there’s plenty of time for the alcohol to leave your system before driving the next morning.’

Better information is also key, and Swanswell is calling for compulsory drink-drive education workshops to be introduced into the learner driver process, so that people are aware of the consequences of drink-driving.

Debbie added: ‘Drink-drive education already exists but it’s only offered to people when it’s too late – when they’ve been caught and convicted.

We believe if it’s offered to new drivers before they’ve passed their test, it’ll help them make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, and stop them getting behind the wheel after drinking in the first place.’    

A petition – which requires over 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in the House of Commons – has been launched by the national charity to encourage decision-makers to introduce the workshops.

Video: What happens when you're pulled over on suspicion of drink-driving. 

You can also read the latest blog from our Chief Executive, Debbie Bannigan, about how to avoid morning-after regrets when planning a works festive party.  

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-morning-after-drinkdrive-festive-warning.aspx Fri, 28 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[100,000 signature target for Swanswell's drink-drive education calls]]> One hundred thousand signatures is the target to get Swanswell’s calls for better drink-drive education debated in the House of Commons.

The national recovery charity recently launched a campaign at the three main party conferences to introduce short, compulsory workshops into the driver learner process to help people better understand the consequences of driving after having alcohol.

It includes a government e-petition for people to pledge their support by March 2015, encouraging MPs to consider the need for better drink-drive education.

Swanswell’s using Alcohol Awareness Week and Road Safety Week (17 to 23 November 2014) to combine messages around the dangers of alcohol use before getting behind the wheel, as part of the campaign.

During the week, the charity will be taking to social media to show a number of short videos that emphasise the need to ‘drive sober’, and include interviews with Brake – the charity behind Road Safety Week – and West Mercia Police.

In 2012, 230 people died in drink-drive incidents and almost 10,000 more were either injured or seriously injured, costing society hundreds of millions of pounds a year to deal with.

Although education already exists around how alcohol affects judgement, reaction times and someone’s ability to drive safely, Swanswell believes the information may not be in the right place.

Currently, drivers are only offered practical courses about the impact alcohol has on their ability to be safe behind the wheel, once they’ve been convicted of drink-driving – when the damage has already been done.

Swanswell believes that short, practical workshops – like those already available to drink-drivers – should be open to everyone, as a compulsory part of the driver learning process, to help people understand the risks before they can drive.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Education is key to helping new drivers understand the hazards on the roads – and drink-driving is one that currently doesn’t get the attention it needs.

It’s very difficult for people to visualise how alcohol can affect reaction times, judgement and decision-making in a theory test, but experience shows us that workshops with practical examples do help.

In fact, people who’ve been on our drink-drive education courses tell us that they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel in the first place, if they had known what they do after completing our programmes – that for us speaks volumes.

However, it’s not something we can get the decision-makers to consider introducing without your help – it could save a loved one’s life.’

The campaign is being supported by Jane Marsh from Warwickshire, whose 20-year-old daughter Kelly lost her life after the car she was a passenger in hit a tree on a bend, in November 2005.

The 19-year-old driver was almost twice the legal limit – she received minor injuries.

Jane said: ‘Kelly’s last few moments of her life were sheer terror, I know – I saw it etched on her beautiful face while she laid there in the cold mortuary. She didn’t deserve to die in such a horrific way. No one should.       

Kelly’s human right to live was taken away because someone wanted a drink and thought it was ok to get behind the wheel. Far too many people play Russian roulette with people’s lives every day – there are too many stories like ours, my Kel’s.

I simply do not have the words to tell you what the pain of missing our Kel is like, not just on special days but every single day.

So all I can do is beg all of you with the means to influence and change the law to remember Kel and my family, and the thousands of other families affected by drink-drivers – make education, zero tolerance and tougher penalties your objectives for change.’

To find out more about our drink-drive campaign, visit our campaigns page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/signature-target-for-Swanswell-drink-drive-education-calls.aspx Mon, 17 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calorie calls for alcohol labels]]> Calls by a group of public health doctors to introduce calorie content on alcohol labels are being welcomed by Swanswell.

But the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes existing health warnings need to be more prominent, so that people can make more informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.

Swanswell is responding to research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), which is calling for changes to labelling to help reduce obesity, after finding 80% of adults surveyed had no idea about the calorie content of alcoholic drinks (BBC News, 2014).

The group also said calorie information should be displayed on restaurant menus, and on beer mats and pumps in pubs.

Part of the research included a small experiment in a pub. The RSPH found that customers who were given calorie information had 400 fewer calories on average, compared to those who hadn’t received it. 

As a guide, a large glass of white wine has around the same number of calories as a chocolate ring doughnut; four double gin and tonics equals a chicken korma and rice; and a bottle of alco-pop is around the same as a slice of pizza (Independent, 2014).

Alcohol is exempt from European Union food labelling laws, so does not currently need calorie information on labels, but in December, the European Commission is set to consider whether drinks should also carry this information.

Swanswell is encouraged by calls to add extra information to labels, but thinks existing warnings should be more prominent to help people make informed choices about their relationship with alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Education is key to helping people make informed choices about their alcohol use, so we’re encouraged by calls to add more information on labels for beer, wine and spirits, and in pubs.

However, it’s an opportunity to highlight the need for more prominent placement of existing health warnings on labels, and for better information at the point of sale in the off-licence trade, such as supermarkets.

This, along with other measures including the introduction of minimum unit pricing, will go a long way to tackle the harms of problem alcohol use and the £21 billion cost to society.

However, it’s not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’   

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-alcohol-calorie-calls.aspx Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Saving lives: Swanswell calls on MPs to introduce compulsory drink-drive workshops]]> Compulsory workshops around drink-driving should be introduced into the driver learning process to help save lives, according to Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is calling for better education as part of a wider campaign to end road deaths and injuries caused by alcohol (and drug) use.

Over the last few weeks, Swanswell has held fringe events at Labour (Manchester), Conservative (Birmingham) and Liberal Democrats (Glasgow) Party Conferences to raise awareness of drink-driving and introduce a simple solution that could stop it happening.

In 2012, 230 people died in drink-drive incidents and almost 10,000 more were either injured or seriously injured, costing society hundreds of millions of pounds a year to deal with.

Although education already exists around the effects of alcohol on judgement, reaction times and someone’s ability to drive safely, Swanswell has been asking conference delegates about whether this information is in the right place.

Currently, drivers are only offered practical courses about the impact alcohol has on their ability to be safe behind the wheel once they’ve been convicted of drink-driving – when the damage has already been done.  

Swanswell believes that short, practical workshops – like those already available to drink-drivers – should be open to everyone, as a compulsory part of the driver learning process, to help people understand the risks before they can drive.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Drink-driving costs hundreds of lives every year and affects thousands more who have to pick up the pieces.

However, these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable through better education and clearer information, much of which is currently only available after someone has been caught and convicted of drink-driving.  

So, Swanswell is asking the decision-makers to make this education available sooner – at the beginning of the driver learning process – to ensure everyone is clear of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

People using our court-mandated drink-drive awareness courses often tell us that they would not have driven after drinking, if they’d known what they did after completing the programme – that for us, speaks volumes.’

The campaign is being supported by Jane Marsh from Warwickshire, whose 20-year-old daughter Kelly lost her life after the car she was a passenger in hit a tree on a bend in November 2005.

The 19-year-old driver was almost twice the legal limit – she received minor injuries.

Jane said: ‘Kelly’s last few moments of her life were sheer terror, I know – I saw it etched on her beautiful face while she laid there in the cold mortuary. She didn’t deserve to die in such a horrific way. No one should.       

Kelly’s human right to live was taken away because someone wanted a drink and thought it was ok to get behind the wheel. Far too many people play Russian roulette with people’s lives every day – there are too many stories like ours, my Kel’s.

I simply do not have the words to tell you what the pain of missing our Kel is like, not just on special days but every single day.

So all I can do is beg all of you with the means to influence and change the law to remember Kel and my family, and the thousands of other families affected by drink-drivers – make education, zero tolerance and tougher penalties your objectives for change.’

Swanswell has also launched a petition calling on the government to introduce compulsory workshops. To find out more about our drink-drive campaign, click here

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Saving-lives-Swanswell-calls-on-MPs-to-introduce-compulsory-drink-drive-workshops.aspx Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell supports recovery in Leicestershire and Rutland]]> Swanswell's joining a number of other organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland next week to hold a number of events as part of Recovery Month.

Between 20 and 26 September, the national recovery charity - which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - will be highlighting help and advice available to people affected by problem alcohol and drug use across the area, including individuals, their family and friends.

The week of events - organised through a partnership of Leicestershire Police, substance misuse commissioners, service providers and service users - are open to anyone, and aim to promote recovery and to highlight that people can turn their lives around with support.

Events include:

Sunday 21 September
Swanswell's Loughborough office is open to provide information and support during the Loughborough Recovery Walk, which begins at 11am.

Wednesday 24 September
Swanswell's holding an Open Day at its Loughborough and Coalville offices to celebrate and promote recovery between 10am and 4pm, offering advice and information about the services on offer.

For a full list of events during Recovery Week in Leicestershire and Rutland, click here.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-supports-recovery-in-Leicestershire-and-Rutland.aspx Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New drink-drive research highlights better education need, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s renewing calls for better education around the consequences of drink-driving after new research reveals one in six women have got behind the wheel while over the legal limit.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of a survey, published today by Direct Line Car Insurance and Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

According to the survey, millions of women in the UK regularly consume alcohol and take to the roads, with half admitting they’re confused about how much they can legally drink before getting behind the wheel.

It also highlights an increase in drink-drive convictions among female drivers, rising from 9% in 1998 to 17% in 2012.

Feeling physically ‘OK to drive’ and a belief that they can just ‘drive carefully’ were among the main explanations given by women as to why they’ve got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, according to the survey (Guardian).      

230 people were killed in drink-drive crashes on UK roads in 2012, according to the latest government statistics, and almost 10,000 were injured or seriously injured.

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not possible to say how much someone can drink and still stay below the limit of 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels at the time.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Hundreds of lives are needlessly lost and thousands of people are injured every year in drink-drive incidents – all of which can be prevented in the first place.

Today’s research further highlights the need for better education and clearer information about the risks of getting behind the wheel after drinking – any amount of alcohol can affect judgement and reaction times, leading to serious consequences.

While the survey focuses on women, it’s important to stress that there are thousands of convictions among men too and we often hear the same explanations about why people drove after drinking, regardless of gender.

People who’ve completed our drink-drive awareness programmes often tell us that they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel after having alcohol, if they’d have known what they do now – that for us, speaks volumes.’

Swanswell will be taking its calls to the decision-makers during September and October when it runs fringe events at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats party conferences.    

Debbie added: ‘Education already exists to help people understand the consequences of drink-driving but it tends to be offered when it’s too late – when someone’s been convicted.

Later this month, we’ll be revealing a simple solution that could save hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

‘Ultimately however, the best way to ensure you’re not over the limit and putting lives at risk is not to drink at all if you’re planning to drive.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/drinkdrive-research-highlights-better-education-need.aspx Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Bank holiday opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be open as usual over the August bank holiday to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Appointments, drop-in facilities and telephone support will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday 25 August 2014. Services will be available as usual at all other times. 

August bank holiday - 25 August 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Bank-holiday-opening-hours-August.aspx Thu, 21 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for cigarette-style health warnings on alcohol labels]]> Calls from an influential group of MPs for cigarette-style health warnings to be introduced on alcohol packaging to warn people about the health risks, are being welcomed by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a host of recommendations made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Misuse, as part of their 2015 Manifesto.

MPs from the APPG are calling on political parties to commit to ten measures to effectively minimise alcohol-related harm in the UK, which costs the economy around £21 billion a year to deal with.

The group has said clear health warnings should be placed on drinks labels to highlight the risks of alcohol, similar to those on cigarette packets that warn about the risk of cancer and other related problems.

Calls to introduce alcohol minimum unit pricing, strengthen marketing regulations to protect children and young people, and for an increase in funding for treatment are also among the recommendations being welcomed by Swanswell.

In addition, MPs have asked for public health to be introduced as a fifth licensing objective to help local authorities make licensing decisions, based on the local population's health need and the density of existing outlets that sell alcohol.

Swanswell has been a regular guest at the APPG on Alcohol Misuse this year and is pleased with the widespread recommendations included in the 2015 Manifesto.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Education is key to helping people make informed choices about their relationship with alcohol, so we welcome calls for clear and more prominent health warnings on labels.

Other measures suggested by the APPG, including introducing minimum unit pricing and increased funding for treatment, will also make a big difference to the lives of millions of people drinking at harmful levels, so we hope politicians will take this seriously.

Ultimately though, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’              

The APPG has also asked for a reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales – from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg/100ml of blood, in line with the rest of Europe, starting with drivers under 21.

In September and October, Swanswell will be raising awareness of the consequences of drink-driving, particularly the morning after, while it’s at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats fringe events. It’ll debate a solution to end deaths linked to drink-driving.

Debbie added: ‘Around 280 people needlessly lose their lives every year on our roads because of drink-driving – these deaths can be prevented, so we need a clear solution to ensure people aren’t risking their lives and others by getting behind the wheel after drinking.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-calls-for-cigarette-style-health-warnings-on-alcohol-labels.aspx Mon, 11 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes the introduction of ‘sobriety tags’ alongside treatment and interventions]]> Swanswell believes that plans to use ‘sobriety tags’ on people convicted of serious drink-related offences will only work, if good quality treatment and interventions are offered alongside.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that several London boroughs will begin a pilot scheme, where mandatory ‘sobriety tags’ will be introduced to force abstinence for alcohol misuse offences, such as drink-driving, common assault and criminal damage.

Electronic ‘sobriety tags’ will be used to monitor the amount of alcohol in the blood, aiming to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidences and the cost of alcohol-related crime to statutory services, including the police and health.

 Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s important to focus on the individuals that have committed a crime where alcohol use was a contributing factor. It's the person who commits the crime, not the alcohol, and if a period of abstinence can help them to address their offending behaviour, then any tool that helps people to take control of their drinking and take responsibility for their offending is welcomed.

‘Alcohol-related crime creates victims and we commend any method that helps with preventing these crimes.

It’s important the pilot scheme includes access to good quality treatment and interventions, as well as ‘sobriety tags’, otherwise they’ll fall into a revolving door of release, re-arrest, release and then re-arrest again – and that won’t work.

If the London boroughs taking part in the pilot are serious about getting to the root cause of crime, then they need to tackle the alcohol use alongside the criminal consequences.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-the-introduction-of-sobriety-tags-alongside-treatment-and-interventions.aspx Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Weeks to go before Swanswell team completes 13,000ft fundraising challenge]]> There’s only a couple of weeks to go before a group of daring Swanswell team members take part in a 13,000ft fundraising challenge to raise money for the national recovery charity.

The team, who are from Leicestershire, Coventry and Warwickshire, are set to jump out of a plane 2.5 miles above Brackley after choosing to complete a sponsored tandem sky dive at Hinton Skydiving Centre.

Head office-based Ritchie Bosworth (Finance Manager), Stuart Goodwin (PR and Public Policy Manager), Josh Meahan (Finance Administrator), and Mike Smith (Information Analyst) will be completing the challenge on Friday 08 August 2014.

Leicestershire and Rutland-based Stuart Haste (Operations Manager) will be jumping on Friday 05 September 2014, again over Brackley.

After free-falling for 8,000ft at speeds of around 120mph, the parachutes will open at 5,000ft, when team members will float above the Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire countryside for around five minutes before landing.

The team are on course to raise around £2,000 for Swanswell to help more people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Stuart Goodwin, PR and Public Policy Manager for Swanswell, said: ‘It’s getting close now and the nerves are setting in, but we’re all focused on achieving our fundraising target to help even more people overcome problem alcohol and drug use.

 

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be continuing to raise as much money as we can, so we can help make a big difference to as many lives as we can.’

If you’d like to support the team, visit the Just Giving page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Weeks-to-go-before-Swanswell-team-completes-13000ft-fundraising-challenge.aspx Mon, 21 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New alcohol dementia warnings welcomed by Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s welcoming new NHS proposals to warn people about the risks of alcohol dementia, as part of a health MOT given from the age of 40.

But the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is encouraging health services to make this information available to everyone to minimise the risk of it happening in the first place.

It comes as the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests in new guidance that advice about lifestyles should be included in health checks currently offered to all patients aged between 40 and 74 (The Telegraph).

It includes a specific mention to warn middle-aged patients that ‘there is no safe level of alcohol consumption’ in relation to their future dementia risk, and encourages them to ‘…reduce the amount they drink as much as possible.’

The proposals are part of wider changes to improve lifestyles and reduce the chance of dementia, and follows research which suggests one in three Alzheimer’s cases could be prevented by changes such as doing more exercise and quitting smoking.

Brought on by regular alcohol use, alcohol dementia is a condition similar to other forms of dementia, often making diagnosis difficult.

However, if it’s caught early enough and with the right treatment, the effects can potentially be reversed – and in many cases, people can return to independent living (Smith I and Hillman A., 1999).

Research suggests alcohol dementia affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK (Lishman WA., 1990) , but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s (Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M and Garralda E., 1998). Swanswell’s youngest case was 27.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased that alcohol dementia is being recognised by the health service and we think the recommended warnings are a positive step forward.

However, we’d encourage decision-makers to make this information available to everyone – at any age – so they’re aware of the potential risks associated with drinking any amount of alcohol, particularly those linked to an increased chance of dementia.

We’re aware of alcohol dementia cases in people as young as 27, so it makes sense to offer education before they start drinking, helping them make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol and reducing the risk of the condition happening at all.’

Swanswell’s developing a model of treatment for people already affected by alcohol dementia, which could help them return to independent living and improve their quality of life.

Debbie added: ‘With proper investment in research, diagnosis and treatment, decision-makers could help make alcohol dementia a thing of the past, but we all have a part to play – it’s not something anyone can tackle on their own.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-alcohol-dementia-warnings-welcomed-by-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 15 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell renews minimum unit pricing calls as government launches new alcohol pledges]]> Swanswell’s renewing calls for the introduction of minimum unit pricing, as new pledges from the government and drinks industry are announced to help tackle the £21 billion cost of alcohol-related harm.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to an announcement from the Home Office after an ‘alcohol summit’ between ministers and industry representatives yesterday (07 July 2014).

A series of new pledges were agreed at the meeting to help people ‘drink responsibly’ and ‘make healthier choices’ including producers calling time on super-strength products in large cans, and retailers committing to responsible alcohol displays and promotions.

In addition, pubs and bars are being urged to stock house wines below 12.5% and to promote lower-alcohol or non-alcoholic products to customers.

The Home Office has also announced £250,000 of initial funding from the drinks industry for alcohol education programmes in schools.

However, there was still no mention of re-introducing plans for minimum unit pricing, shelved by the government in 2013 in favour of a ban on selling alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT, which was introduced earlier this year.        

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we welcome any action to help tackle problem alcohol use, we’re not seeing it on the scale it needs to be to make a big difference to the millions of people drinking at harmful levels.

There are some positive steps forward including extra funding for school alcohol education programmes, a commitment to responsible alcohol displays in shops, and promoting lower-alcohol and non-alcoholic products in pubs and bars.

However, there’s still a lot more that could be done to make the sort of changes we need to tackle the £21 billion drink.

Introducing minimum unit pricing, for example, could save hundreds of lives every year and reduce alcohol-related hospital admissions among heavy drinkers by tens of thousands – something we think is certainly worth trying.

‘Ultimately, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’             

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-renews-minimum-unit-pricing-calls-as-government-launches-new-alcohol-pledges.aspx Tue, 08 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell team members set to complete 13,000ft fundraising challenge]]> Five daring team members from Leicestershire, Coventry and Warwickshire are set to take part in a 13,000ft fundraising challenge for Swanswell this summer.

The team – who work for the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – have chosen to raise money by jumping out of a plane above Brackley, as part of a tandem sky dive at Hinton Skydiving Centre.

Head office-based Ritchie Bosworth (Finance Manager), Stuart Goodwin (PR and Public Policy Manager), Josh Meahan (Finance Administrator), and Mike Smith (Information Analyst) will be completing the challenge on Friday 08 August 2014.

Leicestershire and Rutland-based Stuart Haste (Operations Manager) will be jumping in September.

It’ll involve an 8,000ft freefall at speeds of around 120mph before the parachutes open at around 5,000ft above the ground.

The team are aiming to raise at least £2,000 for the charity to help more people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Stuart Goodwin, PR and Public Policy Manager for Swanswell, said: ‘We’re all really looking forward to the opportunity of raising money for Swanswell at an eye-watering 13,000ft.

Although a couple of the team have been skydiving in the past, it’s the first time the majority have done anything like this, and I think the nervous excitement is already beginning to show.

It’ll be challenging from a personal point of view but if we can raise awareness of problem alcohol and drug use, and raise money to help even more people who need it, it’ll be worth it.’

If you’d like to support the team, visit the Just Giving page. 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-team-members-set-to-complete-.aspx Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New home for our alcohol service in Sandwell]]> Swanswell's alcohol service for adults in Sandwell will be delivered from a new home from Monday 23 June 2014.

People will be able to access advice and support from the new centre at:

Alberta Building
128B Oldbury Road
Smethwick
B66 1JE

Appointments are available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am - 5pm, and Wednesday from 9am - 7pm. A drop-in service is also available Monday to Friday from 9am - 4.30pm. Swanswell will continue to work from community locations and GP surgeries across Sandwell.

Swanswell's alcohol team in Sandwell will also have a new number from Monday 23 June 2014. For enquiries, please call:

0121 553 1333

See our Contact Us page for details.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-home-for-our-Sandwell-alcohol-service.aspx Thu, 19 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Days to go before memorial bike ride helps raise money for Swanswell]]> There’s only a few days to go until a sponsored bike ride takes place to remember a Coventry mother who died last year after falling ill, and to raise money for Swanswell.

Jessica Smith contacted the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – about her plans for a memorial bike ride after her mother, Jane Smith, had previously accessed support from the city-based service.

The event is set to take place on Sunday 22 June 2014 and will involve cycling around eight city highlights, starting at the Ricoh Arena at 9am before taking in sites including Coventry Cathedral, Lady Godiva Statue and Memorial Park.

The 21-year-old wants to raise £1,400 for a plot at St. Paul’s cemetery, so she and her brother Joseph have somewhere they can go to sit with their mum, who died in June 2013.

Jessica has also decided to donate any money raised over the original target to Swanswell to help other people affected by problem alcohol – or drug – use after her mother received support from the Coventry service a few years ago.

Jessica said: ‘Anyone who has lost a close friend or family member will know how hard it is to deal with. Unfortunately for me and my brother, we’ve not been able to save enough money for an area for friends and family to pay their respects.

So, we decided to have a memorial bike ride to help contribute towards those costs and also to raise money for Swanswell, who had previously given my mum some fantastic support when she needed it – for which we’re very grateful.

We hope some of the money raised will go towards helping others who might benefit from the support my mum had.’

In total, 15 residents have signed up to take part in the 19.7-mile bike ride around Coventry.

Jessica added: ‘We’d love to make the memorial bike ride a regular feature in Coventry to raise money for good causes such as Swanswell. It’s the perfect way to remember my mum, while helping to make a difference to other people’s lives.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Days-to-go-before-memorial-bike-ride-helps-raise-.aspx Thu, 19 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell repeats better education calls as parents give children alcohol for finishing exams]]> Swanswell’s repeating calls for better education and clearer information around alcohol use, as new figures reveal one in four parents will give their child drink to reward them for finishing exams.

The national recovery charity is responding to a report by Drinkaware, which found on average, children aged 14 to 17 will be given around nine units of alcohol to help them celebrate – the equivalent of a bottle of wine or around four cans of lager (Independent).

It also revealed that 54% of parents had given their child alcohol outside of the exam celebration period, and that 86% said they’d done so because their child had asked for a drink.

According to Drinkaware, around 15,000 children were hospitalised between 2010 and 2013 because of excessive alcohol use. In addition, the report found one in five parents don’t understand medical guidance around children and alcohol use.

Swanswell believes the report highlights the need for better education and clearer information for parents and young people, so they understand the risks of alcohol use – particularly to children.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s only right that children and their parents celebrate the end of a tough spell of revision and exams – but is alcohol really the best approach to take?

Giving a child any amount of alcohol could lead to problems but excessive amounts – especially at levels mentioned in the report – can cause some serious harm and could leave them in a vulnerable state, particularly if they then go out for the night.

It’s also fuelling a child’s impression that alcohol should be used in all types of celebration – they’ll already be seeing it at weddings, birthdays, christenings and during the World Cup – and they’ll assume it’s expected or normal.

So, it’s vital that parents and children have access to better education and clearer information to help them understand the harm that alcohol can cause, and that open and informed conversations about alcohol use are encouraged at home.’

It comes just months after Swanswell carried out an investigation in to alcohol exposure and children after learning thousands of primary schools were setting up licensed bars for parents at sports days, discos and fetes.

Debbie added: ‘While primary schools weren’t selling alcohol to under-18s, research told us that having licensed bars at events aimed at children would give them the impression that it was normal to drink at any social occasion when they’re old enough.

As with rewarding exam success, it’s important to create environments where there’s no alcohol at all to show that it’s perfectly acceptable not to drink, and that they can still enjoy themselves with a soft drink or other non-alcoholic alternative.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-repeats-education-calls-as-parents-give-children-alcohol.aspx Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell on hand for advice at Download festival]]> Swanswell’s on hand at one of the country’s leading rock festivals in Leicestershire this week to offer advice and support for anyone with questions about alcohol or drugs.

Team members from the national recovery charity are handing out harm minimisation advice and information at the Download festival in Castle Donington between Wednesday 11 June (when the campsite opens) and Sunday 15 June (when the festival ends).

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is with North West Leicestershire District Council’s Community Safety Team at the main campsite between 10am and 8pm daily.

While there’s no particular concerns about alcohol or drug use at the festival, visitors are able to find the team next to the welfare tent in the main camp site, where they can get confidential advice should they need it.

Team members are also on hand around the camp site and main arena across the festival weekend, offering information and Swanswell merchandise.

It’s the third year the charity has provided support at the Download festival, and complements Swanswell’s existing substance misuse support service for adults and young people in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Caroline Gadsby, Operations Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘Although there’s no particular concerns about alcohol or drugs at the festival, we’re available if people need us.

We’re on site to answer questions, give confidential advice or just to have a friendly chat, from the moment the camp site gates open, right through to the last day of the festival.

Outside of the festival, we also provide support for anyone living in Leicestershire and Rutland who is worried about problem alcohol and drug use, by calling 0300 303 5000, popping in to one of our offices or to one of our sessions in community locations.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-on-hand-at-Download-festival.aspx Thu, 12 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for better alcohol education as ministers propose four-fold fines increase]]> Swanswell’s calling for better alcohol education to stop offences such as ‘being drunk and disorderly’ happening in the first place, as ministers plan a four-fold increase in maximum fines available to magistrates.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news that the government is set to quadruple the limit for financial penalties for all types of crime to deter people from breaking the law again.

Guidelines set out how magistrates determine the appropriate punishment according to the seriousness of the offence, ranging from level one to the highest category, level five.

It could mean someone selling alcohol to a drunk person or being drunk and disorderly in a public place – a ‘level three’ offence – for example, might have to pay up to £4,000 if found guilty, an increase of £3,000 on the current limit.

Magistrates will also be able impose unlimited fines for more serious offences including careless driving or driving without insurance.

But Swanswell believes there should be more focus on better education and clearer information around alcohol harms to stop drink-related offences from happening in the first place.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we’re not condoning any of the offences, simply increasing maximum fine levels will not necessarily have the desired effect the government is looking for.

However, if people had access to better education and clearer information about the harm alcohol can cause, it’s likely they’ll think twice before getting into a situation where they could be breaking the law and finding themselves massively out of pocket.

If people are convicted, they should be given more support to identify and tackle the reasons behind their drinking behaviour, so they don’t reoffend in future.’

The plans are set to be debated in Parliament but could come in to force relatively quickly once approved after the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was passed in 2012 giving magistrates the power to impose unlimited fines for some offences.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/alcohol-education-calls-as-ministers-plan-fines-rise.aspx Tue, 10 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[World Cup: Swanswell shows red card to morning-after drink-driving]]> Swanswell’s calling for morning-after drink-driving to be given the red card ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is raising awareness of the consequences of getting behind the wheel after a heavy night of alcohol use.

With many of the games kicking off at 8pm or 11pm – including England’s opener against Italy – due to the time difference, pubs have been allowed to open until 1am for selected matches, meaning thousands of fans will be out drinking late during the week.        

Swanswell’s concerned it will put lives at risk as motorists could still be over the drink-drive limit the next day when they’re on the school run or driving to work, without realising.              

Provisional figures estimate that 280 people were killed in drink drive-related accidents in 2012 (most recent figures available), accounting for around one in five deaths on Britain’s roads.

Around 18% of drink-drive accidents happen the morning after (between 4am and 12pm) – it’s not surprising, as research found more than half of young drivers (53%) and over a third of older motorists (36%) risked lives by driving the morning after drinking.

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not easy to know when it’s safe to get behind the wheel the next day.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels at the time.

Generally, alcohol leaves the body at a rate of around one unit per hour plus another two hours to allow for the first drink to be processed.

So, if a driver had five pints of 5% lager (2.8 units each), it would take at least 16 hours for the alcohol to leave the body and for it to be safe to drive. Similarly, five medium glasses (175ml) of 13% wine (2.3 units each) would take at least 13 hours to clear the system.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘For many, the World Cup is a time for celebration but for some, it can also be a time for commiseration – particularly if your team loses out in extra time or penalties.

But, just imagine if you’re the one losing out because you had another drink in extra time, you get in your car the next morning to go to work or to take your children to school, and you’re pulled over by the police.

Before you know it, you’re asked to provide a breath test and are arrested because the alcohol from last night is still in your system – you are over the drink-drive limit.

You could be the one facing penalties – if convicted, you’ll receive a large fine, get a driving ban and can even be given a prison sentence.

Having any amount of alcohol in the body can affect judgement and reaction times, so Swanswell’s urging people to think twice before putting lives at risk.

Debbie added: ‘There’s no easy way to know if you’re under the limit or safe to drive and alcohol affects people in different ways, so we’d recommend not drinking at all if you’re planning on getting behind the wheel the next day.

If you do drink alcohol on a night out, stick to recommended limits, alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft drink, have lower strength alcoholic drinks, and stop drinking well before the end of the night to allow the body to process alcohol before the morning.’

Hand-held breathalysers are another way of helping people understand when it’s safe to drive the next day.

In some countries, such as France, it’s a legal requirement to carry a self-test breathalyser to ensure drivers are not over the limit, something that could be beneficial to introduce in the UK, so more lives aren’t put at risk by drivers who are over the limit.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-shows-red-card-to-morning-after-drinking.aspx Wed, 04 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges the government to do more to tackle problem drinking following the Statistics on Alcohol – England, 2014 report]]> A new report about statistics on alcohol in England, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, is another clear example that more needs to be done to tackle problem drinking, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to research showing health issues relating to alcohol use and misuse in England.           

The report found that among adults who had drank alcohol in the last week, over half, 55 % of men and 53% of women, drank more than the recommended daily amounts. Shockingly, 31% of men and 24% of women had drank more than twice the recommended amounts. The 2013 report shows very similar figures, displaying barely any change in people’s alcohol consumption.

Therefore, it isn’t surprising that we are still seeing an increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions. The report states that in 2012/13, there were an estimated 325,870 admissions where the primary diagnosis was attributable to the consumption of alcoho1. This is 124,970 more admissions than the previous year where there were 200,900 admissions. These hospital admissions have also increased since 2010/11, when there were 198,900 admissions of this type and a massive 41% increase since 2002/03 when there were around 142,000 such admissions.

Swanswell believes the government needs to provide better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use before we begin to see a decrease in these figures, instead of a rise year-on-year. We need to help future generations make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, and avoid drinking behaviour that could damage their health before we have a positive impact tackling society’s alcohol problem.

Introducing minimum unit pricing alongside other measures linked to alcohol promotion, placement and the product itself would also be a vital step in reducing the harms associated with problem drinking. 

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While these are very worrying statistics, they’re not surprising – however, they should act as a wake-up call to everyone about the scale of problem alcohol use in England.

The problem is that alcohol has become so integrated into everyday life that it’s difficult for someone to know when drinking is becoming a problem. There are also so many mixed messages around alcohol, which add to the confusion.

We need to cut through the misinformation about alcohol and its effects. It’s vital that people have access to better education and clearer information – and that governments take appropriate action to remove mixed messaging around alcohol – so that they can make informed decisions to help them be safe.

‘Problem alcohol use costs the economy around £21 billion a year to deal with, including up to £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more dealing with related crime, lost working hours and other associated problems. The government needs to work together with our health and education systems to tackle this growing problem, so that we can see healthier future generations.

Ultimately, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-the-government-to-do-more-to-tackle-problem-drinking-following-the-Statistics-on-Alc.aspx Thu, 29 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes the below-cost ban on alcohol but calls for wider measures]]> Swanswell welcomes a new ban, implemented today, stopping the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT. The ban prevents businesses from selling alcohol at heavily discounted prices and aims to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and its associated impact on alcohol-related crime and health harms.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, supports the government’s below-cost ban on alcohol but calls for wider measures to be implemented to help tackle alcohol misuse. Swanswell believes the below-cost ban won’t be as effective as charging a minimum of 45p per unit of alcohol in reducing alcohol-related deaths and crime.

The University of Sheffield predict the below-cost ban will only reduce overall alcohol consumption by 0.04% (this equates to 0.3 units or less than half a pint of beer per drinker, per year). However, they predict the impact of a 45p minimum unit price would be around 40 to 50 times larger than the below-cost ban.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said:  ‘While it’s great to see the government taking steps to reduce the impact that alcohol is having on society, we still need to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

‘Reports suggest that a below-cost ban is likely to only affect a small number of alcohol sales that are heavily discounted, so there will still be high-strength lagers and ciders available at low-cost, which misses the point of what a minimum unit price will achieve.

Research suggests a minimum unit price of 45p would see a reduction in 635 alcohol-related deaths per year, 23,700 hospital admissions and 34,200 crimes. The below-cost ban is estimated to see a reduction of 15 alcohol-related deaths per year, 500 hospital admissions and 900 crimes.

However, price is only one element that needs to be considered – promotion, place and the product itself should be investigated too, alongside better alcohol education and clearer information to help people make informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-the-below-cost-ban-on-alcohol-but-calls-for-wider-measures.aspx Wed, 28 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Bank holiday opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be open as usual over the late May bank holiday to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Appointments, drop-in facilities and telephone support will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday 26 May 2014. Services will be available as usual at all other times. 

Late May bank holiday - 26 May 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Bank-holiday-opening-hours.aspx Fri, 23 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Millions of lives could be improved by better understanding of alcohol dementia, Swanswell says]]> Millions of lives could be improved world-wide by increasing investment in research, treatment and awareness-raising of a form of dementia caused by regular alcohol use, says Swanswell.

It’s Dementia Awareness Week from 18 to 24 May 2014 (organised by Alzheimer’s Society), and the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is using this week to raise awareness of alcohol dementia.

It’s a condition similar to other forms of dementia, often making diagnosis difficult, but if caught early enough and with the right treatment, the effects can potentially be reversed – and in many cases, people can return to independent living (Smith I and Hillman A, 1999).

Research suggests alcohol dementia affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK (Lishman WA, 1990) , but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s (Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M and Garralda E, 1998). Swanswell’s youngest case was 27.

However, the charity’s concerned that people aren’t as aware of the condition compared to other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Alcohol dementia was also missed off the world agenda at the G8 dementia summit in London last December.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘At least 80,000 people in the UK alone are affected by alcohol dementia – and potentially millions more globally – according to research.

Yet, we rarely hear about alcohol dementia and it’s often missed off the world’s health agenda, even when Alzheimer’s and other similar forms of the condition are discussed at high level meetings, such as the G8 dementia summit.

Alcohol dementia is caused by regular or prolonged alcohol use, so there’s every chance we can stop it happening in the first place, by ensuring people have access to better education and clearer information about the long-term risks of drinking.

‘We also know that with early diagnosis and effective treatment, those already affected by the condition could see the effects reversed or relieved, with many being able to continue living independently following treatment.’

Swanswell’s developing a model of treatment for alcohol dementia, which could help people return to independent living and improve their quality of life.

Debbie added: ‘With proper investment in research, diagnosis and treatment, decision-makers could help make alcohol dementia a thing of the past, but we all have a part to play – it’s not something anyone can tackle on their own.’

To find out more about alcohol dementia or for more details about Swanswell's model of treatment for alcohol dementia, see our alcohol dementia page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Millions-of-lives-could-be-improved-by-better-understanding-of-alcohol-dementia-Swanswell-says.aspx Wed, 21 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Better alcohol education needed to tackle Britain’s binge drinking culture, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s renewing calls for better alcohol education and the introduction of measures including minimum pricing, as a new report finds Britain’s binge drinking levels are some of the worst in the world.

The national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use is responding to research released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which ranks the UK 13 highest for heavy drinking (out of 196 countries).

According to WHO, around one in four Britons (28%) had an episode of heavy drinking (or ‘binge drinking’) in the previous month, compared to a global average of 16% (reports the Telegraph). The research also ranked Britain 25 highest for overall alcohol consumption.

The report reveals that 3.3 million people worldwide lost their lives because of alcohol in 2012, with 7.6% of deaths among men and 4% of deaths among women caused by alcohol-related conditions.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 8,367 alcohol-related deaths in the UK during the same period.

Swanswell believes better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use will help future generations make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, and avoid drinking behaviour that could damage their health.

Introducing minimum unit pricing alongside other measures linked to alcohol promotion, placement and the product itself would also be a vital step in reducing the harms associated with problem drinking. 

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While these are very worrying statistics, they’re not surprising – however, they should act as a wake-up call to everyone about the scale of problem alcohol use in the UK, and across the world.

Millions of people needlessly lose their lives globally because of their relationship with alcohol – many because they’re unaware of the risks or don’t realise they have a problem.

It’s vital that people have access to better education and clearer information – and that governments take appropriate action to remove mixed messaging around alcohol – so that they can make informed decisions to help them be safe.

Ultimately, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Better-alcohol-education-needed-to-tackle-Britains-.aspx Tue, 13 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Free Swanswell alcohol support training extended in Barnsley by popular demand]]> Free training delivered by Swanswell to help Barnsley services identify and offer brief support to people affected by problem alcohol use is being extended, due to popular demand.

Since June 2013, the national recovery charity has been providing alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) sessions for organisations in the Barnsley Metropolitan Council area including GP practices, pharmacists, hospitals and adult social care services.

People working in voluntary agencies, housing associations, job centres and other public-facing roles have also benefited from the short two-hour course, which teaches delegates how to provide brief interventions and advice around problem alcohol use.

The IBA training, commissioned by the Barnsley Drug and Alcohol Action Team, also highlights how to refer people to further specialist support if necessary, as well as helping them to recognise and understand the psychological, physical and social effects of alcohol.

Due to popular demand, Swanswell’s now able to offer more in-house training for organisations interested in learning new skills that could help reduce alcohol use, and promote healthy behaviour.

With millions of people in England and around one in five adult drinkers in Barnsley consuming alcohol at levels classed as ‘increasing risk’, it’s important to spot signs of problem alcohol use early, so that appropriate help can be offered.

Sharon Smyth, Swanswell’s Talent Development Manager, said: ‘Alcohol misuse puts millions of people at risk from harm every year, yet many might not even realise they’re drinking at levels that could cause problems for their health.

Public-facing organisations such as GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals are ideal settings to be able to offer brief interventions and advice to people who have visited for another reason, and may not have even realised that alcohol could be a factor.

So we’re delighted that the free training has been so popular and that we’re able to extend it in 2014 – what’s more, we’re focused on providing sessions to groups at their own workplace, meaning it can be even more relevant to an organisation’s need.

Ultimately, it’ll help identify those residents potentially at risk sooner, so they have less chance of becoming a dependent drinker or causing more harm to their health.’

To find out more about our IBA training, see our training page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Free-Swanswell-alcohol-support-training-extended-in-Barnsley-by-popular-demand.aspx Mon, 12 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Bank holiday opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be open as usual over the early May bank holiday to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Appointments, drop-in facilities and telephone support will be available from 9am to 5pm on Monday 05 May 2014. Services will be available as usual at all other times. 

Early May bank holiday - 05 May 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period, and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Bank-holiday-opening-hours.aspx Fri, 02 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Memorial bike ride offers support to Swanswell]]> The daughter of a Coventry mother who died last year after falling ill is setting up a sponsored bike ride in her memory and to help raise money for Swanswell.

Jessica Smith contacted the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – about her plans for a memorial bike ride after her mother, Jane Smith, had previously accessed support from the city-based charity.

The event is set to take place on Sunday 22 June 2014 and will involve cycling around eight city highlights, starting at the Ricoh Arena before taking in sites including Coventry Cathedral, Lady Godiva Statue and Memorial Park, ending at Caludon Castle Walls.

The 21-year-old is aiming to raise £1,400 for a plot at St. Paul’s cemetery, so she and her brother Joseph have somewhere they can go to sit with their mum, who died in June 2013.

Jessica has also decided to donate any additional money raised over the original £1,400 target to Swanswell to help others affected by problem alcohol – or drug – use after her mother received support from the Coventry service a few years ago.

Jessica said: ‘Anyone who has lost a close friend or family member will know how hard it is to deal with. Unfortunately for me and my brother, we’ve not been able to save enough money for an area for friends and family to pay their respects.

So, we decided to have a memorial bike ride to help contribute towards those costs and also to raise money for Swanswell, who had previously given my mum some fantastic support when she needed it – for which we’re very grateful.

We hope some of the money raised will go towards helping other people who might benefit from the support my mum had.’

So far, more than 20 residents in Coventry have signed up to take part in the 19.7-mile bike ride, but there are still places available. Participants will need to bring a pedal bike in order to take part, although donations of bikes are also welcome.

Jessica added: ‘We’d love to make the memorial bike ride a regular feature in Coventry to raise money for good causes such as Swanswell. It’s the perfect way to remember my mum, while helping to make a difference to other people’s lives.

If you want to take part or can support us in any way, we’d love to hear from you.’

For further details of the memorial bike ride or to get involved, please email Jessica directly. 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/memorial-bike-ride-offers-support-to-swanswell.aspx Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Easter opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be staying open over the Easter break to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

It’s business as usual for the national recovery charity as it offers bank holiday support on Good Friday and Easter Monday, as well as the usual services at all other times.

Good Friday - 18 April 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

Easter Monday - 21 April 2014
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell’s stayed open during a bank holiday period and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holidays can be difficult for the people who come to us for help, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people, so they can change and be happy.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Easter-opening-hours.aspx Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Global drugs survey highlights need for better alcohol and drugs education, says Swanswell]]> The results of a worldwide survey of over 80,000 people’s alcohol and drug use highlights the need for better education and clearer information about the harms of misusing substances, according to Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding after the Global Drugs Survey 2014 revealed the findings from 43 different countries, the largest research of its kind.

It found more people were moving online to buy illicit drugs and so-called ‘legal highs’, with over a quarter of UK respondents saying they’d bought them over the internet – the highest percentage of people who’d said they’d bought drugs over the web (Guardian).

Alcohol use also caused concern with around 40% of people globally being unaware of their country’s drinking guidelines.

In addition, over a third of British drinkers who had a score of 20 or more on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) – which would suggest dependence – thought their drinking was average or less than average, compared to others.

The annual Global Drugs Survey also found that UK drinkers had some of the highest rates for turning up to work hung-over, with 46% reporting they’d done so in the last 12 months.

Over 20% of respondents in the UK said they’d gone to work while coming down from the effects of drugs – again, among the highest.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While these figures aren’t surprising, they do highlight worrying trends in a number of areas around problem alcohol and drug use.

In the UK for example, increasing numbers of people are turning to the internet to buy drugs, there’s confusion around drinking guidelines, and comparatively high numbers of people are turning up to work with hangovers or are coming down from the effects of drugs.

It’s clear from the results that existing health messages aren’t getting through, so we need a more integrated approach to alcohol and drugs education globally to help people make informed decisions about whether or not they choose to use them.

However, we know there isn’t one simple answer or approach – tackling problem alcohol or drug use is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own; we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Global-drugs-survey-highlights-need-for-better-alcohol-and-drugs-education-says-Swanswell-.aspx Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell event celebrates recovery and independence for service users in Coventry and Warwickshire]]> Celebrating recovery and independence for people affected by problem alcohol and drug use in Coventry and Warwickshire was the aim of a Swanswell event marking a year since the start of a new service.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, invited dozens of support agencies to the Welcome Centre in Coventry on Monday 07 April 2014 to learn more about the Independent Living Service (ILS).

Commissioned in April 2013, Swanswell’s Independent Living Service provides practical support with employment, training, housing, money management and benefits to anyone affected by problem alcohol and drug use in the region.

It’s available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (including bank holidays), and operates from the charity’s Norton Street office in Coventry.

Over 60 delegates attended the awareness-raising and celebration event, which included presentations from service users and their families, who shared stories of how Swanswell’s Independent Living Service helped them turn their life around.

Russell Johnson, Swanswell’s Operations Manager for the Independent Living Service, said: ‘Aside from the obvious affect on health, problem alcohol and drug use can cause a number of knock-on issues too including to finances, housing and employment.

Swanswell’s Independent Living Service offers advice and support to manage these issues and help people regain their independence, leading to a sustained recovery.

People often tell us that the Independent Living Service gave them the confidence to get their lives back on track, so we’ve shared their experiences at our celebration event to encourage others to come forward, and take the first step to change and be happy.’

Swanswell’s Independent Living Service accepts referrals from individuals affected by problem alcohol and drug use, or organisations working with service users in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Russell added: ‘If you’re affected by problem alcohol and drug use, or are supporting someone who is, get in touch with Swanswell, and we’ll be able to help you make a difference by promoting independence to change lives for the better.’

For more information about how to get in touch with our Independent Living Service in Coventry, see our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-event-celebrates-recovery-and-independence-for-service-users-in-Coventry-and-Warwickshire.aspx Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes Martin Pilgrim to the Board of Trustees]]> Former London Councils Chief Executive Martin Pilgrim has been officially welcomed to Swanswell after joining its Board of Trustees.

He brings a wealth of local government policy and financial expertise to the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

Martin’s a Chartered Public Finance Accountant and worked in local government for over 39 years, initially advising on financial policy issues for authorities and representative bodies including Kent County Council, and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

He was most recently employed as the Chief Executive of the Association of London Government/London Councils, where he dealt with a wide range of policy issues on behalf of London boroughs, until his retirement in 2007.

Since then, Martin’s been involved with a number of not-for-profit organisations including London Sustainability Exchange (Chair), Family and Childcare Trust (Honorary Treasurer and Trustee) and Young Women’s Trust (Treasurer and Trustee).

He’s also an Honorary Treasurer and Trustee at the Family Rights Group, an Associate at Criticaleye, and a Trustee at The Diana Award – a charity promoting education, citizenship and learning among young people.

Previously he’s held a number of roles at the Prince’s Trust including a Member of the National Advisory Board, and was a Board Member and Chair of the Finance Committee for Film London.

Speaking of his appointment to Swanswell’s Board, Martin said: ‘I’ve been involved with the third sector now for a number of years and decided to join Swanswell because of its vision – after all, achieving a society free from problem alcohol and drug use is a big task, but one it’s not afraid to approach head on.

‘I’m really looking forward to helping Swanswell continue with this ambition and to carry on making a big difference to the lives of thousands of people every year.’

He will join an already very experienced Board of Trustees, who volunteer their time to lead Swanswell’s strategic direction and governance.

Rita Stringfellow, Chair of Swanswell’s Board of Trustees, said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Martin to Swanswell and we’re sure he will bring a wealth of financial and policy experience to our Board of Trustees.

It’s a very exciting time to join Swanswell as we continue to develop our services and help even more people change their lives for the better. In 2012/13 alone, we were able to support over ten thousand people with their recovery journey.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-Martin-Pilgrim-to-the-Board-of-Trustees.aspx Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for final whistle on drink-driving as licensing hours relaxed for World Cup]]> Swanswell’s calling for the final whistle on drink-driving by urging motorists to think twice about drinking alcohol while watching late World Cup games this summer, if they’re planning to get behind the wheel the next morning.

The national recovery charity’s warning people to take care after the Home Office announced today that restrictions on licensing hours will be relaxed for all of England’s games during the month-long tournament.

It means that pubs and bars will be allowed to stay open until 1am on those days because the government sees it as an ‘occasion of exceptional national significance’, similar to the Royal Wedding and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

However, Swanswell’s concerned that extended opening hours could increase the risk of people being over the limit when they get behind the wheel the next day, particularly for games kicking off late because of the time difference and those held mid-week.

England’s opening game against Italy starts at 11pm on Saturday 14 June, followed by an 8pm kick-off for the game against Uruguay on Thursday 19 June. The semi-final will take place at 9pm on Wednesday 09 July and the final is at 8pm on Sunday 13 July (BBC Sport).

In 2012, 280 people were killed in drink drive-related accidents in the UK, accounting for around one in six of all road deaths – an increase of 17% compared to the previous year (240 deaths in 2011).

While fewer people are driving the same night as drinking, more are getting behind the wheel the next morning, even though they could still be over the legal drink drive limit.

More than half of young drivers and over a third of older motorists drive first thing in the morning after drinking heavily the previous night, according to research from road safety charity Brake – many don’t realise they could still be over the legal limit (Drinkaware).

Alcohol is removed from the blood at a rate of around one unit an hour. If someone had six pints of 4% lager (at around 2.3 units a pint), it would take at least 14 hours to clear their system – yet people are often driving only a few hours after finishing their last drink.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Celebrating national occasions such as the World Cup should be memorable - but not for the wrong reasons.

Late kick-offs and longer opening hours, tied in with some mid-week games, could mean more people are getting behind the wheel the next morning while they’re still over the limit, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

It’s important to plan ahead to help you stay safe - if you’re choosing to drink alcohol on a night out and plan to drive the next day, stick within recommended daily limits, alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, and have lower strength drinks.

It’s also important to stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night, so your body can process the alcohol before you intend to drive the next day.’

However, it’s still difficult to know exactly when it’s safe to drive the next day. Hand-held breathalysers are becoming an increasingly popular tool which helps drivers know when it’s safe to drive the next morning.

Debbie added: ‘In some countries, such as France, it’s a legal requirement to carry a self-test breathalyser in your car, which will encourage drivers to ensure they are alcohol-free before getting behind the wheel.

While it’s not currently law to carry such devices in the UK, we think it’s an inexpensive and useful tool to have in your vehicle anyway, helping you to stay safe, while keeping healthy and ultimately, feeling happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-final-whistle-on-drink-driving-as-licensing-hours-relaxed-for-World-Cup.aspx Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for the government to reconsider the introduction of a minimum unit price following the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report]]> Swanswell’s urging the government to reconsider the introduction of a minimum unit price per unit of alcohol to help reduce alcohol harm, after the release of the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, supports the annual report On the State of the Public’s Health, and is concerned over the highlighted rise in alcohol-related liver disease.

The number of alcohol units consumed per person, per year since the 1950s has more than doubled. There were around 400 alcohol units consumed in the 1950s, increasing to 900 units in 2009.

The increase in alcohol consumption levels is directly contributing to an increase in liver disease, the only major disease increasing in England and decreasing in other European countries. Between 2001 and 2012, 67% of liver disease deaths in England and Wales were alcohol-related. There’s also been a 92% increase in hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease, increasing from 25,706 in 2002/03 to 49,456 in 2011/12.

Research suggests a minimum unit price of 45p would reduce alcohol consumption by 4.3%, see 66,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions and lead to 2,000 fewer deaths after ten years.

Although the government plans to ban the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT from April 2014, Swanswell believes this will not be as effective as charging a minimum of 45p per unit of alcohol in reducing alcohol-related deaths and crime.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The facts in this report are a stark reminder that something needs to be done urgently to tackle liver disease and other deaths caused by alcohol misuse. We need measures like minimum pricing to come in sooner rather than later to help decrease excessive alcohol consumption.

Reports suggest that a below-cost ban is likely to only affect a small number of alcohol sales that are heavily discounted, so there will still be high-strength lagers and ciders available at low cost, which misses the point of what a minimum unit price will achieve.

However, price is only one element that needs to be considered – promotion, place and the product itself should be investigated, alongside better alcohol education and clearer information to help people make informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-the-government-to-reconsider-the-introduction-of-a-minimum-unit-price-following-.aspx Fri, 28 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for urgent action after MPs highlight a lack of strategy to tackle liver disease in the UK]]> A new report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group, raises concern over the lack of a national strategy for liver disease, which has the potential to become the UK’s biggest killer within a generation.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, supports the group’s report Liver Disease: Today’s Complacency, Tomorrow’s Catastrophe, and believes a liver disease strategy for the UK is vital in helping tackle this preventable disease.

There is an unnecessary rise in liver disease across the country. People are at risk of alcoholic liver disease if they regularly or intermittently drink to excess. It can take a number of years to develop and sufferers may not experience any symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged, leading to serious illness.

It’s been found that admissions for alcohol-related liver diseases across all ages in England increased from 25,706 in 2002/03 to 49,456 in 2011/12 – a rise of 92%, yet worryingly, we don’t have a long-term plan in place to help stop this avoidable disease.          

Swanswell believes better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use will help future generations make informed decisions about alcohol use, and avoid unhealthy drinking behaviour.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The facts in this report are a stark reminder that something needs to be done urgently to tackle liver disease caused by alcohol misuse and that we need a strategy and measures like minimum pricing to come in sooner rather than later.

The figures highlight that alcohol-related illnesses, like liver disease, don’t discriminate and it doesn’t matter how old you are, drinking irresponsibly can still  have a big impact on your health.

‘Problem alcohol use costs the economy around £21 billion a year to deal with, including up to £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more dealing with related crime, lost working hours and other associated problems. The Government needs to work together with our health and education systems to tackle this growing problem, so that we can see healthier future generations. Providing a national strategy for liver disease would be a leap in the right direction.

Ultimately, we all have a part to play in tackling liver disease – it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-urgent-action-after-MPs-highlight-a-lack-of-strategy-to-tackle-liver-disease-in-.aspx Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s concerned about the impact of ‘pound’ pubs]]> Swanswell’s concerned that the opening of the UK’s first PoundPub may pave the way for an increased cost to society.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news this morning (the Metro) that a pub offering pints of beer for £1.50, and halves for £1, will open in Stockton-on-Tees next month and could become a national chain if the first one is successful.

Opening from 8am, the new pub’s prices will be half the average of £3.05 for a pint in the north-east.

Swanswell’s concerned that these prices will encourage consumers to drink excessively, adding to alcohol’s cost on society. Problem alcohol use costs the economy around £21 billion a year to deal with including up to £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more dealing with related crime, lost working hours and other associated problems.

In 2011/12, there were just over 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions – more than twice as many as in 2002/03.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Problem alcohol use costs thousands of lives every year and billions of pounds to deal with, yet it’s something that is entirely preventable in the first place.

'We, however, continue to exacerbate the issue by reducing the cost of alcohol, making it increasingly available and encouraging people to drink above the recommended limits.

'There is a clear association between affordability, availability and consumption.  Alcohol-related deaths in the North are already the highest in England. We are concerned that opening pubs where alcohol costs are extremely low will only add to the cost on society, including lives.'

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-concerned-about-the-impact-of-pound-pubs.aspx Tue, 25 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Duty changes are a ‘step backwards’ in reducing problem drinking, warns Swanswell]]> Changes to alcohol duty announced in today’s budget are a step backwards in reducing problem alcohol use, according to Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s fifth statement to the House of Commons.

As part of his annual budget, Mr Osborne cut a further 1p from a pint of beer and froze duty on Scotch Whisky and ‘ordinary’ cider. The Alcohol Duty Escalator – which automatically increases tax on alcohol by 2% above inflation – has also been scrapped (The Grocer).

Swanswell’s concerned that in real terms, it will make some alcoholic drinks even cheaper and is a step further away from introducing effective measures such as minimum unit pricing.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While a reduction or freeze in alcohol duty will be good news for producers and retailers, the reality is that these changes are likely to add to the £21 billion annual bill for dealing with alcohol misuse.

During these tough economic times, is it right that hard working families – even those who use alcohol moderately or not at all – should further subsidise the cost of dealing with the health and social harms relating to problem drinking?

It’s another blow to hopes of introducing minimum unit pricing – shelved by the government last year in favour of a ban on below cost price sales – and flies in the face of evidence that suggests price increases will reduce alcohol-related deaths.

With almost 13 million people regularly drinking over recommended limits and over 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions every year, it’s not simply going to go away unless we see a concerted effort to tackle problem alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Duty-changes-are-a-step-backwards-in-reducing-problem-drinking-warns-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 19 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Sandwell tops table for reducing reoffending]]> Sandwell is the best local authority at reducing reoffending, according to the latest statistically significant government figures.

The borough is top of England and Wales in the Ministry of Justice table, with a reoffending rate that is 29.4% better than the government predicted rate.

Jane Connelly, Head of Sandwell Probation, said: ‘I feel so proud that at such a difficult time of change for the probation service, our staff are still able to deliver such tremendous results.  

Sandwell Probation is full of dedicated people who are committed to assisting those who have offended to make positive changes that are required to improve public safety.  

All Sandwell employees are a credit to the Probation Trust and to the community they serve.’ 

Swanswell is one of the partners working with Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation to reduce re-offending. 

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Director of Central Region, said: ‘We’re delighted that the partnership in Sandwell and other areas across Staffordshire and the West Midlands is making such a positive difference to the lives of people living in the region.  

Swanswell is proud to be working with the probation service and is looking forward to continuing to build on the achievements we’ve all contributed too.’

Wolverhampton is sixth and Dudley seventh in the government chart, with reoffending rates 19.9% and 19.6% better than the baseline respectively.

Walsall and Solihull are 17 and 19 in the table, with reoffending rates 16.1% and 15.4% better than government predictions. Birmingham is 23 and Coventry 28, with rates 14.8% and 13.6% better than predicted.

All nine local authority areas in Staffordshire and West Midlands achieved better than predicted rates of reoffending - Staffordshire achieved 9.7%, and Stoke -on-Trent 0.4%.

Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation is the third best probation trust in the country at reducing reoffending. Neighbouring Warwickshire is first, and Nottinghamshire Probation is second.

Here are all nine Staffordshire and West Midlands Local Delivery Units, ranked out of 174 local authorities:

1. Sandwell: 29.4% better than predicted
6. Wolverhampton: 19.9% better than predicted
7. Dudley:19.6% better than predicted
17. Walsall: 16.1% better than predicted
19. Solihull: 15.4% better than predicted
23. Birmingham: 14.8% better than predicted
28. Coventry: 13.6% better than predicted
43. Staffordshire: 9.7% better than predicted
108. Stoke: 0.4% better than predicted

Issued on behalf of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Sandwell-tops-table-for-reducing-reoffending.aspx Wed, 12 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Drinking habits of millions of children formed by primary schools, Swanswell tells MPs]]> Primary schools in England are forming the future drinking habits of millions of pupils by running licensed bars at thousands of children’s discos, fetes and sports days.

That’s according to Swanswell which has raised concerns at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Alcohol Misuse last week (24 February 2014) after learning one in three schools for under-11s were setting up licensed bars at events aimed at children.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is calling for a change in licensing laws as a result of its findings.

Research suggests that children are most influenced about drinking between the ages of 6 and 10 (Swanswell literature review).

Children benefit from seeing a range of responsible drinking behaviour, so they can make informed decisions when they’re older. It should include social occasions where alcohol is not present at all.

Swanswell told the APPG that having a licensed bar for parents at child-centred events – those which adults wouldn’t be at if children weren’t there – is sending the wrong message to the next generation about alcohol use, because children learn to expect alcohol at every social occasion.             

This influence could cause them to want alcohol as part of their social events in adolescence and young adulthood.

Following a search of public records and Freedom of Information requests, Swanswell found at least 8,402 occasions where alcohol was sold at primary school events meant for children in 2012/13 alone (out of 312 authorities contacted, 71 were unable to supply information).

The events were licensed by local authorities issuing Temporary Event Notices (TENs), allowing the sale of alcohol in unlicensed premises.

Only a handful of the alcohol TENs sent in by primary schools (23 out of a total of 8,425 notices disclosed under the FoI request) were rejected, because of problems with forms or that they were late, rather than because a particular concern had been raised.

The national recovery charity wants local authorities to automatically reject TENs that request alcohol sales at events aimed at children, unless there’s specific evidence to suggest otherwise.

In addition, Swanswell wants to encourage head teachers to sign up to a pledge not to sell alcohol at events aimed at children, so they can experience social events without the need for alcohol to be present.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, added: ‘I’ve been interested in this subject since my own children received an invitation to a disco at their primary school, offering a licensed bar.

‘The head teacher believed it to be perfectly acceptable, having risk-assessed it from a health and safety point of view, rather than considering the school’s influence on the children at a very impressionable age.

‘Our research indicates that many head teachers may be making similar decisions. We can only assume they are unaware that when kids see grown-ups drinking at primary school discos, they will expect to drink themselves once they are into High School. 

If primary school children are led to believe that alcohol is an important part of every social occasion, we shouldn’t be surprised that they then expect to drink at their own social occasions as soon as they’re independent enough to do so.

We need to take a step back and think about how we can help children shape their opinions about drinking, so they can make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol when they’re older, and our campaign aims to play a part in that.’

Tracey Crouch MP (Chatham and Aylesford), who chairs the APPG on Alcohol Misuse, said: ‘So often we forget the effects of our actions on the perception of children.

Granting alcohol licences at child-focused events taking place in primary schools suggests to children, at an extremely impressionable age, that alcohol is needed to have fun.

Alcohol is so visible elsewhere that I don’t think it needs to be on school premises as well, and I would very much support a change in licensing to a presumption not to licence.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Drinking-habits-of-children-formed-at-primary-school.aspx Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to deliver new service to break the cycle of substance misuse and crime]]> Reducing re-offending and breaking the cycle of addiction and crime is the aim of a new service appointed and funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

From April, Avon and Somerset will have the first single cross border arrest referral service in the country for drug and alcohol addicts.

The aim of the new single service is to have more drug and alcohol related offenders in treatment to reduce re-offending.

Sue Mountstevens said: 'This service will help people turn their back on an addiction which can often lead to a vicious cycle of crime and sometimes prison.

'By developing a service straight from arrest, where people who need support will be provided with an opportunity to seek treatment, we can hopefully break the cycle of alcohol and drug related criminal activity.

'With three new custody facilities opening this summer we had the unique opportunity to review the current drug and alcohol arrest referral service and a lot of hard-work has gone in to developing and strengthening it.

'This has been a real collaborative effort to make sure we have a better service across Avon and Somerset and I would particularly like to thank South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Council, the police and the Drug Action Teams for their hard work.'

The new single drug and alcohol arrest referral service will save £300,000 compared to the previous service which included five individual contracts across Avon and Somerset. It will also result in a better more consistent service for the whole police force area and more offenders being referred into treatment.

Paul Bunt, Avon and Somerset Police Drugs Strategy Manager, said: 'Over the last 10 years in partnership with local Drug Action Teams we have worked effectively with offenders on their substance misuse problems which have resulted in less crime and less harm to our communities.

'This initiative will enable that partnership to engage even more offenders and will target not only those causing the most harm to our communities, but also those offenders in the early stages of drug related criminal behaviour so we can break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime at the earliest opportunity.'

The new provider Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, will start work in April.

David Lewis, Swanswell's Director of West Region, said: 'We’re delighted to have been selected to provide the new arrest intervention referral service in Avon and Somerset.

'We’re looking forward to developing the service with our partners in the police, community and prison service to help people to change their lives for the better.

'The aims and objectives of our service fit with the Police and Crime Commissioner priorities to make Avon and Somerset residents both feel safe and be safe in their community and we’re excited to be in a position to help make this a reality.'

Sue Mountstevens added: 'I am pleased that we have found a provider in the charity Swanswell that understands our aims and is committed to increasing the number of offenders seeking treatment.' 

Posted on behalf of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-to-deliver-new-service-to-break-the-cycle-of-substance-misuse-and-crime.aspx Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell renews education calls as thousands continue to lose their lives because of alcohol]]> Swanswell’s renewing calls for better education and clearer information around alcohol use, as thousands of people continue to lose their lives because of problem drinking.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reports 381 fewer alcohol-related deaths in 2012, compared to 2011.

However, 8,367 people still lost their lives because of alcohol misuse in 2012, with almost two thirds (63%) of all related deaths caused by alcoholic liver disease – a range of conditions and associated symptoms linked to severe liver damage caused by alcohol misuse.

People are at risk of alcoholic liver disease if they regularly or intermittently drink to excess (NHS Choices). It can take a number of years to develop and sufferers may not experience any symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged, leading to serious illness.         

Swanswell believes better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use will help future generations make informed decisions about alcohol use, and avoid damaging drinking behaviour.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we welcome any fall in alcohol-related deaths, there are still thousands of people who are needlessly losing their lives because of an entirely preventable cause.

The problem is that alcohol has become so integrated into everyday life that it’s difficult for someone to know when drinking is becoming a problem. There are also so many mixed messages around alcohol, which add to the confusion.

We need to cut through the misinformation, so that people have the facts in an understandable way to enable them to make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol – better education and clearer information are key to achieving this.

There also needs to be more investment in services like Swanswell to give people the support they need if their alcohol use has become a problem, so we’re not continuing to see people losing their lives because of their drinking.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-renews-education-calls-as-thousands-continue-to-lose-their-lives-because-of-alcohol.aspx Wed, 19 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[National workplace survey names Swanswell as ‘One to Watch’ for fourth time]]> Swanswell has again been named as ‘One to Watch’ following a survey of team members, as part of a national workplace engagement scheme.

It’s the fourth time in seven years that the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has achieved the status after taking part in the Best Companies Accreditation process.

Best Companies are an independent research organisation which specialises in understanding what fully engages people with their work. Every year, team members complete a survey that measures employee engagement across eight workplace factors.

This year, team members scored two factors – ‘My Team’ and ‘My Manager’ – highest, with ‘Leadership’, ‘My Company’, ‘Personal Growth’, ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Giving Something Back’ among the other areas receiving increased recognition.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased to be recognised as a ‘One to Watch’ organisation again but we won’t stop there – we always strive to help our team members do well and be well, so we’ll continue to build on what we’ve achieved.

I often say I’m the luckiest Chief Executive to have such a talented team of individuals who really go the extra mile ever day, so it’s great to know our team members feel the same about working at Swanswell.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/National-workplace-survey-names-Swanswell-as-.aspx Fri, 14 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for more investment in legal highs research as national deaths soar]]> Swanswell’s urging the government to increase investment in drugs research and education following news of an 800% rise in deaths relating to ‘legal highs’ in just three years.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a new report by researchers from St George’s, University of London, released this week (BBC News).

It found the number of cases where ‘legal highs’ – also known as novel psychoactive substances or NPS – were identified as the cause of death had increased from 10 in 2009 to 68 in 2012.

Researchers also discovered that the prevalence of NPS in post-mortem toxicology tests had risen by 800% - from 12 in 2009 to 97 in 2012 (Sky News).

The report comes after the government announced a review of legal highs, led by Professor Les Iversen, which will consider widening legislation around enforcement to help protect public health and further restrict supply.

Although ‘legal highs’ are marketed as legal substances, it doesn’t mean they are safe  – it just means they have not yet been fully checked and a decision made about whether they are made an illegal drug to use or possess.

They’re often used like illegal substances such as cocaine or cannabis and can be very dangerous, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol. They’re sometimes advertised as bath salts or plant food, with a warning they’re not fit for human consumption.

While the long term effects aren’t really known, legal highs cause reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and, in the worst cases death.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The number of deaths caused by the use of legal highs is deeply worrying and the figures should act as a stark reminder about the dangers of taking them.

Not enough is known about the long term effects of legal highs because they’ve not been around very long – unlike most of the illicit drugs used by the people we help – and new versions are quickly created after a ban comes in.

‘We need to see increased investment in national research to help us understand exactly what the risks are. It’ll help develop better drugs education, so that people recognise the harms of legal highs and can make informed decisions about their use.’

Swanswell is currently supporting a campaign led by the Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Partnership called ‘Legal highs, lethal lows’, which highlights the risks of recreational drug use and links to health risks in isolation or combined with alcohol.]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-more-investment-in-legal-highs-research-as-national-deaths-soar.aspx Thu, 13 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New alcohol internet craze ‘irresponsible’ warns Swanswell]]> A new internet craze encouraging people to drink excessively in a short space of time before nominating others to do it is irresponsible and harmful, warns Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is urging people to consider the risks of taking part in the game called ‘Neknominate’, which has become increasingly popular on social media sites.

Thought to have started in Australia, it involves the user completing a drinking dare and then nominating someone else to continue the game – if they don’t , they’re ridiculed online according to reports.

Thousands of ‘Neck and nominate’ videos have appeared online and many involve extreme dares using dangerous levels of alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘What – to some – could seem like a bit of fun can quickly spiral out of control, with potentially fatal consequences.

Drinking excessively in a short space of time, or binge drinking, will make you drunk very quickly and could lead to accidents, affect your mood and memory, and can be a factor in crime and violence. In extreme cases, overdosing on alcohol can lead to death.  

Games that encourage people to drink excessively and ridicule those who don’t are irresponsible, so if you’re invited to take part, think twice about doing so.

However, if you or a friend do decide to join in, look out for the warning signs of alcohol poisoning and get medical help immediately if you believe someone may be experiencing them.’

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • loss of coordination
  • confusion
  • vomiting
  • irregular or slow breathing
  • blue-tinged or pale skin
  • seizures
  • low body temperature
  • stupor
  • unconsciousness

If someone is displaying signs of alcohol poisoning, call 999 immediately but don't:

  • leave them to sleep it off
  • give them coffee
  • make them sick
  • walk them around
  • put them under a cold shower
  • let them drink any more alcohol
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/new-alcohol-craze-irresponsible-warns-Swanswell.aspx Fri, 31 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s first UK alcohol and drug recovery charity to get Leaders in Diversity status]]> Swanswell’s become the first alcohol and drug recovery charity in the UK to be recognised as a Leader in Diversity.

Following an assessment over a number of months, the national recovery charity has received the accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity in recognition of its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

As part of the process, independent assessors carried out interviews and surveys with team members and clients to understand Swanswell’s approach to EDI in the workplace.

Swanswell’s one of only four charities in the country to receive Leaders in Diversity status, which has been given to just 14 organisations in total throughout the UK.

It’s the highest accolade of its type and demonstrates excellence in EDI practice, as well as allowing an organisation to become an ambassador in its field.

Swanswell’s been committed to equality, diversity and inclusion for many years but wanted to benchmark its work against other organisations to ensure it was leading the way in its approach to EDI.

In 2009, the charity joined the Investors in Diversity scheme and has introduced a number of measures including: diversity training for all team members, creating a diversity strategy, and developing a diversity action group.

The charity’s taken part in a number of events including a celebration of Black History Month, and Birmingham Pride. It has also received Investors in People Bronze status, Positive about Disabled People recognition and is a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

In the report from the National Centre for Diversity, assessors said that Swanswell ‘puts equality and diversity at the heart of everything it does’, and recognised how Swanswell’s commitment to ‘fairness for all’ is reflected in its EDI policies and procedures.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted that we’re now recognised as a Leader in Diversity, which reflects our commitment to ensuring fairness for all in everything we do; something that everyone should embrace.

We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved, and everyone working with us – whether that’s team members, clients or partners – has played their part in making Swanswell the organisation it is today.

Moving forwards, we’ll continue to develop our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, so we can maintain our position as ambassadors, and help others achieve similar ambitions around EDI.’

Solat Chaudhry, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Diversity, said: ‘The work that Swanswell carries out is of crucial importance to the people accessing its services and has a positive impact on their lives.

We’ve been working closely with Swanswell since 2009 and have supported them right up to becoming a Leader in Diversity - they’ve shown that their equality, diversity and inclusion practices are excellent, and that as Leaders, they’re totally committed to EDI.     

I would also like to say special thanks to the personal commitment, drive and enthusiasm of both Natacha Bogard, the EDI lead for Swanswell, and to Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan, who initiated the Leaders in Diversity process.

Swanswell’s a truly remarkable organisation and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.’ 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-first-UK-alcohol-and-drug-recovery-charity-to-get-Leaders-in-Diversity-status.aspx Mon, 27 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Win with Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s giving you the chance to win a FREE personal breathalyser in our online competition.  

The Elite breathalyser from AlcoSense (worth £59.99) is winner of the What Car? Best Breathalyser under £100, and is fast, reliable and accurate.  

To be in with a chance of winning one, click here (terms and conditions apply). 

Why would I need one?
In 2012, 280 people were killed in drink-drive related accidents in the UK, accounting for around one in six of all road deaths.

Any amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely – judgement and reaction times are affected, and the risk of causing serious injury or even death is greatly increased.

Even if you’re driving the morning after a night of heavy drinking, you could still be over the limit – putting your own life and the lives of others at risk.

If you’re caught, you could receive anything from a fine, driving ban and compulsory drink-drive rehabilitation course to a prison sentence.

The only way to be sure you’re not over the limit, is not to drink at all if you’re driving. If you have to get behind the wheel the morning after, pass your personal breathalyser test instead of failing a police officer’s.  

More information
To find out more about how alcohol can affect the body and for harm minimisation advice, visit our alcohol information pages.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Win-with-Swanswell.aspx Fri, 24 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s concerned about impact of motorway pubs]]> Swanswell’s concerned that the opening of the UK’s first motorway pub may pave the way for more service stations offering alcohol at the roadside.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news this morning that a pub chain has opened a bar and restaurant at junction two of the M40 at Beaconsfield (BBC News).

It’ll be open from 4am until 1am seven days a week and will serve alcohol from 9am, after receiving approval from the local licensing authority.

However, Swanswell’s worried that making alcohol available in pubs at service stations will tempt drivers to have a drink before getting back behind the wheel.

280 people were killed in drink drive-related accidents in the UK in 2012, accounting for around one in six of all road deaths – an increase of 17% compared to the previous year (240 deaths in 2011).

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not possible to say how much someone can drink and still stay below the limit.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels at the time.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The opening of the first motorway pub is another worrying example of how alcohol is so embedded in everyday life.

When it comes to travel, you can already buy alcoholic drinks on a train, before and during a flight, and from petrol stations, but in most of these cases, you’re either not driving or you’re buying it to take home.

However, in a pub, you’re buying alcohol to drink at that moment in time, and if you’ve had a long, stressful journey, some motorists might be tempted to have one or two before driving again, unaware of the consequences.

Drinking any amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel will have an impact on your ability to drive safelyputting your life and the lives of your passengers, other road users and pedestrians at risk.

So we really hope the opening of the first motorway pub in the UK is not a sign of things to come. If it is, then we need to find new ways of educating people and emphasising that the only way to be sure that you’re not over the limit, is not to drink at all if driving.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-concerned-about-motorway-pubs.aspx Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges businesses to make tackling substance misuse a priority in 2014]]> Businesses should make tackling substance misuse in the workplace a priority in 2014, according to Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is calling on organisations to recognise that employees could be facing difficulties with alcohol or drugs, and to approach the subject sensitively and appropriately.

British industry loses £6.4 billion per year due to sickness caused by alcohol use and £1.4 billion per year due to drug use. Employers are also faced with a number of legal and management issues around how to address the problem.       

Swanswell’s teamed up with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to deliver a series of one-day training courses to help organisations identify and appropriately manage substance misuse among the workforce.

‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employer’s guide’ aims to dispel some of the common myths around substance misuse. It raises awareness of the different substances and their effects, and gives employers the confidence to deal with any related issues at work.

It’s aimed at business owners, HR and personnel professionals, line managers, heads of departments and team leaders, health and safety officers, occupational health officers or anyone else with a responsibility for managing employee welfare.

New dates are now available for 2014 at ACAS venues across the country including: Birmingham on 06 February, London on 12 February, and Leeds on 25 February.

Sharon Smyth, Swanswell’s Talent Development Manager, said: ‘Businesses are losing billions of pounds every year due to sickness absence caused by alcohol or drug use, yet many employers aren’t sure about the best way to deal with these issues.

In this economy, it’s vital that organisations do all they can to reduce the cost of this type of absence effectively, while ensuring their employees have access to support and information that will help improve their health and wellbeing.

The start of a new year is a good opportunity to think about how your organisation deals with problem alcohol and drug use, and to get the advice you need to approach the subject sensitively and appropriately.’

For prices, terms and conditions or to book a place on ‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employer’s guide’, visit ACAS or see our training page. 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-businesses-to-make-tackling-substance-misuse-a-priority-in-2014.aspx Thu, 16 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Make drinking less a New Year’s resolution, urges Swanswell]]> Cutting down on alcohol use for 2014 should be at the top of everyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions, according to Swanswell.

Losing weight, exercising more or giving up smoking are usually among the most popular pledges for the next 12 months, but the national recovery charity’s encouraging more people to think about their drinking habits too.

Around one in four people are classed as hazardous drinkers, and there are thousands of alcohol-related deaths in the UK every year (8,748 in 2011); yet society still sees drinking alcohol as part of everyday life.

However, drinking less is not as difficult as it might seem and there are a number of benefits to cutting down.

Alcohol contains a large number of empty calories - if a man drinks up to the government’s recommended daily limit of 3-4 units per day (or about a pint and a half of 5% lager) five days a week, they’d have the equivalent calories of four kebabs a week.

For a woman, having a large glass of wine every day for example (3.3 units per glass - just over their recommended daily limit of 2-3 units per day), is like eating almost two pizzas every week on top of her usual diet, or 45,840 calories over the year.

So, cutting back on beers, wines and spirits will help people stay in shape over the next 12 months.

In the short term, alcohol use can disturb sleep, cause feelings of stress, loss of appetite, sweating, anxiety and can affect judgement, so having fewer alcoholic drinks will improve health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.

Over time, regular alcohol use increases the risk of alcohol-related illnesses including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and liver problems. Cutting back can reduce those risks too.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on what they’ve achieved over the last year and what they think they should do differently over the coming 12 months.

So it’s the perfect time to look at last year’s alcohol use and consider how drinking less can improve your life in 2014. There’s so many health benefits to cutting down and you’ll feel the benefit in your pocket too, as drinking less costs you less.

It would be unrealistic to challenge yourself to stop drinking completely for a whole year, so try setting smaller goals and cut back gradually to ensure, by the end of the year, you’re well on the way to feeling happier. It’ll take more time but it’ll be worth it.

There’s nothing like support from friends and family, so why not get them involved too – why not make it a group challenge? It really will make a difference.

If alcohol use is becoming a problem, it’s a good time to take the first step and speak to organisations such as Swanswell, who can offer non-judgemental help and advice.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/drink-less-new-year-resolution.aspx Fri, 27 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Drive safely by being drink-free this festive season, says Swanswell]]> With a week of celebrations round the corner, the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is reminding people about the risks of having alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Last year, 280 people were killed in drink drive-related accidents in the UK, accounting for around one in six of all road deaths – an increase of 17% compared to the previous year (240 deaths in 2011 - Institute of Alcohol Studies).

While there are strict limits in the UK around alcohol use before driving, it’s not possible to say how much someone can drink and still stay below the limit.

Alcohol affects people in different ways and many factors influence how quickly alcohol’s processed by the body such as weight; age; sex; and metabolism; as well as the type and amount someone’s drinking; what they’ve recently eaten; and stress levels at the time.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Drinking any amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel will have an impact on your ability to drive safely.

Judgement and reaction times will be affected, and the risk of causing serious injury or even death is dramatically increased – not just for themselves, but for passengers, other road users and pedestrians too.

So the only way to ensure you don’t ruin the festive season for you and others is to avoid drinking alcohol if you’re getting behind the wheel.’

Driving the morning after a night of drinking could also be putting lives at risk because people could still be over the limit, particularly if they’ve had a large number of units - and there’s no easy way of knowing whether it’s safe to get behind the wheel.      

More than half of young drivers and over a third of older motorists drive first thing in the morning after heavy drinking the previous night, according to research from road safety charity Brake – many don’t realise they could still be over the legal limit (Drinkaware).

Alcohol is removed from the blood at a rate of around one unit an hour. If someone had six pints of 4% lager (at around 2.3 units a pint), it would take at least 14 hours to clear their system – yet people are often driving only a few hours after finishing their last drink.

If people are choosing to drink alcohol on a night out and are planning to drive the next morning, the advice is to drink within recommended daily limits; alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft drink; have lower strength alcoholic drinks; and stop drinking well before the end of the night, so the body can process the alcohol before the morning.

However, it’s still difficult to know exactly when it’s safe to drive the next day. Hand-held breathalysers are becoming an increasingly popular way of helping drivers know when it’s safe to drive the following morning.

Debbie added: ‘In some countries, such as France, it’s a legal requirement to carry a self-test breathalyser in your car, which will encourage drivers to ensure they are alcohol-free before getting behind the wheel.

While it’s not currently law to carry such devices in the UK, we think it’s an inexpensive and useful tool to have in your vehicle anyway, so you’re not putting lives at risk by driving over the legal limit.’

Drink-driving
The current legal alcohol limit in the UK is:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

Depending on the drink-drive offence, penalties can include:

  • imprisonment
  • large fine
  • driving ban
  • extended driving test
  • Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme course like those run by Swanswell (if the court has offered it to you)
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Drive-safely-by-being-drink-free-this-festive-season-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Festive opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be staying open over the festive break to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

It’s business as usual for the national recovery charity as it offers bank holiday support on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, in addition to its normal services at all other times.

Christmas Day - 25 December 2013
A special bank holiday telephone service will be in operation for all areas between 9am and 5pm. Please call 0300 303 5000 for support and information.

Boxing Day - 26 December 2013
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

New Year's Day - 01 January 2013
All services will be open as usual. Please see our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

It’s the third year that Swanswell’s been open during a bank holiday period and is part of the charity’s commitment to making services available to more people when they need help.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Bank holiday periods can often be difficult for the people who come to us for help throughout the year, so we want to make sure we’re available whenever they need us – especially when other services are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to take our services to even more people so they can change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Festive-opening-hours.aspx Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for urgent action over prescription drug misuse]]> Clearer prescribing guidance and more time for patients to talk to their GP are just two of the measures that could help cut misuse of prescription drugs, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report from the Commons Home Affairs Committee, calling for urgent action after figures revealed up to 1.5 million people could be addicted (BBC News).

The MPs want GP surgeries to start collecting anonymous data and make sure more is done to stop patients visiting several doctors, often as a temporary patient, to get more prescription drugs.

Swanswell believes that clearer prescribing guidelines and giving patients more time to talk to their GP are some of the options that will help identify people who might be misusing medication.

Dr Martyn Hull, Swanswell's Medical Director, said: ‘It's clear from today's figures that action needs to be taken urgently to stop misuse of prescription drugs.

As a charity which specialises in helping people overcome problem drug - and alcohol - use, we recognise the harms, and work with people to get them off prescription medication, if it's the right thing to do.

The MPs have suggested that more people are addicted to prescribed drugs such as sleeping tablets and painkillers than to illicit drugs - these can be equally as harmful if misused, yet this form of addiction appears to be approached differently.

There needs to be clearer guidance about prescribing, and more time for an in-depth conversation between GPs and patients, so they can discuss better alternatives to staying on prescribed medication, if appropriate.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-calls-for-urgent-action-over-prescription-drug-misuse.aspx Fri, 20 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Parents need drinking re-think over festive season, urges Swanswell]]> Parents should think about their alcohol use over the festive season to reduce the risk of their children turning to drink when they’re older, urges Swanswell.

The warning comes from the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, during the period (December) when alcohol consumption increases by around 40%, compared to any other time of the year.

Alcohol is often on promotion in supermarkets and other off-licences throughout December, with shoppers stocking up on multi-buy deals for family gatherings and other special occasions, making drink more accessible in the home.

Swanswell often hears from clients that they first started their relationship with alcohol when they were under 18 because it was the norm in their household, and that drink was readily available to them.

In a survey of 115 of the charity’s adult clients, the median age when people started to use alcohol and drugs was 14 (Swanswell, 2010), suggesting that prevention work needs to be in place before then.

Parents play a vital role in setting positive examples to their children and encouraging open, informed conversations about alcohol use.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s a perfect time of the year for parents to set a good example to their children about responsible alcohol use.

People often tell us their problems started before they were 18 – they were drinking alcohol at home because it was readily available, and in many cases, drinking was the norm in their household, so it’s not surprising these habits are picked up.

So if you’re buying alcohol over the festive season, think about where you store it and how you drink it – if your child sees you drinking regularly with meals, to cope with stress or to celebrate, chances are they’ll do the same in the future.

With that in mind, it’ll also be a good time to have an informal, but informed, conversation about alcohol use because they’ll see others drinking while enjoying themselves, and may hear misinformation from friends or relatives.

‘Speaking to your child first will help arm them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions in years to come.

Swanswell believes schools also have an important part to play and is calling for increased investment in education around problem alcohol and drug use.

Debbie added: ‘People need access to clear, age appropriate information to help them make informed decisions about their use, sooner rather than later, especially as they’re at a very influential age and could be introduced to alcohol or drugs.

While there is some level of alcohol and drug awareness in schools, it’s not engaging, so we think that if they partner with organisations like Swanswell, it will offer more effective substance misuse education.’ 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Parents-need-drinking-re-think-over-festive-season-urges-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 17 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Lack of alcohol dementia focus a cause for concern, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s concerned that a form of dementia which can potentially be treated now is being missed off the world’s agenda, as experts meet to discuss how to deal with ‘one of the biggest health problems in a generation’.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding as ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities meet at a G8 dementia summit in London today.

They’re discussing research, prevention, treatment and ways of improving the quality of life for people affected by dementia, with much of the focus on Alzheimer’s Disease – one of the most common forms of the condition.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron’s announced that the UK aims to double its annual funding for dementia research from the current target of £66 million by 2015 to £132 million by 2025 (BBC News).

However, Swanswell’s concerned that alcohol dementia – similar to other forms of the condition and brought on by regular alcohol use – isn’t getting the focus it should.

Research suggests alcohol dementia affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK (Lishman WA, 1990) but what’s even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s (Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M and Garralda E, 1998). Swanswell’s youngest sufferer was 27.

But if it’s caught early enough and with the right treatment, the effects can potentially be reversed and in many cases, people can return to independent living (Smith I and Hillman A, 1999).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we’re pleased to hear that funding for dementia research is increasing, we’re shocked that more isn’t being done around a form of the condition that can actually be treated now

Research suggests that alcohol dementia affects at least 80,000 people in the UK alone – we’ve heard of cases involving people as young as 27, yet it’s entirely preventable in the first place through clear information and better education about alcohol use.

'With early diagnosis and effective treatment, the condition can be reversed or relieved, so that up to 50% of people who develop alcohol dementia can continue to live independently.

‘Focusing a larger proportion of investment in to research, diagnosis and treatment for alcohol dementia, could help make the condition a thing of the past.’

Swanswell’s currently running a clinical trial to identify people affected by alcohol dementia and to test a treatment it’s developed, which could help people return to independent living and improve their quality of life.  

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Lack-alcohol-dementia-focus-a-concern.aspx Wed, 11 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for better alcohol dementia awareness ahead of G8 summit]]> Swanswell’s calling for better awareness and increased investment in treatment for a form of dementia caused by regular alcohol use that can potentially be reversed, ahead of special G8 summit next week.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol use, is raising awareness of alcohol dementia – a condition similar to other forms of dementia, often making accurate diagnosis difficult.

But if caught early enough and with the right treatment, the effects can potentially be reversed and in many cases, people can return to independent living (Smith I and Hillman A, 1999).

Research suggests alcohol dementia affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK (Lishman WA 1990) but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s (Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M and Garralda E). Swanswell’s youngest sufferer was 27.

It comes as new figures from Alzheimer’s Disease International suggest the number of people living with dementia worldwide is set to treble from 44 million currently to around 135 million by 2050, with a surge expected in poor and middle-income countries (BBC News).

The analysis was released in the run up to a G8 dementia summit in London on 11 December, where ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities will meet to discuss research, prevention, treatment and improving the quality of life for people with dementia (Department of Health).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Research suggests that alcohol dementia affects at least 80,000 people in the UK alone and we’ve heard of cases involving people as young as 27, yet it’s entirely preventable.

‘It’s caused by regular alcohol use, so by making more people aware of the long-term harms of regular drinking through better education and clearer information, we could reduce the risk of this form of dementia happening in the first place.

‘We also know that, with early diagnosis and effective treatment, the condition can be reversed or relieved, so that up to 50% of people who develop alcohol dementia can continue to live independently.

‘We hope that when the world’s decision-makers meet at the G8 summit next week that alcohol dementia will be among the topics prioritised, because it’s a problem we can treat effectively and prevent with the right education.

‘With proper investment in research, diagnosis and treatment, alcohol dementia could be a thing of the past.

‘Ultimately though, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

Swanswell’s currently running a clinical trial to identify people affected by alcohol dementia and to test a treatment it’s developed, which could help people return to independent living and improve their quality of life.  

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-better-alcohol-dementia-awareness-ahead-of-G8-summit.aspx Thu, 05 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Yarnbombing Barnsley: Swanswell raises awareness of carers’ rights]]> Knitted squares are appearing across Barnsley this week as Swanswell helps highlight the rights of carers, as part of a national awareness-raising campaign.

It’s Carers Rights Day on Friday 29 November 2013 and the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be joining in by running a number of activities in the lead up to the day.

Led by Carers UK, the annual campaign aims to make carers aware of the different types of help available across the country. This year’s theme is ‘rights, advice, support’ and focuses on ensuring carers understand their rights and can access good quality advice.

In Barnsley, Swanswell runs the Carer Support Service for people who are looking after friends or relatives affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

It offers a range of emotional and practical support for carers, including help with understanding a loved one’s treatment and recovery, as part of the town’s integrated treatment system.

Between now and this Friday, squares knitted by team members, volunteers and carers will be appearing on lamp posts across Barnsley to promote Carers Rights Day and highlight the support available from Swanswell.

The team are also holding a ‘cuppa, cake and crafts session’ for anyone wanting to find out more about Swanswell’s services in Barnsley. It’ll be held at the Olive Café, Pitt Street, Barnsley from 3pm to 5pm on Friday 29 November 2013.

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s Carer Support Service, said: ‘Carers often tell us how isolating and emotionally difficult it is to look after a loved one affected by alcohol or drug misuse, especially if they don’t know where to go for help.

Carers Rights Day is an opportunity to find out more about the help and advice available in Barnsley, so carers can move forward with their life while still supporting friends of relatives with their recovery.’

To find out more, visit our Carer Support Service page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Yarnbombing-Barnsley-Swanswell-raises-awareness-of-carers-rights.aspx Mon, 25 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes conversation around tackling underage drinking]]> Swanswell’s welcoming conversations around tackling underage drinking after a new report called for a crackdown on adults buying alcohol for children.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to research published by Demos today (22 November 2013) called ‘Sobering Up’.

It suggests that people who buy alcohol on behalf of young people under 18 should face tougher punishments including community service, social shaming or be banned from shops.

The research suggests a third of 11 to 15 year olds admitted getting alcohol in the last four weeks; one in five were given alcohol by parents; and the same number said they’d received it from friends. Around one in seven had also asked someone else to buy it for them.

While Swanswell supports any focus on tackling underage and problem drinking, it believes the conversation needs to be about the harms of giving alcohol to children, rather than simply toughening the punishment for those who do it.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Any conversation around tackling underage drinking is welcome but the focus here needs to be around educating people about the risks of giving alcohol to children in the first place.

While there are implications for anyone drinking regularly or to excess, there’s a particular risk to children because it can affect areas of the brain that are still developing, increase the risk of liver disease and the chance of becoming alcohol dependent later (source: Drinkaware).

If children are seeing friends or relatives drinking regularly or getting drunk, or if alcohol is being bought for them or given to them, then they’ll assume it’s normal behaviour and they’ll more than likely mirror it themselves.

Many of the people who come to us for help say that their problems with alcohol started when they were under 18, often because they could get someone else to buy it for them or it was easily accessible in the home.

So it’s important for adults to think about their own attitudes towards alcohol and the message they’re sending to children – have regular, open conversations to help young people understand the harms, so they can make informed decisions about alcohol use.

Having access to better education and clearer information about alcohol use will go a long way to achieving that.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-conversation-around-tackling-underage-drinking.aspx Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell supports Road Safety Week]]> Swanswell has contributed to a special blog as part of Road Safety Week 2013, which is taking place this week. 

This year's theme is about being 'tuned in' as a driver and avoiding distractions.  

Alcohol impacts on reaction times, speed, and stopping distance, making it much harder to be focused on the road and what is around drivers. 

Jackie Soulier, Operations Manager for Swanswell’s Accredited Programmes, gives this message to drivers: 'The only way to be sure that you’re not over the drink-drive limit is not to drink at all if you’re getting behind the wheel - any amount of alcohol can affect someone’s ability to drive, so it’s not worth taking the risk.' 

You can read Jackie’s full interview and learn more here.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-supports-Road-Safety-Week.aspx Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol Awareness Week: Presentation highlights Swanswell's support for carers in Barnsley]]> People caring for friends or relatives affected by problem alcohol use in Barnsley can find out more about the help on offer, as part of a special presentation this week, organised by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week by hosting an awareness-raising event in the town, from 6pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 20 November 2013.

It’ll take place at Henry Windsor House, 13 Pitt Street, Barnsley, and will talk to carers about the effects of alcohol on the body, different types of alcohol use and explain dependency in more detail, so they can understand their loved one’s situation and recovery.

The theme for Alcohol Awareness Week – a national campaign led by Alcohol Concern – this year is encouraging conversations around alcohol, so there will also be an opportunity to ask questions and talk to members of the team.

In Barnsley, Swanswell runs the Carer Support Service, which offers a range of emotional and practical support for carers, including help with understanding a loved one’s treatment and recovery.

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s Carer Support Service, said: ‘Carers often tell us how isolating and emotionally difficult it is to look after a loved one affected by alcohol or drug misuse, especially if they don’t know where to go for help.

Alcohol Awareness Week’s a good opportunity to encourage conversations around alcohol and highlight the support available through Swanswell’s Carer Support Service, so carers can move forward with their life while supporting a loved one with their recovery.’

To find out more about Swanswell’s Carer Support Service in Barnsley or to confirm a place at the presentation, call 01226 329 686.]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-highlights-carer-support-for-.aspx Mon, 18 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol Awareness Week: Swanswell renews calls for better alcohol education and information]]> Swanswell’s renewing calls for better alcohol education and clearer information to help tackle problem drinking, as part of Alcohol Awareness Week.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is joining thousands of organisations across the country to raise awareness of the harms of alcohol, as part of an annual campaign led by Alcohol Concern.

This year, Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 18 November to 24 November, and gives people the opportunity to learn more about the health risks, social problems and stigma associated with problem alcohol use, and how to tackle them appropriately.

Problem alcohol misuse costs society around £21 billion a year to deal with including £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more in related crime, lost working hours and accidents.

Swanswell believes preventative measures could help reduce the likelihood of alcohol use becoming a problem, with access to clearer information and better education being key to helping people make informed choices about their drinking.

Throughout the week, Swanswell will be taking part in a number of awareness-raising events including Sandwell, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Barnsley (Carer Support Service).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Problem alcohol use costs thousands of lives every year and billions of pounds to deal with, yet it’s something that’s entirely preventable in the first place.

Experience tells us that more investment in alcohol education and clearer information will go a long way to helping people make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol.

Better alcohol education in schools, compulsory questions in the driving theory test and information at the point of sale are just a few of the examples of measures we think could make a big difference, along with increased investment in support services.

All of which will help people have the right conversations around alcohol and encourage those who need help to access support, helping them change their lives for the better.’

Alcohol Awareness Week is also focusing on the importance of Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training, which helps health professionals, not already working in alcohol services, identify and support people whose drinking may be causing them harm.

Debbie added: ‘We’ve recognised for a while that IBA training is an important tool to help a range of healthcare services identify and support people who could be affected by problem alcohol use but might not realise it.

Since 2012, we’ve been working with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to offer this training to organisations in the town and it’s going well. However, we can also offer similar training in other areas too.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-Awareness-Week-Swanswell-renews-calls-for-better-alcohol-education-and-information.aspx Fri, 15 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for pre-emptive alcohol support in the workplace]]> Swanswell’s welcoming calls for employers to help prevent problem drinking at an early stage by introducing a number of measures in the workplace.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to an article in the British Medical Journal from the Alcohol Health Network.

It says encouraging employers to take pre-emptive action - such as confidential screening and providing brief interventions - would help ‘reduce harm and increase productivity’ among team members who drink too much.

The article suggests that introducing measures such as these will help employees, who might be worried about their drinking or who might not realise how much they’re drinking, assess risks to their health and take the appropriate steps to reduce harm.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know up to 17 million working days are lost every year because of alcohol-related sickness absence, costing employers around £6.4 billion a year, so it’s clear something needs to be done.

‘Prevention is better than cure, so offering employees the chance to voluntarily use confidential screening tools at work and have access to clear information about alcohol could help reduce problem drinking.

‘However, it’s essential that employers approach any identified cases of problem alcohol use sensitively and offer the appropriate support, so that team members feel they can get the help they need without fear of a negative impact on their employment.’

Carole is a former HR Director with over two decades of experience working in global companies. She had a long association with alcohol, at times drinking more than a bottle of spirits a day, and later drinking heavily at weekends, as a result of work pressures.

She said: ‘Sometimes I’d drink without it touching the sides – Friday drinking could spill over to Saturday drinking, it all depended on my mood and it was usually what was happening at work, which provided me with the excuse to drink.’

Carole didn’t tell her employers about her problems with alcohol because she was worried about the repercussions.

She added: ‘When an employee says they have a drink problem, they need to be utterly and absolutely assured that what they’ve told their manager or the HR department is confidential, providing it doesn’t impact the business and they’re not driving around in a fork lift after having a great deal to drink. It’s all about removing the stigma for me.’

Swanswell’s working with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to offer training that helps employers identify substance misuse among the workforce and develop appropriate support for employees affected by problem alcohol or drug use.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-calls-for-pre-emptive-alcohol-support-in-the-workplace.aspx Fri, 08 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell fundraiser helps residents clear out the clutter]]> With Christmas a matter of months away, Swanswell’s giving people in Coventry and Warwickshire a chance to clear out the clutter while helping to raise money for a good cause.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is running a stall at a car boot sale on Sunday 24 November 2013 at the Xcel Leisure Centre in Canley, Coventry, between 8.30am and 12.30pm.

Swanswell’s appealing for donations of spare items to sell on the stall including clothes, toys and books, which will be available to anyone wanting to pick up a bargain. All proceeds from the stall will go towards developing its services.

In Coventry and Warwickshire, Swanswell runs the Independent Living Service, which helps people affected by substance misuse with a range of non-clinical issues such as housing, debt, benefits, budgeting and help gaining paid employment.

Russell Johnson, Operations Manager for Swanswell’s Independent Living Service, said: ‘People will often have a clear out of old clothes or toys for example in the run up to Christmas when they replace them with new ones, so we’d like help give those items a new home while helping to improve the lives of others at the same time.

We’d welcome anything from clothes and toys to books and DVDs – whatever people can spare . Unfortunately though, we can’t accept electrical items or livestock.

Our stall will also be a great opportunity to pick up a bargain – all money raised will go towards helping local residents using our services to get their lives back on track, improving family life and ensuring a prolonged, effective recovery.’

To donate items to the stall, please take them to Swanswell’s office on Norton Street, Coventry, between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, by 15 November 2013, or call 02476 226 619.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-fundraiser-helps-clear-clutter.aspx Thu, 24 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for parents to have informed alcohol conversations with their children]]> Swanswell’s welcoming calls encouraging parents to have informed conversations with their children about alcohol, as new research finds almost half of 10 to 14 year olds have seen their parents drunk.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of an ICM poll for Drinkaware involving 1,000 parents and children.

According to the survey, 42% of parents said their child had seen them or their partner drunk. While 46% of 10 to 14 year olds said they’d seen their parents drunk, 29% said they’d seen it on more than one occasion.

It also found that almost three quarters (72%) of parents said they felt very confident talking to their children about alcohol and 75% felt they were best placed to do so.

Swanswell shares Drinkaware’s concerns that parents could be sending mixed messages to children about responsible drinking, and believes better alcohol education and clearer information is key to helping inform parents about their own attitudes to alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The results of this survey don’t come as a surprise but should act as a wake-up call for parents because their attitudes towards alcohol could influence those of their children later down the line.

If a child is regularly seeing their parents drinking to excess or drunk, it sends out the message that it’s the acceptable norm, and it increases the chances of them doing it when they’re older.  

So it’s vital that parents have access to clear information about the harms of alcohol to make informed decisions about their own drinking, and to help them consider the impact it could have on their children’s attitudes to alcohol.

It will also help parents prepare for conversations with their children about alcohol use by providing them with the knowledge to confidently and accurately answer any questions that might come up.

Ultimately though, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

Last month, Swanswell presented a fringe event called ‘The £21 billion drink: solving society’s alcohol problem’ at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, which looked at the cost of problem alcohol use to society and the need for clearer information.

Swanswell encouraged decision-makers to take another look at alcohol messaging and built a case for better education in schools, compulsory questions in the driving theory test and clear information at the point of sale.]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-calls-for-parents-to-have-informed-alcohol-conversations-with-their-children.aspx Mon, 21 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell announces further dates including evenings for free alcohol training, due to popular demand]]> Due to popular demand, Swanswell’s announced new dates for free training that will help Barnsley services identify people who might be affected by alcohol misuse.

The first of the free alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training sessions is on Thursday 24 October 2013 – a morning session starting at 9.30am and an afternoon session starting at 1.30pm.

All sessions will be at the Core, County Way, Barnsley and should last no longer than three hours each – places are limited and are filling fast.

Swanswell, a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will also run a further two sessions on Monday 11 November 2013 – an afternoon session from 1.30pm and an evening session from 6pm, introduced following feedback from delegates at previous IBA training events.

Around 11,840 people in Barnsley are drinking at high-risk levels1 but there could be more who don’t realise their alcohol use is causing themselves harm, so Swanswell’s offering the short course to help organisations identify and support those at risk.

Swanswell’s alcohol IBA training is open to organisations in the Barnsley Metropolitan Council area and is ideal for GP practices, pharmacists, hospitals and adult social services, as well as voluntary agencies, housing associations, job centres and anyone else in a public-facing role.

Delegates will learn how to provide brief interventions and advice around alcohol misuse, as well as how to refer people on to specialist services for further support if necessary.

It will also help them recognise and understand the psychological, physical and social effects of alcohol, confidently use different screening tools and learn more about Motivational Interviewing.

If organisations are interested in accessing training for a large number of people in their service, Swanswell can also deliver the training at other suitable venues, subject to minimum booking requirements, terms and conditions.

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Barnsley, said: ‘Alcohol misuse puts thousands of people at risk of harm every year, many may not even realise, so it’s vital that people can spot the signs early on.

Public facing organisations such as GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals are ideal settings to be able to offer brief interventions and advice to people who have visited for another reason, and may not have even realised that alcohol could be a factor.

The free training will give organisations the tools to ask the right questions and give appropriate advice without their client having to go elsewhere, unless specialist support is needed.

Ultimately it’ll help identify those at risk sooner, so they have less chance of becoming a dependent drinker or causing more harm to their health.’          

To book a place on the open IBA training course on 24 October or 11 November, or to enquire about an in-house course, contact barnsleyiba@swanswell.org or call Jon Groves on 01788 559 407.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-announces-further-dates-including-evenings-for-free-alcohol-training-due-to-popular-demand.aspx Thu, 10 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell launches new money advice service to help clients get back on track]]> People using Swanswell’s services in Birmingham and struggling with debt or money issues can get more help, thanks to a new project supported by Severn Trent Trust Fund.

Swanswell, a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has just launched a new money advice service for clients affected by substance misuse in the city.

It’s been introduced to help people affected by problem alcohol and drug use who are struggling with debt or money issues, and may have been affected by the government’s recent welfare reforms.

The project will run alongside Swanswell’s existing Supporting People service, giving advice around debts and budgeting, negotiating with creditors, setting up repayment plans and applying for grants to help improve chances of returning to independent living.

Advice and support will be given on a one-to-one basis by a specially trained Swanswell worker, thanks to support from Severn Trent Trust Fund, through appointments or over the phone by calling 0121 233 7400.

David Lewis, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Birmingham, said: ‘Problem alcohol and drug use can impact people in a number of ways – not just their health but also their day-to-day life including work, relationships and money.

Some of the people using our services have been particularly affected by the recent welfare reforms, so we felt it was really important to offer more support around managing debts and budgeting.

Swanswell’s new money advice service is designed to give people the skills to get back in control of their finances, helping to increase the chance of a full and sustained recovery and return to independent living.’

Stuart Braley, CEO of Auriga services, the administrators of Severn Trent Trust Fund, said: ‘We understand that the tough economic times and worries about money can have a negative affect on people’s lives, so we’re pleased to be able to support Swanswell’s new money advice service.

Ultimately, it’ll help people take control of their finances and improve their lives for the better.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-launches-new-money-advice-service-to-help-clients-get-back-on-track.aspx Wed, 09 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell renews drink-drive education calls]]> Swanswell is renewing calls that more prominent drink and drug awareness education should be included in all new driving theory tests.

It comes as the Department of Transport releases a new report, called Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report, which says deaths from alcohol-related accidents in the UK has increased by almost 20% in a year (Express).

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes the figures highlight the need for better education about the risks of driving under the influence.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today's figures are shocking and clearly show that something needs to be done urgently to stop the risk of further rises year on year. Any death caused by alcohol is completely preventable in the first place.

We think that by having more prominent information and compulsory questions about alcohol, or drug driving for that matter, will be very beneficial to motorists, as it will highlight the risks to themselves and other road users or pedestrians.

People often tell us after attending our Drink Impaired Driver’s programmes that they would never have got behind the wheel after drinking, if they had known the dangers – that’s a good enough reason to have better alcohol awareness education and compulsory questions in the theory test.

Ultimately, the only way you can be sure that you’re not over the legal limit is not to drink alcohol or take drugs if you’re getting behind the wheel. It’s really not worth it.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-renews-drink-drive-education-calls.aspx Mon, 30 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Sandwell's Safer 6 campaign is back]]> Sandwell’s Safer 6 campaign is back for 2013 – six weeks of targeted action and community safety work across the borough’s six towns. 

This year's campaign will run from 30 September to 10 November 2013, helping to keep the borough safe and clean as the nights draw in.

Fire, council, police, health and probation services and a host of others, including community and voluntary organisations, are all on board again for the Safer Sandwell Partnership's fourth annual Safer 6 campaign. 

West Midlands Fire Service's Jason Jew, who's chairing this year's campaign, said: 'Organisations work closely together day in, day out throughout the year to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour

'Safer 6 is all about us targeting our efforts and providing added reassurance during the darker nights, fireworks and bonfire season - a time when crime and anti-social behaviour can often rise.' 

Councillor Mahboob Hussain, Sandwell Council deputy leader and cabinet member for town and neighbourhood services, said: 'It's great to see this successful campaign back for another year

'It will build on the successes of the previous three years' campaigns and will also show to everyone how we are all working together to keep our communities safe.' 

Sandwell Police's Chief Inspector Harvi Khatkar, said: 'We are delighted to support Safer 6 again this year

'Organisations will work with the community to identify issues, tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, clean up 'grot spots' and promote safety and crime prevention to people of all ages.' 

The campaign will also work with young people to help keep them safe, including the council's Youth Bus touring the six towns. Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership (SDAP) will be providing advice and information on drugs and alcohol.

Sandwell Crime Prevention Panel and Litterwatch are among voluntary and community organisations taking part. Details of Safer 6 campaign events will be announced shortly.

People can follow Safer 6 campaign on Twitter using the #Safer6 hashtag or visit the Safer 6 webpage.

Issued on behalf of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Sandwells-Safer-6-campaign-is-back.aspx Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[£21 billion drink: Swanswell turns to party conferences to help reduce alcohol harm]]> Swanswell is calling for better education and clearer information around alcohol use, as it urges politicians to lead the way in tackling a £21 billion drink problem.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is holding fringe events at two of the party conferences this month to raise awareness of the issues people are facing, and to highlight the need for change.

Problem alcohol use costs the economy around £21 billion a year to deal with including up to £3.5 billion in NHS costs and billions more dealing with related crime, lost working hours and other associated problems.

In 2011/12, there were just over 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions – more than twice as many as in 2002/03.

During the fringe events on 22 September (Labour, Brighton) and 30 September (Conservatives, Manchester), Swanswell will discuss how alcohol use has become a big part of our society and show real life stories of how problems can quickly spiral out of control.

The charity will also look at the influences that affect how and when people start drinking, and the effect early exposure to alcohol can have on drinking habits later in life.

Swanswell will encourage decision-makers to take another look at alcohol messaging and will build a case for better education in schools, compulsory questions in the driving theory test and clear information at the point of sale.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Problem alcohol use costs thousands of lives every year and billions of pounds to deal with, yet it’s something that is entirely preventable in the first place.

It’s clear that public health messages just aren’t getting through – the alcohol industry spends around £800 million a year promoting products, compared to around £18 million spent by government on alcohol awareness messaging.

Experience tells us that more investment in alcohol education and clearer information will go a long way to helping people make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, so we’ll make our case at the party conferences.’

Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston, and a Swanswell trustee, added: ‘Britain has a £21 billion drink problem which can no longer be ignored. Politicians from all parties must come together to tackle the crisis, which is not only squeezing the NHS budget, but results in the early deaths of loved family members.

Through early education and engagement we can change this, saving public money and most importantly, saving lives.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/21-billion-drink-Swanswell-turns-to-party-conferences-to-help-reduce-alcohol-harm.aspx Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell event celebrates recovery from substance misuse in Birmingham]]> People who have made inspirational life changes after recovering from substance misuse are being celebrated as part of a special event in Birmingham, organised by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is holding its first recovery celebration event in the city on Tuesday 17 September 2013.

In Birmingham, Swanswell runs the adult drug treatment and support service as well as the Supporting People service, helping people affected by problem drug use with tenancies, budgeting and gaining paid employment. 

The event – open to people who’ve accessed Swanswell’s support, their friends and families – will take place between 10am and 1pm at 23 Summerhill Terrace in Birmingham, and includes speakers, entertainment and an award ceremony.  Booking is required.

It’s being held during recovery month, recognised world-wide as an opportunity to promote and celebrate recovery, not just to the public but also to those who are still affected by problem alcohol and drug use.

Swanswell’s recovery celebration event also comes in the same week as the UK Recovery Walk in Birmingham on 22 September 2013. Around 3,000 people are expected to take part in the walk beginning at Victoria Square at 12pm and ending in Calthorpe Park.

Natacha Bogard, Operations Manager for Swanswell in Birmingham, said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to hold our first celebration event during recovery month, particularly in such an important week for recovery in Birmingham.

Our event is a great opportunity for people in recovery to show exactly what they’ve achieved, turning their lives around for the better – it’s something they can be very proud of.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Recovery is a huge milestone for people affected by problem alcohol and drug use, so it’s really fitting to celebrate their achievements and show others that recovery is possible.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-event-celebrates-recovery-from-substance-misuse-in-Birmingham.aspx Wed, 11 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[UK Recovery Walk 2013 - Birmingham]]> Three thousand people are expected to take part in a national walk in Birmingham next week to celebrate recovery from addiction, mental health difficulties, abuse and oppression.

The annual Recovery Walk, hosted by different towns or cities each year, is an opportunity for people in recovery to celebrate their achievements and share them with others, while raising awareness of the support available for those who may not yet be getting help.

The two-mile walk takes place on Sunday 22nd September beginning at Victoria Square at 12.00pm, finishing at Calthorpe Park, where live music, food stalls, artists and entertainers will showcase the ever-growing recovery community’s diverse range of talent.

It’s been organised by people who are in recovery in the city and is open to anyone in recovery from addiction, mental health difficulties, abuse or oppression across the UK.

The Recovery Walk’s supported by a number of organisations including Addaction, Aquarius, Changes UK, CRI, Phoenix Futures and Swanswell, and helps raise awareness that recovery is possible. It also aims to tackle the stigma associated with addiction and mental health.

The organisers welcome everyone passionate about recovery to come along and celebrate on the day.

Chair of the organising committee, Richard Maunders, said: 'Those of us who were privileged to take part in the UK Recovery Walk in Brighton last year know what a powerful message of hope these events can bring to individuals, families and communities. 

'We're extremely proud that Birmingham has been chosen to host the event this year in recognition of its title 'the recovery capital of the UK' and we look forward to highlighting that recovery can be meaningful, achievable and fun. 

'So whether you're in recovery yourself, related to someone in recovery or just want to join in our celebration we'd love to see you on September 22nd.'

For more information about how to get involved and to register visit the UK Recovery Walk 2013 website. 

The organisers have also set up a Facebook page at and are on Twitter.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/UK-Recovery-Walk-2013---Birmingham.aspx Mon, 09 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Leicestershire man runs three-marathon challenge to raise money for Swanswell]]> A Leicestershire man is taking on a personal challenge to run three marathons in four weeks to raise money for Swanswell.

Gavin McDermott from Coalville will be running a combined 78.6 miles across a range of terrains in the space of a month to raise money for the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

His challenge begins with the Marathon du Medoc in Bordeaux, France, on 07 September 2013, followed by the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham on 29 September 2013.

It ends on 06 October 2013 with the Glencoe Marathon in Scotland – linking Glencoe with Glen Nevis, taking on the Devil’s Staircase, a 500 metre climb over the eastern edge of Aonach and 26.2 miles of running, mostly off road.

Gavin decided to take on the three-marathon task and raise money for Swanswell after seeing how people have been affected by problem alcohol and drug use during the economic downturn.

The 43-year-old is hoping to raise over £1,000 for the national charity’s services in Leicestershire and Rutland.

In the build up to the marathons, Gavin has been running dozens of miles every week – in the last week alone, he’s clocked up 52 miles before reducing his distances in preparation for the first race in France.

Gavin said: ‘I’m really looking forward to completing my three-marathon challenge while raising money for Swanswell at the same time.

Although I do like to keep fit, I’ve not done anything of this scale before, so I’m excited about completing it and helping to make a difference to the lives of people affected by problem alcohol and drug use in Leicestershire and Rutland.’

Jo Woods, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘We’re delighted that Gavin has chosen to support Swanswell with his three-marathon challenge and we wish him all the best for these events.

Problem alcohol and drug use can affect anyone – not just individuals but also their friends, families and communities, so it’s really important for us to come up with new ways of reaching more people.

As a charity, fundraising efforts such as this and other donations play a big part in the development of new services, so we can help even more people to change and be happy.’

To support Gavin’s fundraising challenge, visit his JustGiving page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Leicestershire-man-runs-three-marathon-challenge-to-raise-money-for-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[August bank holiday opening hours]]> Swanswell will once again be offering advice and support over the August bank holiday to people using its services.

Since 2011, the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been offering special telephone and face-to-face support during holiday periods, in addition to its regular services at all other times.

On Monday 26 August 2013, Swanswell will provide face-to-face appointments, telephone support, drop-in facilities and needle exchange at selected offices from 9am to 5pm, when many other services are closed.

In Birmingham, people using Swanswell’s Supporting People and drug support services will be able to speak to a worker through face-to-face appointments at Ruskin Chambers on Corporation Street, or by calling 0121 233 7400. Home visits are also available.

People using Swanswell’s Independent Living Service in Coventry and Warwickshire have access to the telephone service on bank holiday Monday by calling 02476 226 619, with a drop-in service also available at its office in Norton Street, Coventry.

In Leicestershire and Rutland, appointments, a needle exchange and drop in service will be available at the charity’s offices in Loughborough (95 Ashby Road) and Coalville (42 High Street), alongside telephone support on 0300 303 5000.

A telephone service and face-to-face appointments will be available to people wanting advice and support in Sandwell by calling 0845 112 0100 (local rate).

Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Sandwell will be available as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been offering additional support during the bank holiday for a while now after recognising that this time of year can be difficult for clients, especially when many other services are closed.

The popularity of this bank holiday service is growing, so we’ll continue to offer additional support during all bank holiday periods. It’s part of our commitment to making services available to more people when they need them.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/August-bank-holiday-opening-hours.aspx Mon, 19 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s substance misuse training for employers rolled out nationally]]> A Swanswell and ACAS training course helping businesses tackle substance misuse in the workplace is being rolled out nationally due to popular demand.

‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employer’s guide’ was created by Swanswell - a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - to help organisations identify and appropriately address problem alcohol and drug use.

British industry loses £6.4 billion per year due to sickness caused by alcohol use and £1.4 billion per year due to drug use1. Employers are also faced with a number of legal and management issues around how to approach the problem.    

The series of one-day training courses, run jointly with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), dispel some of the common myths around alcohol and drug use.

The course raises awareness of the different substances and their effects, and gives employers the confidence to deal with any related issues that may arise in the workplace.

It’s aimed at business owners, HR and personnel professionals, line managers, heads of departments and team leaders, health and safety officers, occupational health officers or anyone else with a responsibility for managing employee welfare.

Following the success of a one-day course at ACAS in Birmingham earlier this year, the training has now been rolled out to other ACAS venues in England and Wales, including Cardiff on 05 September and Birmingham on 19 September.

Further dates have also just been announced including London on 08 October and Leeds on 30 October.

Sharon Smyth, Swanswell’s Talent Development Manager, said: ‘Businesses are losing billions of pounds every year due to sickness absence caused by alcohol or drug use, yet many employers aren’t sure about the best way to deal with these issues.

In this economy, it’s vital that organisations do all they can to reduce the cost of this type of absence effectively, while ensuring their employees have the necessary support to improve their health and wellbeing.

There can be many complex reasons behind someone’s alcohol or drug misuse, so Swanswell’s training course will give employers the tools they need to approach the subject sensitively and appropriately.

‘Most importantly, it will help them give employees access to the information they need to make informed choices about alcohol and drugs, so they can be productive and live a happy and healthier lifestyle.’

For prices, terms and conditions or to book a place on ‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employers’ guide’, visit the ACAS website.

To find out more about other Swanswell training, including ‘open’ and ‘in-house’ courses, visit our training pages.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-substance-misuse-training-for-employers-rolled-out-nationally.aspx Fri, 16 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Generous Rugby shoppers help raise money for Swanswell]]> Shoppers at a Rugby supermarket have helped raise £165 for Swanswell in just two hours during a special bag pack over the weekend.

Six team members and volunteers from the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, offered a helping hand at Asda in Chapel Street on Sunday 11 August, as part of a fundraising and awareness-raising project.

In Rugby, Swanswell offers support through its Independent Living Service for people affected by problem alcohol and drug use, providing a range of personal advice around housing, debts, benefits, budgeting and help gaining paid employment.

The service is available throughout Coventry and Warwickshire by calling Swanswell on 024 76 226 619.

The money raised will go towards exciting projects that help people overcome problem alcohol and drug use.

Cat Sanchez, Swanswell’s Fundraising Executive, said: ‘As a charity, we’re always looking for new ways to help people turn their lives around for the better and fundraising opportunities like this go a long way to helping us achieve that.

Problem alcohol and drug use affects millions of lives across the country every year – not just those directly involved, but also their friends and families, who will often by supporting their loved ones without turning for help themselves.

We’d like to say a big thank you to Asda for offering their support by letting us pack bags in Rugby on a busy weekend, and to shoppers who have been very generous with their donations.’

Alison Morgan, Community Life Champion at Asda in Rugby, said: ‘We’re delighted to be helping one of our local charities with their fundraising efforts and is part of our commitment to the communities we serve.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Generous-Rugby-shoppers-help-raise-money-for-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 13 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Books donation helps Swanswell clients improve IT skills]]> More than 100 computer guides have been donated to Swanswell to help people affected by substance misuse improve their IT skills and support career development.

They were given to the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, by Warwickshire-based publisher In Easy Steps Ltd, who produce a range of ‘how-to’ computer books that are sold worldwide.

Swanswell will be making the books – such as Laptops in easy steps, Internet for Seniors, and Computer basics in easy steps – available to people accessing its job clubs, service user groups, Supporting People services and the Independent Living Service.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re really grateful to In Easy Steps Ltd for their generous donation of books that will really make a difference to people using our services.

We will use the guides in our jobs clubs, Supporting People services and Independent Living Service, to help people improve their IT skills and build their CVs, which will go a long way to improving employment chances or furthering their careers.

We’re sure these books will be well received and we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone at In Easy Steps Ltd for sending them to us.’

Sevanti Kotecha, Director of In Easy Steps Ltd, said: ‘I’m pleased to be able to contribute our popular ‘In Easy Steps’ guides to Swanswell to help clients build their computer skills to help accelerate their path towards recovery.

In Easy Steps books are easy-to-follow and provide step-by-step instructions that make learning easy. This proven approach is designed to encourage people to learn various aspects of computing and professional skills by expanding their knowledge.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/books-donation-helps-Swanswell-clients.aspx Tue, 13 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for better education around risks of drink or drug driving]]> Swanswell’s calling for better education and clearer messages around the dangers of drink and drug driving as new figures give cause for concern.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to two separate reports this week around using alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel.

New figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show the number of deaths in drink-drive accidents on Britain’s roads increased by 26% last year (290 deaths), compared to 2011 (230 deaths). It added 6,680 accidents in 2012 were linked to alcohol use.

Despite the rise, the DfT says the number of deaths is still around 25% lower than 2009 and almost 40% lower than the average between 2005 and 2009 – and considerably lower than the 1,640 drink-drive deaths recorded in 1979, when records began.

Meanwhile, a study for insurance comparison site Confused.com suggests nearly one in five people have driven under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs (BBC News).

According to the survey, 7% of the 2,000 motorists that were asked said they had used illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine or ecstasy before getting behind the wheel, and 12% said they’d driven under the influence of drugs prescribed by their doctor.

New legislation is planned next year which will make it easier to prosecute people driving under the influence of drugs.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell Chief Executive, said: ‘These reports certainly are worrying and should bring into sharp focus the risks and consequences of drink or drug driving.

We welcome attempts made over the years to try and tackle driving under the influence but we think more can be done to educate drivers in the first place, such as through more prominent information in the driving theory test.

Alcohol and drugs affect people in different ways but no matter how small an amount you might have before getting behind the wheel, judgement is affected and the risk of causing serious injury or even death is very real.

We shouldn’t forget that the victims are not just the people who have been drink or drug-driving – passengers, other road users and pedestrians are also put at risk.

People often tell us after attending our Drink Impaired Driver’s programmes that they would never have got behind the wheel after drinking, if they had known the risks, which suggests more extensive alcohol or drug education would work.

‘Ultimately, the only way to be sure you’re not over the limit and putting yourself and others at risk, is not to drink or use drugs at all before getting behind the wheel.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-better-education-around-risks-of-drink-or-drug-driving.aspx Fri, 02 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Crime Survey for England and Wales highlights there is a growing use of legal highs, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell welcomes a new report from the Home Office, which has recognised that legal highs are a growing problem in England and Wales by including additional questions relating to the ‘legal highs’ nitrous oxide and salvia in their drug misuse crime survey for England and Wales 2012-2013.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the Drug Misuse: Findings from the 2012 to 2013 Crime Survey for England and Wales, issued by the Home Office.

According to the report, this is the first year that questions have been added on last year’s use of the ‘legal highs’ salvia and nitrous oxide.

The report states that 2.0% of adults aged 16-59 had taken nitrous oxide in the last year and 0.3% of adults aged 16-59 had taken salvia in the last year. For young adults, aged 16-24, 6.1% had taken nitrous oxide in the last year and 1.1% had taken salvia in the last year.

These figures show that young people are most at risk from the rising numbers of ‘legal highs’ that are developing throughout the UK and Swanswell has experienced similar rises in their young persons substance misuse treatment service.

Jo Woods, Swanswell Regional Development Manager, said: ‘We recognise there is a need to respond to the increase in the ‘legal high’ use that we are seeing. We’ve noted an increase in ‘legal highs’ in both our young persons and adult treatment  services in Leicestershire and Rutland but more significantly in our young persons service.

'It is worrying that the report shows there is a disproportionate number of people aged between 16 and 24 taking these types of drugs compared to the overall number of 16-59 year olds using legal highs.

'Referrals to the young persons service for those with a legal high as their primary substance of abuse increased by 10.17% from 4.88% in 2011-2012 to 15.05% in 2012-2013. This is compared to an increase in our adults service from 3.61% in 2011-2012 to 8.05% in 2012-2013.

'Referrals where a legal high is being used increased shockingly by 33.87% from 4.88% in 2011-2012 to 38.75% in 2012-2013.

'For the adult service the increase went from 4.81% in 2011-2012 to 13.04% in 2012-2013. We welcome this report and are pleased to see the Home Office recognising the developing problem.

'Ultimately, substance misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can solve on their own – we all have a part to play.’

Swanswell is currently supporting a campaign led by the Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Strategic Team called ‘Legal highs, lethal lows’, which highlights the risks of recreational drug use and links to health risks in isolation or combined with alcohol.

To find out more about the ‘Legal highs, lethal lows’ campaign, visit www.legalhighslethallows.co.uk or for more information about Swanswell and the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Crime-Survey-for-England-and-Wales-highlights-there-is-a-growing-use-of-legal-highs-says-Swanswell-.aspx Fri, 26 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Rise in alcohol deaths among young women highlights need for more action, says Swanswell]]> A new study showing deaths from alcohol-related diseases in young women are rising is another clear example that more needs to be done to tackle problem drinking, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to results of research in to deaths of men and women of all ages in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester between 1980 and 2011 (reports BBC news).

Experts looked at patterns of alcohol-related death rates in the three cities and compared trends of people born between 1910 and 1979 as part of the study, which featured in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It found that men were more likely to die from alcohol-related diseases than women, and for the majority, cases had begun to level off or fall slightly - but rates among the youngest group of women (born in the 1970s) had increased in all three areas.

Researchers suggest that cheaper, more accessible alcohol, better marketing and longer drinking hours were a factor and that minimum pricing – shelved by the government this week – would have helped to tackle the problem.

Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne announced on Wednesday that alternatives to minimum pricing would be introduced, including a ban on alcohol sales below duty plus VAT and plans for tougher action on irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs (reports the Guardian).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While the figures aren’t surprising, they are very worrying and are a clear example of how more needs to be done to tackle problem alcohol use, sooner rather than later.

Any alcohol-related death is entirely preventable in the first place by giving people the right information, so they can make informed decisions about their drinking and understand the consequences of having too much.

'We agree that measures such as minimum pricing would have helped address the problem – used alongside other elements such as better alcohol education and clearer information - so we’re disappointed it’s been shelved.

Ultimately though, tackling alcohol misuse is something we all have to take responsibility for  - it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Rise-in-alcohol-deaths-among-young-women-highlights-need-for-more-action-says-Swanswell.aspx Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Update: Swanswell calls for urgent alternatives to dropped minimum pricing plans]]> Swanswell’s calling on the government to urgently consider viable alternatives to tackling alcohol misuse following confirmation that plans for minimum pricing in England are to be shelved.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding after Home Office minister Jeremy Browne said the policy would remain ‘under consideration’ but that ‘it will not be taken forward at this time' (reports BBC News).

The government’s plans would have seen the introduction of a minimum price of 45 pence per unit of alcohol, which would have seen retailers having to charge at least £1.56 for a can of strong lager (7.9%) and more than £4.22 for a bottle of wine (12.5%).

Research suggests a minimum unit price of 45p would reduce alcohol consumption by 4.3%, see 66,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions and lead to 2,000 fewer deaths after ten years.

A ban on multi-buy promotions has also been rejected but alcohol will not be allowed to be sold below the cost of duty plus VAT (reports the Guardian).

Swanswell believes measures that target price and promotion will help tackle alcohol misuse, if considered with other elements of the marketing mix – such as where alcohol is placed for sale and a look at the product itself.              

Better alcohol education, clearer information and fewer mixed messages should also become a priority, alongside increased investment in treatment and support services.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘After being so encouraged by the government considering minimum unit pricing as one of the options to tackle alcohol misuse, we’re disappointed that plans are being shelved.

Instead, the government is going to ban sales of alcohol below the value of alcohol duty and VAT, but it’s likely to only affect a small number of alcohol sales that are heavily discounted.

‘It means there will still be high-strength lagers and ciders available at low cost, which misses the point.

Price is only one element that needs to be considered – promotion, place and the product itself should be investigated, alongside better alcohol education and clearer information to help people make informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-urgent-alternatives-to-dropped-minimum-pricing-plans-latest.aspx Wed, 17 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell walk to remember lives lost due to problem alcohol and drug use]]> People using Swanswell services in Leicestershire and Rutland are taking part in a Remembrance Walk next week to pay tribute to the thousands of lives lost as a result of substance misuse around the world.

Organised by clients involved with the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, the five kilometre walk will begin at Queens Park, Loughborough at 1pm on Tuesday 23 July, ending there two hours later.

It’s part of International Remembrance Day (21 July) – an annual event that aims to remember those who have died because of problem alcohol and drug use, and to celebrate the many lives saved by treatment.

The global campaign began in Germany in 1998 but is now marked with events in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and the UK.

Swanswell has actively marked this day since 2009, and again this year, is giving clients a chance to leave comments in a book of remembrance at all of its offices.

In addition, special postcards are being printed for people to leave messages that will be attached to a remembrance wall or memory tree. Some offices are also holding a coffee morning for clients.

Jo Woods, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘It’s important to remember the countless lives that have been lost around the world because of problem alcohol and drug use, and International Remembrance Day is a vital part in achieving that.

It’s an event that we’ve marked for a number of years and clients are always actively involved. This year, they wanted to do even more by organising a Remembrance Walk around Loughborough, which we’ve gladly supported.

We hope that by raising awareness of problem alcohol and drug use through events like the Remembrance Walk, more people will start their recovery journey by speaking to Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland on 0300 303 5000.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-walk-to-remember-lives-lost-due-to-problem-alcohol-and-drug-use.aspx Tue, 16 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for urgent alternatives to dropped minimum pricing plans]]> Swanswell’s calling on the government to urgently consider viable alternatives to tackling alcohol misuse following confirmation that plans for minimum pricing in England are to be dropped.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding after it was revealed the Home Office is set to make an announcement next week formally abandoning the proposals, first set out last year.

The government’s plans would have seen the introduction of a minimum price of 45 pence per unit of alcohol, which would have seen retailers having to charge at least £1.56 for a can of strong lager (7.9%) and more than £4.22 for a bottle of wine (12.5%).

Research suggests a minimum unit price of 45p would reduce alcohol consumption by 4.3%, see 66,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions and lead to 2,000 fewer deaths after ten years (BBC News, 2012).

However, it’s reported that ministers will now press ahead with an alternative idea banning retailers from selling alcohol below cost price, also known as ‘loss leader deals’.

Swanswell believes measures that target price and promotion will help tackle alcohol misuse, if considered with other elements of the marketing mix – such as where alcohol is placed for sale and a look at the product itself.     

Better alcohol education, clearer information and fewer mixed messages should also become a priority, alongside increased investment in treatment and support services.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘After being so encouraged by the government considering minimum unit pricing as one of the options to tackle alcohol misuse, we’re disappointed that plans are being dropped.

Reports suggest that a below-cost ban is being considered but that’s likely to only affect a small number of alcohol sales that are heavily discounted, so there will still be high-strength lagers and ciders available at low cost, which misses the point.

Price is only one of the elements that needs to be considered – promotion, place and the product itself should be investigated, alongside better alcohol education and clearer information to help people make informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’ 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-urgent-alternatives-to-dropped-minimum-pricing-plans.aspx Fri, 12 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell launches new telephone support for alcohol misuse in Leicestershire and Rutland]]> Swanswell’s making it even easier for people in Leicestershire and Rutland to get support for alcohol misuse by launching a new telephone intervention service.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is trialling the service across the two counties to remove any barriers that individuals may face accessing services in person.

It means people will have more choice about how they access treatment with an option for appointments and structured interventions over the phone where appropriate, alongside existing support at Swanswell offices and other community locations.

The telephone intervention service will be available to young people and adults by calling 0300 303 5000.

Specially trained team members will be available throughout the week when Swanswell’s office-based services are open. Weekday evening and Saturday appointments can also be arranged to suit the needs of clients.

Jo Woods, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager for Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘Leicestershire and Rutland is a large, mainly rural area, which can make it difficult for people to get around if they don’t have easy access to transport.

Working hours or a busy home life can also make it more difficult for people to come to us for support, so we hope this new telephone intervention service will be a useful  option for people who may not always be able to come in to see us.’

For more details about our services in Leicestershire and Rutland, see our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-launches-new-telephone-support-for-alcohol-misuse-in-Leicestershire-and-Rutland.aspx Tue, 09 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New survey highlights need for better alcohol education, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s calling for better alcohol education after a new survey found one in ten primary school leavers admit to drinking alcohol during the last week.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of a new poll by the Schools Health Education Unit, released this week.

It found that 13 percent of 10 to 11-year-old boys and ten percent of girls the same age said they had drunk an alcoholic drink within the last seven days (reports the Telegraph).

The survey also reported that one in every 100 young boys said they’d drunk alcohol on three of the last seven days, and more than a quarter of year ten boys admitted drinking alcohol at least once in the previous week.

Just over one in five year ten girls said they’d been drunk on at least one occasion in the last week. Ten percent of year ten pupils also admitted to taking drugs while drinking, according to the survey.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s very worrying that children as young as 10 are drinking alcohol and some are even taking drugs while drinking, which is even more dangerous.

Alcohol use at any age can cause a variety of health and other associated problems but drinking during childhood can also affect development, so it’s clear something needs to be done to help children understand the harms of alcohol.

Swanswell’s own research with clients, called Looking back: the adult viewpoint, found that many people’s problems with alcohol began when they were in their teenage years – peer pressure was one of the main reasons they started drinking.

Chris added: ‘Children and young people can be influenced more easily than adults - they need easy access to information that is relevant to them early on. When they know and understand more about the effect that drugs and alcohol can have on them, they are better placed to make informed decisions when pressured by their peers.

‘Schools have an important part to play in alcohol education but it’s vital that parents are actively involved too - their attitudes to alcohol are the biggest influence on their own children.

So, parents should think about where alcohol’s stored at home, when they drink and how much they drink. They can prepare and encourage informed conversations with their children about alcohol use and get advice from organisations like Swanswell.

'Ultimately, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any government, organisation or individual can tackle on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-survey-highlights-need-for-better-alcohol-education-says-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 09 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Last chance for free July places on Swanswell’s alcohol training in Barnsley]]> Swanswell’s reminding Barnsley services about a free training course running this month that’ll help them identify people who might be affected by alcohol misuse.

There are around 11,840 people in Barnsley who are drinking at high-risk levels, so the national recovery charity is offering courses to help identify and support people who may be causing themselves harm because of their alcohol use.

Funded by Barnsley Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Swanswell’s Alcohol and Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training will next run on Wednesday 17 July 2013 at the Core, County Way, Barnsley. Places are limited and are filling fast. 

The course is open to organisations in the Barnsley Metropolitan Council area and is ideal for GP practices, pharmacists, hospitals, adult social services and those working in children and young persons’ services.

It’ll also be suitable for voluntary agencies, housing associations and anyone else in a public-facing role.

Delegates will learn how to provide brief interventions and advice around alcohol misuse, as well as how to refer people on to specialist services for further support if necessary.

It’ll also help them recognise and understand the psychological, physical and social effects of alcohol, calculate alcohol units, confidently use different screening tools and learn more about Motivational Interviewing.

Training can also be delivered in-house, subject to minimum booking requirements, terms and conditions.

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Barnsley, said: ‘Alcohol misuse puts thousands of people at risk of harm every year, many may not even realise, so it’s vital that people can spot the signs early on.

Public facing organisations such as GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals are ideal settings to be able to offer brief interventions and advice to people who have visited for another reason and may not have even realised that alcohol could be a factor.

The free training will give organisations the tools to ask the right questions and give appropriate advice without their client having to go elsewhere, unless specialist support is needed.

Ultimately it’ll help identify those at risk sooner, so they have less chance of becoming a dependent drinker or causing more harm to their health.’          

To book your place on the open IBA training course on 17 July 2013 or to enquire about in-house courses and other training, contact barnsleyiba@swanswell.org or call Jon Groves on 01788 559 407.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Last-chance-for-free-July-places-on-Swanswells-alcohol-training-in-Barnsley.aspx Thu, 04 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[World drugs report highlights need for legal highs action, says Swanswell]]> A new report indicating that the UK has the largest market for ‘legal highs’ in the European Union highlights the need for urgent action, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the World Drugs Report 2013, issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the report, 670,000 people in Britain aged between 15 and 24 have experimented with ‘legal highs’ at least once and there has been an alarming increase in ‘legal highs’, otherwise known as New Psychoactive Substances or NPS (reports BBC News).

Although Mephedrone use has fallen in England and Wales since it was banned in 2010, it’s still the most widely used of the ‘legal highs’ in the UK.

Earlier this month, two other ‘legal highs’ were made illegal while government experts assess whether they should be permanently controlled. BenzoFury and NBOMe are now subject to a 12-month Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO).

The report found that the use of traditional drugs - such as heroin or cocaine – is stable across the World but ‘legal highs’ are ‘proliferating at an unprecedented rate’ with almost 251 new substances identified by mid 2012.           

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘While not surprising, the report should act as a wake-up call to society about the astonishing growth of ‘legal highs’. It’s particularly worrying that the UK has the largest market for ‘legal highs’ in Europe.

It’s clear that urgent action needs to be taken to tackle ‘legal highs’ – they’re being developed faster than the law can keep up with them.

‘However, taking action to reduce problem alcohol and drug use isn’t something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own. We all have a part to play.’

Although ‘legal highs’ are marketed as legal substances, it doesn’t mean they are safe or approved – it just means they have not yet been made illegal to use or possess.

They’re often used like illegal substances such as cocaine or cannabis and can potentially be very dangerous, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol. They’re often advertised as bath salts or plant food but warn they’re not fit for human consumption.

While the long term effects aren’t really known, legal highs can cause reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and in the worst case, death.

Chris added: ‘These new substances are very dangerous and not enough is known about the long term effects because of the relatively short time they’ve been in existence, compared to illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

People will never really know what’s in them or what the effects are, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol, so we’re urging people to think twice about using them and to get help from organisations like Swanswell if they’re worried about legal highs.’

Swanswell is currently supporting a campaign led by the Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Strategic Team called ‘Legal highs, lethal lows’, which highlights the risks of recreational drug use and links to health risks in isolation or combined with alcohol.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/World-drugs-report-highlights-need-for-legal-highs-action-says-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls on more government help for ‘hidden’ carers]]> Swanswell’s calling on the government to do more to help carers of people affected by alcohol and drug misuse.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is lending its voice to join thousands of other organisations across the country in support of Carers Week from 10 to 16 June 2013.

Carers Week is a national campaign recognising and celebrating the contribution that over six-and-a-half million UK carers make to the lives of millions of people but as around 6,000 people begin caring every day, it’s asking whether people have the support they need.

This years’ theme is ‘Prepared to care?’ and will focus on how the current carer population is coping, how effectively Government is supporting the growing number of carers, and whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities.

It’s thought around 1.4 million people are affected by a relative’s drug use – that doesn’t include those affected by someone else’s alcohol misuse because it’s harder to quantify. Despite this, these carers aren’t entitled to the same help that others are.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Carers often tell us how isolating and emotionally difficult it is to look after a loved one affected by alcohol or drug misuse, especially if they don’t know where to go for help.

With at least a quarter of the UK’s carers looking after family or friends affected by drug misuse – and many more affected by someone’s alcohol misuse – we don’t think enough is being done on a national scale to support increasing numbers.

So we’re calling on the government to do more for carers, so that everyone in a caring role is entitled to the support they deserve, because without them, the country would face an extra £747 million a year on top of the health and social care budget.

Swanswell’s long recognised the need for better support for people caring for a friend or relative affected by substance misuse, which is why in 2010, it launched its carer support service in Barnsley, as part of the town’s integrated treatment system.

It offers emotional and practical support for carers, ranging from financial advice regarding carers allowance applications, to help with understanding a loved one’s treatment and recovery.

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s carer support service in Barnsley, said: ‘Swanswell’s carer support service provides much needed support for people who are affected by a friend or relative’s substance misuse, helping them move forward with their life while supporting a loved one through their journey towards recovery.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-on-more-government-help-for-hidden-carers.aspx Mon, 10 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell team to offer alcohol and drug awareness advice at Download festival]]> Swanswell will be attending one of the country’s leading rock festivals in Leicestershire this month to offer advice and support around alcohol and drug misuse.

Team members from the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be handing out harm minimisation advice and information at the Download Festival in Castle Donington from 12 June.

Swanswell will be joining North West Leicestershire District Council’s Community Safety Team at the main campsite between 10am and 8pm daily from Wednesday 12 June (when the campsite opens) to Sunday 16 June when the festival ends.

Festival-goers will be able to find the team, including Substance Misuse Workers, Support Workers and Recovery Workers, next to the Welfare tent in the main camp site, where they’ll be able to get information and confidential advice.

Swanswell’s team members will also be walking around the camp site and main arena throughout the festival weekend, offering harm minimisation information and Swanswell merchandise.

It’s the second year the charity has provided support at Download and complements Swanswell’s existing substance misuse support service in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Jo Woods, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘We’re always trying to find new ways to help as many people as we can, so the Download Festival is the perfect opportunity to offer advice and support around alcohol and drug use, if people need it.

‘Our team will be available on site to answer questions, get confidential advice or just to have a friendly chat, from the moment the campsite gates open, right through to the last day of the festival.

‘Outside of Download, we also provide help and support around substance misuse to people living in Leicestershire and Rutland by calling 0300 303 5000, popping in to one of our offices or accessing advice during one of our visits to community locations.

‘So if you’re worried about your alcohol or drug use, or someone else’s, get in touch with Swanswell to take the first step to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-team-to-offer-alcohol-and-drug-awareness-advice-at-Download-festival.aspx Thu, 06 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell wins football tournament celebrating recovery]]> Swanswell’s very own football team has lifted its first trophy after winning a special five-a-side tournament celebrating recovery in Birmingham. 

Two of the national charity's teams, Swanswell ‘A’ and Swanswell ‘B’, joined a number of other teams from organisations across the city as part of the annual tournament, organised by Changes UK, on Friday 24 May 2013.

Despite the adverse weather conditions, both teams – made up of Swanswell team members and service users – played brilliantly throughout the event.

Swanswell’s ‘A’ team made it through to the finals where they sealed victory before lifting the trophy. Swanswell’s ‘B’ team just missed out on the semi-finals but gave it their all in each round.


Video - Swanswell takes part in five-a-side tournament to celebrate recovery

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-wins-football-tournament-celebrating-recovery.aspx Wed, 05 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to deliver drink-drive rehabilitation scheme in the West Midlands and Warwickshire]]> Swanswell’s helping people understand the risks of drink-driving after gaining approval to provide a special scheme in the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has been given permission from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to deliver Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) courses in the region from now on.

The DDRS programme is an educational course for motorists who have been convicted of relevant drink-drive offences, and will promote safe and responsible driving.

It will help them understand their drinking behaviour in relation to driving, the potential impact drink-driving has on themselves and others, the law, how alcohol affects the ability to drive safely and the wider health effects of alcohol use, among other areas.

Drivers will pay to attend the DDRS programme and once completed successfully, they will be able to apply for earlier renewal of their licence.

Courses will run in three-week, four-week or eight-week sessions from a number of venues across Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Research suggests that a single alcoholic drink increases the risk of death or serious injury by five times, so it’s vital that we educate people about the risks to themselves and others, before it’s too late.

In our experience of running similar courses, people often tell us they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel in the first place if they’d known the affect that alcohol has on their ability to drive safely and responsibly.

Education is key to helping people make informed decisions about their alcohol use, so we hope this course gives them the information they need to ensure they don’t drink and drive in the future and ultimately, help save lives.’

Drivers face strict penalties if caught drink-driving including a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record, as well as an endorsement on their license for 11 years (Department for Transport).

In turn, it can also lead to increased car insurance cost, job loss (particularly if driving is an essential part of the job), trouble getting in to certain countries and a loss of independence.

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers in the UK: 

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-to-deliver-DDRS-in-West-Mids-and-Warwickshire.aspx Tue, 04 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers free alcohol training for Barnsley services]]> Free training courses are being offered by Swanswell to help services in Barnsley identify people who might be affected by alcohol misuse.

There are around 11,840 people in Barnsley who are drinking at high-risk levels, so the national recovery charity is offering half-day courses to help identify and support people who may be causing themselves harm because of their drinking.

Funded by Barnsley Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Swanswell’s Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training is open to those working in the Barnsley Metropolitan Council area.

It’s ideal for team members in GP practices, pharmacists, hospitals, housing associations, voluntary agencies, adult social services and those working in children and young persons’ services as well as anyone else in a public-facing role.

Delegates will learn how to provide brief interventions and advice around alcohol misuse, as well as how to refer people on to specialist services for further support if necessary.

It’ll also help them recognise and understand the psychological, physical and social effects of alcohol, calculate alcohol units, confidently use different screening tools and learn more about Motivational Interviewing.

Open courses are available on Wednesday 17 July (afternoon session) and Friday 13 September (morning or afternoon sessions available) at the Core, County Way, Barnsley, with further dates still to be announced.

Training can also be delivered in-house, subject to minimum booking requirements, terms and conditions.

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager in Barnsley, said: ‘Alcohol misuse puts thousands of people at risk of harm every year, many may not even realise, so it’s vital that people can spot the signs early on.

Public facing organisations such as GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals are ideal settings to be able to offer brief interventions and advice to people who have visited for another reason and may not have even realised that alcohol could be a factor.

The free training will give organisations the tools to ask the right questions and give appropriate advice without their client having to go elsewhere, unless specialist support is needed.

Ultimately it’ll help identify those at risk sooner, so they have less chance of becoming a dependent drinker or causing more harm to their health.’          

To book a place on the free Alcohol Intervention and Brief Advice training in Barnsley or for more information, visit our training page or call Jon Groves on 01788 559407.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-free-alcohol-training-for-Barnsley-services.aspx Tue, 04 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for action following a 139% increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions over the last ten years]]> Swanswell’s encouraging a greater focus on prevention after  new figures reveal a 26% increase in alcohol-related deaths in England in the last ten years.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the latest reports from the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre called ‘Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2013’1.

The report says there were 6,923 deaths directly related to alcohol in 2011 (the latest reported figures), compared to  5,476 in 2001, a 26% increase. In the last decade, the number of hospital admissions of people with an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition has more than doubled, rising from 510,700 to 1,220,300.

The cost to the NHS of prescriptions for the treatment of alcohol dependency  has also escalated from £1.72 million in 2001 to £2.49 million, a 43% increase and the number of people being treated for alcohol dependency has increased by 63% to 167,764  in 2011 from 102,741 in 2001.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘When compared to figures released 10 years ago, the enormity of the increase in the number of people affected by alcohol misuse and the cost of that increase to society is stark and should act as a catalyst for change. Any alcohol-related death is preventable.’

Since 2001, we have seen a large increase in alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions, but it doesn’t have to be this way.’

‘Many of these deaths will be attributed to health issues that have developed as a result of long term harmful drinking behaviour. However, the reality is that many people don’t consider their alcohol consumption to be harmful or look ahead to see how what they’re doing today will impact on their health in the future.’

‘The government is still considering  minimum alcohol pricing, which could be a great first step, but this alone won’t solve the problem.  Consideration also needs to be given to how alcohol is promoted and used by society.’

‘There needs to be more emphasis on alcohol education, particularly in schools, and clear information about the risks associated with alcohol so people can make sensible, informed choices,  change their behaviour and reduce the potential harm to their health.’

‘Ultimately, alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-action-.aspx Thu, 30 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes report on fall in drug deaths but calls for the government to continue to prioritise tackling drug misuse]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a report that details a fall in drug-related deaths but is calling for the government to continue to prioritise tackling drug misuse.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the latest report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction called ‘European Drug Report, 2013’.   

It says in Europe there were 6,500 deaths directly related to drugs in 2011 (the latest reported figures), compared to 7,700 in 2010 – a reduction of 15.5% percent.

The study also found that in 2011, Estonia had the highest rate of drug-related deaths with 135.7 drug-related deaths for every one million people. Romania had the lowest rate of drug-related deaths, with 1 drug-related death for every one million people. The UK had 52 drug-related deaths per one million people.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While today’s figures are encouraging, any drug-related death is still one too many, so there’s still a lot of work to do.’

‘While the figures show a fall in deaths, we hope the government takes note but still prioritises tackling drug misuse. We need a bigger emphasis on drug education, particularly in schools, and greater availability of clear information about drugs and harm minimisation so people can make sensible, informed choices about the risks they’re taking.’

‘Thousands more lives could be saved through these preventative measures but we also need more investment in treatment services to ensure people who do misuse drugs but want to make a change have access to all the support they need.’

‘Whatever happens next, we all have a part to play in tackling drug misuse – it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’ 
   

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-report-on-fall-in-drug-deaths.aspx Tue, 28 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s response to the Francis report]]> Swanswell responds to the final report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome the recommendations and general approach of the Francis report, which highlights a number of issues that all services must take on board and apply to their every day work.

We agree that high quality care should be at the centre of every aspect of a service user’s recovery journey. The sad events at Mid Staffordshire should act as a catalyst for joined-up change – something Swanswell believes is essential to provide safe and individualised care.

Although we’re not an NHS organisation, we work closely with health services on a daily basis, sharing best practice and building on decades of experience so that service users and their families have the best treatment and support possible.

We’re a responsible organisation, so we’re already doing many of the industry-wide recommendations while, at the same time, enhancing our services with new ways of working identified within this report, which we’d be happy to share with colleagues across our sector.

‘Building on our values to be trustworthy and clear in everything we do, we’ve already revisited and strengthened our Whistleblowing Policy.

As we move in to a new commissioning environment using payment-by-results, it’s vital that health services ensure a central focus on the needs of service users and their families whilst appreciating that targets are required to progress.

‘It’s about helping people to get well and stay well, and achieving targets, something that, at Swanswell, we’ve been able to demonstrate through our track record of success.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-response-to-the-Francis-report.aspx Tue, 21 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell joins service users for special football tournament]]> Swanswell’s team members and service users are joining forces this week to take part in a special football tournament celebrating recovery in Birmingham.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will join teams from organisations across the city for the five-a-side Power League tournament, organised by Changes UK, on Friday 24 May from 11am to 4pm.

The annual event takes place at the Sedgemere Sports and Social Club in Yardley to celebrate multi-agency working, showcasing the recovery community and the work of organisations like Swanswell, who support people in recovery from alcohol or drug misuse.

It’s the fourth year that Swanswell has taken part in the tournament, with two of the charity’s teams making the semi-finals last year.

Swanswell’s involvement in the tournament is part of its peer mentoring project, encouraging service users to take part in activities that aid their recovery, while receiving additional support from former and current service users who are at different stages of their own recovery.

Trevor Bedford, Operations Manager for Swanswell in Birmingham, said: ‘We’re always really encouraged by the interest and support we get from our service users and team members every year – and this year will be no different.

The health and social benefits of playing team games like this really can make a positive difference to people on their journey towards recovery from alcohol or drug misuse, which is why we offer activities like this as part of an individual’s treatment.

Whatever the result will be, I’m sure it’ll be a very enjoyable day, and together, we can help raise awareness of the importance of recovery in helping people to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-joins-service-users-for-special-football-tournament.aspx Mon, 20 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers substance misuse support over late May bank holiday]]> Swanswell will once again be offering advice and support over the late May bank holiday to people using its services.

Since 2011, the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been offering special telephone and face-to-face support during holiday periods, in addition to its regular services at all other times.

On Monday 27 May 2013, Swanswell will provide face-to-face appointments, telephone support, drop-in facilities and needle exchange at selected offices from 9am to 5pm, when many other services are closed.

In Birmingham, people using Swanswell’s Supporting People and drug support services will be able to speak to a worker during the day through pre-arranged face-to-face appointments at Ruskin Chambers on Corporation Street, or by calling 0121 233 7400.

People affected by substance misuse, and using Swanswell’s Independent Living Service in Coventry and Warwickshire, have access to the telephone service on bank holiday Monday by calling 02476 226 619, with a drop-in service also available at its office in Norton Street, Coventry.

In Leicestershire and Rutland, a needle exchange, appointments and drop-in service will be available at the charity’s offices in Loughborough (95 Ashby Road) and Coalville (42 High Street). A telephone service is also available on 0300 303 5000.

A telephone service and face-to-face appointments will be available to people wanting advice and support in Sandwell by calling
0845 112 0100 (local rate).

Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Sandwell will be available as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been offering additional support during the bank holiday for a while now after recognising that this time of year can be difficult for clients, especially when many other services are closed.

The popularity of this bank holiday service is growing, so we’ll continue to offer additional support during all bank holiday periods. It’s part of our commitment to making services available to more people when they need them.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-substance-misuse-support-over-late-May-bank-holiday.aspx Mon, 20 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell backs Government adviser’s legal highs warning]]> Swanswell’s backing a warning from the Government’s senior drugs adviser about the dangers of ‘legal highs’.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to Professor Les Iversen’s concerns that the law is struggling to keep up with new synthetic drugs being created at a rate of more than one a week (reports the Telegraph).

Professor Iversen, Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said there were more than 200 potentially dangerous synthetic drugs yet to be banned, raising particular concerns about ‘Benzo Fury’ and a new set of LSD-based compounds.

Although ‘legal highs’ are marketed as legal substances, it doesn’t mean they are safe – it just means they have not yet been fully checked and a decision made about whether they should be an illegal drug to use or possess.

They’re often used like illegal substances such as cocaine or cannabis and can be very dangerous, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol. They’re sometimes advertised as bath salts or plant food, with a warning they’re not fit for human consumption.

While the long term effects aren’t really known, legal highs cause reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and, in the worst cases, death.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Legal highs can be very dangerous, as highlighted by some of the tragic cases reported in the press, where people have died after using them.

‘Not enough is known about the long term effects of the harms they can cause because they haven’t been around very long, unlike most of the illicit drugs we work with on a daily basis.

So we welcome the warning from Professor Iversen about the risks of using legal highs, especially as there are around 200 new substances that we know very little about and haven’t yet been banned, so are currently legal to both buy and use.

It’s alarming to think that there are so many of them which contain chemicals that may not have been tested for human consumption.

Users will never really know what’s in the legal highs they can buy on the internet or even on the high street, or what their effects are, particularly if mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

‘We’re urging people to think twice before taking them and talk to organisations like Swanswell if they’re worried about themselves or someone else.’

Swanswell is currently supporting a campaign, led by the Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Strategic Team, called ‘Legal highs, lethal lows’, which highlights the risks of recreational drug use and links to health risks in isolation or combined with alcohol.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-backs-Government-advisers-legal-highs-warning.aspx Fri, 17 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers substance misuse support over early May bank holiday]]> Swanswell will once again be offering advice and support over the early May bank holiday to people using its services.

Since 2011, the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been offering special telephone and face-to-face support during holiday periods, in addition to its regular services at all other times.

On Monday 06 May 2013, Swanswell will provide face-to-face appointments, telephone support, drop-in facilities and needle exchange at selected offices from 9am to 5pm, when many other services are closed.

In Birmingham, people using Swanswell’s Supporting People and drug support services will be able to speak to a worker during the day through pre-arranged face-to-face appointments at Ruskin Chambers on Corporation Street, or by calling 0121 233 7400.

People using Swanswell’s Independent Living Service in Coventry and Warwickshire have access to telephone appointments on bank holiday Monday by calling 02476 226 619, with pre-arranged face-to-face appointments also available.

In Leicestershire and Rutland, a needle exchange and drop in service will be available at the charity’s offices in Loughborough (95 Ashby Road) and Coalville (42 High Street).

Appointments and a telephone service will be available to people wanting advice and support in Sandwell by calling 0845 112 0100 (local rate).

Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Sandwell will be available as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been offering additional support during the bank holiday for a while now after recognising that this time of year can be difficult for clients, especially when many other services are closed.

The popularity of this bank holiday service is growing, so we’ll continue to offer additional support during all bank holiday periods. It’s part of our commitment to making services available to more people when they need them.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-substance-misuse-support-over-early-May-bank-holiday.aspx Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Support for employees key to tackling alcohol misuse at work]]> Support for employees is key to tackling alcohol misuse in the workplace says Swanswell, as a new finger-touch system is launched to detect drinking while at work.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to reports that millions of workers could face routine alcohol testing through a device which measures blood alcohol content on the skin.

According to reports in newspaper Metro, users put their fingers on an optical touch pad, which gives results in 10 seconds – a green light indicates a pass and a red light indicates a fail. Operators can set their own alcohol limits.

But Swanswell’s concerned that if technology like this is introduced into workplaces, there won’t be the appropriate support in place for employees who fail the test and may have underlying issues leading to regular alcohol misuse.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We know up to 17 million working days are lost every year because of alcohol-related sickness absence, costing employers around £6.4 billion a year, so it’s clear something needs to be done.

But simply testing people using technology like this will not help tackle the problem of alcohol misuse in the workplace, it’ll only further stigmatise people who need treatment and could lead to them having more time off work to avoid testing.

So employers need to have in place robust policies and procedures to identify and support members of the workforce who could be affected by alcohol misuse in a sensitive and appropriate way.

Employees also need access to clear information and better education at work about alcohol, so they can make informed decisions about how much they’re drinking.’

In order to help employers identify and appropriately address substance misuse in the workplace, Swanswell’s created ‘Understanding substance misuse: an employer’s guide’ in association with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The one-day sessions raise awareness of the different substances, their effects, the legal and cultural context, and how it can be managed in the workplace. It also helps identify triggers and dispels some of the common myths about alcohol and drug use.

The courses will run during 2013/14 at various locations and they’re open to employers throughout the UK (subject to booking, payment and place availability).

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Support-for-employees-key-to-tackling-alcohol-misuse-at-work.aspx Wed, 24 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell awarded ‘Bronze Status’ by Investors in People]]> Swanswell’s commitment to developing its team members has been recognised after being awarded the ‘Bronze Standard’ by Investors in People.

The national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – was given the national accreditation following independent interviews with team members and an assessment of Swanswell’s work policies.

Swanswell was first recognised as an Investors in people organisation back in 2010 but this week, following six days of assessments, it has now achieved the ‘Bronze Standard’, which is a ‘challenging standard to meet’ according to assessors.

The report praised Swanswell’s strategy and operational planning processes, clear policies and procedures, and the ‘significant investment in training and development for people at all levels’.

It acknowledges Swanswell’s commitment to being an equal opportunities employer, highlighting awards and recognition from Investors in Diversity, Positive about Diversity and Diversity Champion.

The report concludes that Swanswell  is ‘clearly an organisation that has a very strong culture and focus on organisational improvement to be competitive and challenging…’ and to be a ‘market leader in many aspects of service offer and delivery.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Swanswell’s committed to creating a positive working environment for everyone, so being awarded the ‘Bronze Status’ is testament to what we’ve all achieved since our last assessment.

Our team members are our most important asset and our success is down to their hard work and dedication, something we recognise through opportunities to develop and progress their career with Swanswell.

Moving forward, we want to build on this success and ultimately achieve gold status to reflect the efforts of everyone at Swanswell, who are all working towards helping people affected by substance misuse to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-awarded-bronze-IiP.aspx Mon, 22 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Light drinking during pregnancy study adds to mixed messaging, says Swanswell]]> Research suggesting that light drinking during pregnancy does not harm child behavioural or mental development only adds to the mixed messages around alcohol use, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news of a study of the abilities of 10,534 seven-year-olds, whose mothers either abstained from alcohol or drank lightly during pregnancy (reports BBC News).

Researchers found little difference between the two groups and reported their findings in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The government’s guidelines say that women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy but if they do choose to drink, to have no more than two units a week, or just under the equivalent of a 175ml glass of 12% white wine (2.1 units).

But Swanswell believes the only way to be sure that children aren’t put at risk from alcohol harm during pregnancy is not to drink at all.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘There’s already a bewildering amount of health advice out there for women during pregnancy, so regularly conflicting information about whether or not it’s safe to drink alcohol only adds to the confusion.

It’s often difficult for people to know just how many units they’ve had – one glass of wine could put someone over the ‘two units maximum’ guidelines mentioned by this research but to what extent will depend on the size of the glass and the strength of the drink.

Before long, one drink turns to two, maybe three, and that could lead to health risks such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, so the best way to be sure that alcohol does not harm your baby, is not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.’

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is an umbrella term for a range of conditions caused by excessive alcohol exposure in the womb.

Effects of FASD can by physical – such as particular facial characteristics – but also mental or behavioural, such as anxiety, social communication difficulties, poor attention and even criminal behaviour (Source: FASD Trust).

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Light-drinking-in-pregnancy-mixed-message.aspx Wed, 17 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s taking part in a page-turning idea to get people reading]]> Swanswell’s giving out dozens of free books to people affected by substance misuse, as part of an international campaign to celebrate books and encourage reading.

It’s World Book Night on 23 April and the national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is joining in by giving clients the opportunity to read copies of famous books like Treasure Island and Casino Royale.

The books have been provided by the organisers of World Book Night – an industry-wide idea that is about giving books and encouraging people who don’t regularly read to have the opportunity to do so.

Limited copies of the books will be available to clients using Swanswell’s services in Barnsley, Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Sandwell. It’s the third time the charity has taken part in the campaign.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted to be taking part in World Book Night once again and to offer people the chance to read something they may not otherwise have thought about reading.

We have a wide range of really good books to give out this year.  Reading can stimulate the imagination, so we hope it will inspire any budding authors among our clients to write their own amazing stories.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-and-world-book-night.aspx Mon, 15 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell bolsters clinical expertise with new appointment to Board of Trustees]]> A wealth of clinical knowledge and expertise is being added to Swanswell’s Board of Trustees, following the appointment of a leading medical consultant specialising in mental health and substance misuse.

Dr Ayman Zaghloul was officially welcomed to Swanswell – a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use –at its last Board meeting .

Dr Zaghloul is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Caludon Centre, a purpose built facility for adult mental health at the University Hospital, Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), and an Honorary Associate Professor at Warwick University, as well as an Undergraduate Clinical Tutor.

He brings with him over 12 years of medical experience which is very relevant to Swanswell and its service users.

After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University in 1990, Dr Zaghloul spent a year as a house officer at the university’s teaching hospital.

From here, he spent four years as a Psychiatric Registrar at Behman Hospital in Cairo before moving to the UK to become a Senior House Officer, Registrar and Specialist Registrar, at the West Midlands Psychiatric Training Scheme in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Since 2002, Dr Zaghloul has worked as a Consultant in General Adult Psychiatry with Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust at the Caludon Centre in Coventry, where he remains today.

During this time, Dr Zaghloul has also been the Medical Lead for substance misuse services in Coventry and Warwickshire, as well as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist at the Bayberry Clinic in Oxfordshire.

In November 2012, he was nominated as Healthcare Hero for the Pride of Coventry and Warwickshire Community Awards.

Speaking of his appointment to Swanswell’s Board, Dr Zaghloul said: ‘I’m delighted to be joining Swanswell as a trustee because it’s an innovative organisation that is working to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

‘Like Swanswell, I’ve been working in the substance misuse field for many years and am passionate about tackling the stigma attached to getting treatment for alcohol or drug misuse, so we can help more people turn their lives around for the better.’

He will join an already very experienced Board of Trustees, who volunteer their time to lead Swanswell’s strategic direction and governance.

Rita Stringfellow, Chair of Swanswell’s Board of Trustees, said: ‘It’s a really exciting time to be joining Swanswell, as health services begin a new era under Public Health England.

 Dr Zaghloul will add a wealth of specialist clinical knowledge to an already very experienced team, so we’re delighted to welcome him as a Trustee.

'We’re incredibly proud of the dedicated team at Swanswell. Everyone – from the Board of Trustees to our day-to-day management team, frontline and support staff – is committed to helping people change and be happy.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-bolsters-clinical-expertise-with-new-appointment-to-Board-of-Trustees.aspx Wed, 03 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell's Independent Living Service launches]]> Swanswell’s Independent Living Service for people affected by substance misuse has launched in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, was awarded the £1.2 million contract to provide non-clinical support that promotes independent living for adults who are affected by substance misuse.

The three-year contract replaces and expands on Swanswell’s Supporting People service in the area, providing support with employment and training as part of a pilot linking to the government’s Work Programme.

In addition, the service will incorporate existing support around tenancies and housing, money management and benefits advice.

Swanswell’s Independent Living Service began on 01 April 2013 after a competitive bidding process, jointly tendered by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell's Chief Executive, said: ‘We're delighted to have the opportunity to build upon our work in Coventry and Warwickshire by delivering the new Independent Living service in the area.

By working closely with the Employment and Skills Group as part of the government's Work Programme, we're now able to support clients with employment-related issues such as CV writing, job searching and training.

Used alongside our existing support around benefits, housing and managing debt, it will give people affected by substance misuse the tools they need to get back into work while helping them achieve a successful recovery.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-Independent-Living-Service-launches.aspx Tue, 02 Apr 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Up to £10m for people in Birmingham with multiple and complex issues]]> Issued on behalf of the BIG Lottery Fund
The BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) is announcing today that a Birmingham partnership is now on its way to receiving up to £10m to better support people with multiple problems such as homelessness, mental ill health, addiction and reoffending. 

BIG is awarding £50,000 to the partnership led by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) to help submit business plans on how they will improve and better coordinate services to tackle the needs of people living chaotic lives, in order to receive up to £10m. Nine other successful partnerships across England are also on the verge of receiving a share of the £100m investment. 

With problem drug users alone costing government and society around £46,000 a year, BIG’s £100m investment which aims to help thousands of people, could save the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds. 

BIG’s investment, backed by Jon Snow, Mitch Winehouse and Russell Brand, has brought together organisations and bodies that tackle these issues to improve the stability, confidence and capability of people with multiple and complex needs to lead better lives so they spend less time in prison, reduce their drug abuse, are in stable accommodation and have better mental health. 

BVSC research suggests there are around 1,300 individuals in Birmingham with complex needs, although given factors such as migration and the city’s diversity, the true figure may be substantially greater than this. 

The vision for the Birmingham partnership, which is comprised of 15 organisations, is for people with complex needs to be able to access a network of services where they feel welcome, safe, are treated as individuals, actively listened to and have confidence in staff. They will have greater ownership of the changes they need to make for journey of recovery. The partnership also aims to collaborate to offer better client access, improved referral and tracking and better diagnosis.  

Brian Carr, Chief Executive of BVSC, said: 'We are delighted with this news and look forward to progressing our ideas to the next stage. All members of the Complex Needs Partnership are united in a desire to ensure that services to people with multiple and complex needs are easily accessible, appropriately connected, and delivered at the highest possible standard.

'This potential Big Lottery Fund investment provides us with a fantastic opportunity to make that aspiration a reality and to make a genuinely positive difference to the people in Birmingham who need it most.' 

Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund England Head of Communications, said: 'There are countless statistics demonstrating a need to help people with multiple and complex needs – for example the NHS Confederation found that 70 per cent of prisoners suffer from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem 

'Imagine a world where service delivery gives individuals the power to turn their lives around – our ultimate goal is to use the learning gleaned from this investment to shift policy thinking so that individuals become assets rather than just a drain on society.’ 

Jon Snow, Channel 4 News Presenter and Chair of the New Horizon Youth Centre, said: 'I have worked for some four decades in a project that works with vulnerable and homeless young people and I have rarely ever come across funding targeted directly at supporting people of any age with multiple and complex needs. 

'That’s why I am so excited by the Big Lottery Fund’s radically new approach to put £100 million behind bringing the assorted services together behind this needy but difficult group of people. 

'I believe this initiative is going to make life changing differences to the lives of very many people previously regarded as on the margins of society. I’m particularly attracted to the way the Big Lottery Fund has engaged the client groups themselves in designing services. 

'In austere and difficult times, the Big Lottery Fund is laying the foundations toward making a profound difference. I’m honoured to support their endeavour.' 

Mitch Winehouse, who alongside family members established The Amy Winehouse Foundation, said: 'Since losing Amy I have been supporting charities that help people who are struggling with an addiction or health issue.

'I’ve been involved with Big Lottery Fund since the start of this investment and I’m very excited that successful partnerships are now on the verge of receiving up to £10 million to start helping people with serious and complex problems. This money will bring different organisations together to offer people more tailored support to deal with all the different needs that they may have.' 

Russell Brand said: 'The BIG Lottery Fund is investing 100m in people with complex needs - this means alcoholics, homeless folk, mentally ill people and drug addicts. They will be devising a strategy in collaboration with the beneficiaries - this is a unique and outstanding initiative that will significantly advance our society. The BIG Lottery Fund ha]]> http://www.swanswell.org/news/Big-lottery-complex-needs-announcement.aspx Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en <![CDATA[Talking to children about alcohol is a step in the right direction says Swanswell]]> Swanswell believes that encouraging parents to talk with their children about alcohol is a step in the right direction to tackle alcohol misuse.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to news today that Staffordshire County Council is launching a campaign to encourage parents to talk with their children about alcohol.

The campaign, spread over several weeks, will provide encouragement, tips and advice on how parents can approach the topic of alcohol with their children.

Chris Robinson, Director of Services said: ‘Talking with your children about alcohol is a great way to raise their awareness of the dangers of drinking and will encourage them to talk with their parents if they start to have a problem however, parents also need  to look at their own drinking habits. We know underage drinking has reduced significantly in the last 10 years but we also know that some parents also supply their children with alcohol.’

‘A number of people we have spoken with in our own alcohol services have told us they started drinking at problem levels in their early teens but they didn’t recognise this as a problem because it was normal in their own household – so what the parents do is often passed on to their children.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Talking-to-children-about-alcohol-is-a-step-in-the-right-direction-says-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell services open during Easter bank holiday]]> Swanswell will once again be offering advice and support this Easter bank holiday to people using its services.

Since 2011, the national recovery charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been offering special telephone and face-to-face support during holiday periods, in addition to its regular services at all other times.

On Good Friday (29 March) and Easter Monday (01 April), Swanswell will provide face-to-face appointments, telephone support, drop-in facilities and needle exchange at selected offices from 9am to 5pm, when many other services are closed.

  • Birmingham - Supporting People and drug support services: pre-arranged face-to-face appointments at Swanswell, Ruskin Chambers, Corporation Street or telephone appointments available by calling 0121 233 7400
  • Coventry and Warwickshire - Supporting People/Independent Living Service (ILS): pre-arranged telephone appointments on Good Friday (existing clients) and Easter Monday (existing clients and new ILS clients) by calling 02476 226 619. Pre-arranged face-to-face appointments also available on Easter Monday at Swanswell, Norton Street, Coventry 
  • Leicestershire and Rutland - alcohol and drug support services: drop-in service and needle exchange at Swanswell 95 Ashby Road, Loughborough and Swanswell, 42 High Street, Coalville or by calling 0300 303 5000
  • Sandwell - alcohol and drug support services: telephone appointments available by calling 0845 112 0100

Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Sandwell will be available as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been offering additional support during the bank holiday for a while now after recognising how difficult this time can be for clients, especially when many other services are closed.

We hope our telephone and face-to-face support will continue to prove a useful tool for people as they carry on with their journey to recovery from substance misuse.’ 

For general information about substance misuse, visit our alcohol or drug information pages.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-services-open-during-Easter-bank-holiday.aspx Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s Independent Living Service launches soon]]> There’s only days to go until Swanswell’s Independent Living Service for people affected by substance misuse launches in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, was awarded the £1.2 million contract to provide non-clinical support that promotes independent living for adults who are affected by substance misuse.

The three-year contract replaces and expands on Swanswell’s Supporting People service in the area, providing support with employment and training as part of a pilot linking to the government’s Work Programme.

In addition, the service will incorporate existing support around tenancies and housing, money management and benefits advice.

Swanswell’s Independent Living Service will begin on 01 April 2013 after a competitive bidding process, jointly tendered by Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell's Chief Executive, said: ‘We're delighted to have the opportunity to build upon our work in Coventry and Warwickshire by delivering the new Independent Living service in the area.

By working closely with the Employment and Skills Group as part of the government's Work Programme, we're now able to support clients with employment-related issues such as CV writing, job searching and training.

Used alongside our existing support around benefits, housing and managing debt, it will give people affected by substance misuse the tools they need to get back into work while helping them achieve a successful recovery.’

Although Swanswell’s Supporting People Service becomes the Independent Living Service during the Easter weekend, Swanswell will be offering a special telephone service for clients over the bank holiday on Good Friday and Easter Monday by calling 02476 226 619.

Face-to-face appointments, arranged in advance, will also be available at Swanswell’s office on Norton Street in Coventry on Easter Monday. Services will be open as usual at all other times.

Annie Steele, Swanswell’s Regional Development Manager, added: ‘Swanswell has been offering additional support during the bank holiday for a while now after recognising how difficult this time can be for clients, especially when many other services are closed.

'We hope our telephone and face-to-face support will continue to prove a useful tool for people as they carry on with their journey to recovery from substance misuse.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-Independent-Living-Service-launches-soon.aspx Fri, 22 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for urgent action after worrying rise in alcohol-related liver disease among under 30s]]> New figures showing a big increase in the number of hospital admissions for people under 30 with alcohol-related liver disease highlights the need for urgent action to tackle problem drinking, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to research carried out by Balance North East, which found a 117% increase in cases among the under-30s in England, over the last ten years.

Experts at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, also found that admissions for alcohol-related liver diseases across all ages in England increased from 25,706 in 2002/03 to 49,456 in 2011/12 – a rise of 92%.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘These figures are a stark reminder that something needs to be done urgently to tackle alcohol misuse and that we need measures like minimum pricing to come in sooner rather than later.

Until recently, it was rare to see cases of alcohol-related liver disease in young people – we’re used to seeing it in older drinkers who’ve had prolonged alcohol use over a long period of time, so it’s very worrying that’s it’s happening more often in younger people too.

The figures highlight that alcohol-related illnesses don’t discriminate and it doesn’t matter how old you are, drinking irresponsibly can still can have a big impact on your health.

Yet, alcohol-related conditions are entirely preventable in the first place by making informed decisions about your alcohol use.

But that can only happen with access to clear information and better education – particularly at a young age - about the risks of drinking too much; something that clearly isn’t happening.

Ultimately, we all have a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse – it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

If you're worried about your own alcohol use, take a look at our alcohol information pages or take the Fast alcohol screening test (FAST).

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-urgent-action-after-liver-disease-increase.aspx Wed, 20 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New alcohol measures should be introduced if minimum pricing dropped, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s urging the government to urgently consider alternative measures to stop alcohol harm, if plans to introduce minimum pricing in England and Wales are dropped.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to reports this morning that Conservative ministers are understood to be split over the proposed price of 45p per unit of alcohol (reports BBC News).

Although Prime Minister David Cameron supports the plans, it’s reported there’s opposition from a number of the Cabinet including Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Commons leader Andrew Lansley.

If proposals are dropped, Swanswell believes the government needs to urgently put in place a number of alternative measures to help tackle alcohol misuse in England and Wales.

The charity suggests measures including going ahead with plans for a ban on multi-buy deals, increasing investment in services and improving alcohol education.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘After being so encouraged by the government considering unit pricing as one of the options to tackle alcohol misuse, we’re disappointed that plans could be dropped in England and Wales.     

If that is the case, we hope the government will still consider minimum pricing as an option later and look at increasing the price to 50p to mirror plans in Scotland.

Research suggests that this higher unit price would reduce consumption by 6.3% a year and cut alcohol-related hospital admissions by almost 100,000 cases a year, while reducing crime by 42,500 cases a year (reports BMA).

In the meantime, we hope the government remains focused on tackling alcohol misuse and will urgently consider alternatives, such as the suggested ban on multi-buy deals, looking at where alcohol’s sold and a investigating the product itself.

Most importantly, people need access to clearer information and better alcohol information alongside more investment in services, so they can make informed decisions about their own alcohol use and easily access help if they need it.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something that any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-alcohol-measures-should-be-introduced-if-minimum-pricing-dropped-says-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell ‘encouraged’ by fall in heroin and crack users]]> Research suggesting the number of people under 35 using heroin and crack in England is ‘plummeting’ is very encouraging but there’s still a lot of work to do, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to figures from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), which says there were 298,752 users in 2010/11 – the lowest in its 12-year history - from a peak of 332,090 in 2005/06 (reports BBC News).

The research found that the number of people injecting drugs has also fallen – from 129,977 in 2005/06 to 93,401 in 2010/11.

Drug-related crime is also ‘significantly down’ according to the NTA and it estimates that drug treatment prevented some 4.9 million offences taking place in 2010/11.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Research from the NTA is very encouraging, as the number of people using heroin and crack has fallen by around ten percent since its peak in 2005/06.

Treatment for drug misuse has changed a lot over the years, so the results are testament to the hard work organisations are doing to help people into recovery and ultimately lead drug-free lives.

We mustn’t forget there are almost 300,000 people in England still using heroin and crack, many of which are over 35 and have been using drugs for a long time according to the research, so there’s still a lot of work to do in order to achieve a society free from problem drug – and alcohol – use.

As we move into a new chapter with Public Health England, we hope to see an increased focus on tackling emerging drugs such as legal highs, alongside a continued fall in heroin and crack use.’

If you're concerned about drug misuse or want more information, visit our drugs pages.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-encouraged-by-fall-in-heroin-and-crack-users.aspx Thu, 07 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[UK-wide alcohol strategy calls welcomed by Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s welcoming calls for a UK-wide strategy to combat alcohol misuse including a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report by a coalition of 70 health groups and campaigners, who said it was time for a ‘no-nonsense’ and consistent approach to tackling the problem (reports BBC News).

Health first: an evidence-based alcohol strategy for the UK’, produced by Stirling University, suggests a number of wide-ranging proposals to tackle alcohol misuse.  

It includes a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol across the UK, rather than a fragmented approach of the proposed 45p in England, 50p in Scotland and possible changes in Northern Ireland, who are yet to put forward specific details.

Research suggests a 50p minimum price would reduce consumption by 6.7%, leading to 3,000 fewer alcohol-related deaths and 100,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions after 10 years.

The coalition of experts also suggest alcohol-related advertising and sponsorship should end, health warnings should take up a third of label space, restrictions should be in place on where and when alcohol is sold and the drink-drive limit should be lowered.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome the findings of today’s report as a wide-ranging attempt to tackle alcohol misuse across the UK in a consistent way.

It’s pleasing to see that a number of factors have been considered alongside minimum pricing – including where alcohol is sold and how it is promoted – something which we’ve also been calling for.

Other measures suggested - such as a lowering of the drink-drive limit and more prominent health warnings - are also welcome because, together, these proposals could all make a real difference to someone’s alcohol use.

We hope the government takes note of this research but in addition, we’d like to see more emphasis on alcohol education, particularly in schools, and clearer alcohol information, so that people can make informed decisions about their drinking.

Alcohol misuse can affect anyone and the reasons behind it are often very complex, so we all need to play a part in tackling the issues – it’s not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

The report also suggests that all health and social care professionals should be trained to provide early identification and brief alcohol advice to their clients routinely; something Swanswell’s identified and has developed a range of training for.

Debbie added: ‘Swanswell’s designed a number of training courses for professionals around brief interventions and alcohol awareness, which aim to provide a better understanding of the harms alcohol can cause and how to approach issues appropriately.

‘Understanding substance misuse, solution focused therapy and working effectively with service users are just some of the topics covered. Other training is available and can be tailored to meet any organisation’s needs. 

‘Ultimately, it’s a cost-effective way of helping even more people, who may not otherwise have accessed support, get the help they need.’

If you're worried about your alcohol use, take a look at our alcohol information pages. If you're interested in a training opportunity, see our training portal.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/UK-wide-alcohol-strategy-calls-welcomed-by-Swanswell.aspx Fri, 01 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell says alcohol consumption study should be a wake-up call]]> A study suggesting the amount of alcohol consumed in England could be much higher than previously thought should be a wake-up call to society, says Swanswell.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news from researchers at University College London, who compared alcohol sales figures with surveys of what people said they drank.

Their findings showed a significant gap with almost half of the alcohol sold unaccounted for in consumption figures given by drinkers, suggesting around three-quarters may be drinking above recommended daily limits (reports BBC News).

According to the researchers, 19% more men and 26% more women than previously thought were regularly drinking more than the government’s guideline daily limits of 2-3 units for women and 3-4 units for men.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Although it’s not surprising that more people are regularly drinking above the government’s recommended limits, it should act as a wake-up call to everyone.

The results are a prime example of just how easy it is to cross the line from responsible drinking to problem drinking, especially if people don’t actually know how much they’re having or are truthful about their drinking levels.

It doesn’t help that the way people calculate how much they’re drinking in units is quite complicated, especially if they’ve had a few alcoholic drinks in the meantime.

So we need the government and health officials to come up with a simpler, more effective way of helping people understand how much alcohol they’ve consumed – ‘clunk, clink every trip worked’ with seatbelts, so why not something like ‘one or two, once or twice’, one or two drinks, once or twice a week, for alcohol use.

Most importantly, there’s a need for clearer information and better education about the harm alcohol causes because today’s research suggests what’s in place today simply isn’t working.’

If you're worried about your alcohol use or want more information, take a look at our alcohol information pages.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-says-alcohol-consumption-study-should-be-a-wake-up-call.aspx Wed, 27 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for fresh approach to tackling FASD]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a report calling for a fresh approach to tackling a condition affecting children exposed to alcohol in the womb during their mother’s pregnancy.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the ‘Consensus Statement on FASD’, published this week by the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Trust.   

The report warns that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) – an umbrella term for a range of conditions caused by excessive alcohol exposure in the womb.

Effects of FASD can by physical – such as particular facial characteristics – but also mental or behavioural, such as anxiety, social communication difficulties, poor attention and even criminal behaviour.

The report says current UK guidance – pregnant women should avoid alcohol completely but if they choose to drink, they should limit consumption to between one or two units, once or twice a week – is a mixed message, and that mothers-to-be should simply avoid alcohol (Guardian, 2013).

Swanswell believes that the report, backed by nearly 70 medical professionals, adds weight to the need for clearer information around alcohol and pregnancy, so they can make an informed decision about their alcohol use.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘The report by the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Trust has re-ignited the debate around drinking alcohol during pregnancy and highlights some of the mixed messaging expectant mothers face.

In the last year alone, a Danish study suggested that up to eight units of alcohol per week during pregnancy had no obvious impact on children at age five (BBC News, 2012).

Meanwhile the Department of Health suggests drinking no alcohol during pregnancy but if expectant mothers do decide to drink, to have only one or two units, once or twice a week (NHS Choices, 2013).

The report recommends a need for clearer information for mothers-to-be and further education to help health professionals recognise FASD symptoms, which will certainly be useful as expectant mothers already face a huge amount of health advice.

The government and public bodies have a duty to keep information clear and simple – if you want to avoid risking the health of your child, don’t drink alcohol when pregnant.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-fresh-FASD-approach-calls.aspx Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell highlights parental drinking affect on children for international campaign]]> Swanswell believes clear information and advice is key to helping parents understand the effect their drinking is having on themselves and their children.  

It’s Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week - an international campaign, led by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, which aims to raise awareness of the hidden harms of alcohol misuse and to highlight the support available to children directly affected by their parent’s drinking.

Swanswell, a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is using COA Week to encourage parents to think about how their alcohol use is perceived by younger members of the family, and to get help.

Recent statistics show around 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are hazardous drinkers and 705,000 are living with parents who are alcohol dependent (Alcohol Concern, 2010).

More than 100 children, including those as young as five, contact ChildLine every week with worries about their parents’ alcohol or drug use (NSPCC, 2010).

Swanswell knows from experience that alcohol misuse is a concern for many parents. Four years ago, the national charity was approached by online parenting website Netmums to provide appropriate support to users who had posted questions in their ‘Coffee House Forum’ about alcohol and drug use.

Since then, members have been regularly turning to the Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Support section for advice, posting general questions that help everyone or asking for more confidential advice through private messaging.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Regularly drinking alcohol to excess is not only harmful to health, it can affect other areas of your life such as the ability to be an effective parent.

‘Alcohol affects judgement, so if you do have children it’s likely that any decision you make while under the influence will also affect them.

‘If parents are regularly drinking at harmful levels, it could put children at risk of abuse, behavioural problems, low educational attainment or regular illness and can give them the idea that excessive alcohol use is the norm, causing problems later. 

Statistics also suggest that children of parents affected by alcohol misuse are twice as likely to be in trouble with the police, twice as likely to develop alcohol problems themselves and three times as likely to have an addiction to drugs (Independent, 2012).

We know there can be many complex reasons behind someone’s drinking – as a coping mechanism for stress, grief or domestic abuse for example – and many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to come forward for help.

So it’s vital that parents have easy access to clear information and appropriate support – such as that offered by Swanswell through Netmums - to help them make informed decisions about their drinking and set a good example to their children.’

Worried about your drinking? Take the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST) to find out the level you are drinking at. 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-highlights-parental-drinking-for-COA-week.aspx Tue, 12 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s online chat for carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse]]> Adult carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse have the chance to get help and support through a special online chat being hosted by Swanswell later this month.    

Organised jointly with Carers Trust, Swanswell – a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will be offering information and advice to people over 18-years-old, who have a caring responsibility.

A member of the Swanswell team will be available to answer questions about the carer’s own use of alcohol or drugs, or that of the friend or relative they are caring for.

The free, confidential chat will be available at www.carers.org on Thursday 21 February 2013 between 7.00pm and 8.00pm.         

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We know that there are at least 250,000 people in the UK who are affected by a relative’s problematic use of opiates or crack alone (Source: Carers Trust) but many take on the burden of trying to deal with the issues themselves.

Often, it’s because the loved ones they’re looking after don’t want others to know about problems they might be facing or they just don’t know where to turn.

So we’ve joined with Carer’s Trust again to make it as easy as possible for those carers to get in touch for information and guidance about their own alcohol or drug use, or that of a friend or relative they’re looking for.

We hope this service will give people the confidence to take that first step and get help from organisations like Swanswell, so they can change their lives for the better.’

Sam Symington, Online Support Manager for Carers Trust, said: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Swanswell again to offer vital support to adult carers across the country.

There are around seven million carers in the UK, so it’s really important that we can reach as many people as possible and make information around substance misuse as easily accessible as we can.

Our partnership with Swanswell means adult carers can get advice about alcohol and drug misuse from a professional in the comfort of their own home, which is incredibly useful to those leading busy lives.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-online-chat-for-adult-carers.aspx Mon, 11 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Head of BIS sees Swanswell’s virtual therapies project in action]]> Swanswell’s innovative virtual reality project that helps people recover from substance misuse has been showcased to the head of the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, demonstrated the computer-game based technology as part of Permanent Secretary Martin Donnelly’s visit to the University of Reading on Friday 01 February 2013.

Swanswell’s been working jointly with the University of Reading as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop the technology, which aims to identify triggers to alcohol and drug misuse so users can learn coping skills to use in real life.

The software gives clients access to a number of computer-generated

scenes using a virtual reality headset. Each scene allows the game’s user to make decisions, which lead to more events as the scene unfolds.

They can move between different scenes including a domestic scene with alcohol and drug-related cues, and a bar scene.

Mr Donnelly was shown the virtual therapies project as part of his wider visit to the University of Reading, and was given a demonstration by Swanswell’s Project Manager Liam North.

He said: ‘We’re delighted that Martin Donnelly came to see our joint virtual therapies project at the University of Reading.

His visit on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows us there is recognition of how simple and effective ground-breaking products such as this can be used in new ways to help more people overcome substance misuse.

He seemed suitably impressed with what he saw and commented on how it’s a simple way of reaching more people and engaging them in treatment.’

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed with the interest we’ve had with our virtual therapies project so far.

We’re very excited about the future, especially as this software can be easily adapted to a variety of other scenarios linked to behaviour change.’ 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Head-of-BIS-sees-Swanswell-VR-project.aspx Mon, 04 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell part of a drug and alcohol misuse pilot being launched in Coventry and Warwickshire]]> Issued jointly by Coventry City Council
People recovering from drug and alcohol misuse in Coventry and Warwickshire are to get extra help to find employment under a new pilot scheme announced by Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan-Smith.

The initiative will link drug and alcohol treatment services with the government's Work Programme scheme.

It comes as Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council announce that Swanswell has won a three-year contract worth £1.2million to provide employment support for people recovering from substance misuse, alongside specialist help around housing, money management and benefit advice. It will extend and replace Swanswell's existing Supporting People contract in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Swanswell - a Rugby-based national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - will receive additional funding from the government's Work Programme for each long-term unemployed client they help into sustained employment.

The pilot scheme will be announced during a major speech on tackling poverty by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith in London today.

Cllr Faye Abbott, Chair of Coventry City Council's Scrutiny Board for Community Safety, welcomed the announcement.

She said: 'It's common for people with drug and alcohol addictions to be trapped in a vicious cycle where unstable housing, few qualifications and little work experience gets in the way of their efforts to achieve long term recovery.

'This new pilot will bring closer working with the Work Programme to add an extra dimension to the support we can give to those seeking to break free from their dependence for good.'

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell's Chief Executive, said: 'We're delighted to have the opportunity to build upon our work in Coventry and Warwickshire by delivering the new Independent Living service in the area.

'By working closely with the Employment and Skills Group as part of the government's Work Programme, we're now able to support clients with employment-related issues such as CV writing, job searching and training.

'Used alongside our existing support around benefits, housing and managing debt, it will give people affected by substance misuse the tools they need to get back into work while helping them achieve a successful recovery.'

Cllr Richard Hobbs, portfolio holder for community safety with Warwickshire County Council, said: 'It is excellent news that we are working very positively with people who have issues of substance misuse; both for them and for the communities that they live in. By giving them positive outcomes we are steering them away from anti-social behaviour and crime so everybody benefits.'

Graham Wiggall, from Work Programme provider ESG said: 'This pilot allows us to fully incorporate both employability and treatment services through one provider. This streamlined approach will give the best package of support to our customers, enabling them to find employment whilst also receiving the treatment and associated help that they need.

'We feel that this pilot fits into our model which is based around supporting customers on an individual basis dependant on their needs. We look forward to working with Swanswell on this pilot and hope it will show the positive results that we expect it to.'

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-work-programme-pilot.aspx Fri, 01 Feb 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Fall in alcohol-related deaths welcome but more action needed, says Swanswell]]> New figures showing a fall in alcohol-related deaths in the UK are a step in the right direction but Swanswell believes it still shows more action’s needed to change society’s drinking habits.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the latest figures (2011) released today (29 January 2013), as part of an update from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

According to the bulletin, there were 8,748 alcohol-related deaths in the UK – 42 fewer than in 2010 (8,790).

It also found that males aged 30 and over were significantly more likely than females to die of alcohol-related causes. Around two thirds (over 66%) of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK during 2011 were men.

In addition, the ONS report says age-specific alcohol-related death rates were highest for those aged between 55 to 59 and lowest for those under 30.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While it’s encouraging that the number of alcohol-related deaths are falling, the number of deaths caused by drinking are still too high – even one death is one too many.

Alcohol-related deaths and illnesses are entirely preventable, yet people often ignore the risks or aren’t aware of the damage that drinking regularly or to excess can cause.

Many alcohol-related conditions – such as alcoholic liver disease, alcohol dementia or pancreatitis - develop over long periods of time, so people just don’t realise the damage that is being done, until it’s too late.

Although it’s not mentioned in this report, alcohol can also play a major part in accidents - almost 300 people a year are killed because of drink-driving (Rospa) for example and alcohol can be a major factor in domestic abuse cases.

There’s also a lot of mixed messaging around alcohol – one day we’re told small amounts of alcohol could help prevent heart disease (BBC News), while on others we’re told there is no safe level of alcohol consumption (Guardian).

While the government is taking steps to introduce new policies such as minimum pricing and a ban on multi-buy deals, those measures alone won’t work – the product itself and where it is placed for sale should be considered alongside.

Better education and clearer information about the risks of alcohol misuse should also be tied in, so people can make their own informed decisions about how much they are drinking or even if they want to drink at all.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is everyone’s responsibility – it’s not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own, we all have a part to play.’

Worried about alcohol use? Take a look at our Alcohol information pages for more details.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-death-fall-welcome-but-more-action-needed.aspx Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell launches new support groups for Barnsley carers affected by someone’s substance misuse]]> New support groups for carers of people affected by substance misuse are being set up in Barnsley by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be running three sessions every week around the town, offering advice and information for carers of friends or relatives affected by alcohol or drugs use.

In Barnsley, Swanswell already operates a Carer Support Service – part of Barnsley’s integrated treatment system – offering emotional and practical support on a range of topics from carers allowance applications to understanding a loved one’s treatment.

As the demand for this service continues to grow, the charity’s making more sessions available to more people, by taking its support to even more communities.

Three new groups will be running in and around the Barnsley area every week with sessions lasting two hours each, in addition to the regular support offered through Swanswell’s Carer Support Service at Henry Windsor House, 13 Pitt Street, Barnsley.  

From 01 February 2013, a support group for carers living in or near Penistone will meet every Friday at St John’s Community Centre, Church Street, Penistone, from 1.00pm to 3.oopm.

Carers in Goldthorpe and the Dearne area will be able to get help and information at a support group held every Tuesday between 1.00pm and 3.00pm at The Dearne Enterprise Centre, 1 Barnburgh Lane, Goldthorpe, from 05 February 2013.

Meanwhile, carers living in or near Barnsley town centre will be able to meet for support every Wednesday between 10.30am and 12.30pm from 06 February 2013 at the Carer’s Cabin, Metrodome Leisure Centre, Queens Road, Barnsley.

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s Carer Support Service in Barnsley, said: ‘For every person affected by an alcohol - or drug - problem there is usually at least one family member or friend trying to support them.

Although they’re in a caring role which can take up much of their life, they often don’t seek help because they’re ashamed about the situation they’re in, or they’re not aware of what support is available.

So Swanswell’s Carer Support Service is taking its help out to more communities, making it easier for people to get the advice they need so they can get their own lives back on track while continuing to support the friend or relative they care for.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/new-swanswell-support-groups-for-barnsley-carers.aspx Mon, 28 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell offers online chat for young carers affected by substance misuse]]> Young carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse have the chance to get help and support through a special online chat being hosted by Swanswell next month.

Organised jointly with Carers Trust, Swanswell - a national recovery charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - will be offering information and advice to people up to 19-years-old who have a caring responsibility.

A member of the Swanswell team will be available to answer questions about the young carer’s own use of alcohol or drugs, or that of the friend or relative they care for.

The free, confidential chat will be available at YCNet on Monday 4 February 2013 between 4.15pm and 5.15pm.          

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Young people who care for a friend or relative affected by alcohol or drug misuse often avoid talking about the issues they are facing because they’re worried about what others will think.

In many cases, they’re also told by the person they’re looking after to keep the problem behind closed doors, so we’ve joined with Carers Trust to offer an easy way to access confidential support that could make a real difference to their lives.

It’s the second year we’ve offered this service – last year we helped a number of young people get advice and support about a range of issues including alcohol misuse, sensible drinking levels and misuse of over-the-counter painkillers.

Hopefully this year, we’ll be able to help even more young carers with issues around alcohol or drug misuse.’

Sam Symington, Online Support Manager for Carers Trust, said: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Swanswell again to offer vital support to young carers across the country.

Around 700,000 of the seven million carers in the UK are children (BBC News) and many of those will have access to the internet, so it’s really important that we use this technology to provide access to help and information they may otherwise not be able to get in person.

Our partnership with Swanswell gives young carers the opportunity to speak to someone who can help, without having to leave their home and the feedback from last year has been very positive.’

Swanswell and Carers Trust will be hosting another online chat for adult carers affected by substance misuse on Thursday 21 February 2013 between 7pm and 8pm at www.carers.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-online-chat-for-young-carers.aspx Mon, 21 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Tobacco and alcohol lessons should inform future illicit drug policies, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell believes the lessons learned through tobacco and alcohol regulation and promotion should inform future policies around illicit drug use in the UK.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report by the House of Lords All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on drug policy reform, released today (14 January 2013).

It suggests the least harmful drugs - such as new legal highs - should be regulated and sold in shops, with labels detailing risks, and that strict regulatory controls could be introduced with an enhanced role for Trading Standards (reports BBC News).

The panel of peers also say that while the most dangerous substances should still be banned, those caught with small amounts of any drug should not be penalised.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Swanswell believes in evidence-based, clear and consistent approaches to the regulation of access to all drugs including alcohol and tobacco.

We’ve learned a lot in recent years about how clear and consistent public health messages, coupled with regulation to restrict promotion and access, can reduce harm – such as that experienced through changes to tobacco legislation and promotion.

We also know that allowing virtually unhindered promotion and access, such as is the situation with alcohol, increases use and harm, so it’s really important that we learn lessons from experiences with all substances and apply them in a clear and consistent way.

Our preferred option is that people don’t use substances harmfully in the first place, so more attention should be paid to un-mixing the muddled messages out there around drug use.

It’s imperative that clear and accessible information is available to help people fully understand the risks associated with all drugs, so they can make sensible, informed choices about their use

Finally, society needs to recognise and accept that many people are affected by problem drug and alcohol use; it’s not just those stereotypical images portrayed by the media, it can affect anyone.

‘If we remove the stigma of illicit drug use and have sensible conversations, we can support people through their recovery journey and help create a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Tobacco-and-alcohol-lessons-should-inform-future-illicit-drug-policies-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 14 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Informed workforce key to tackling substance misuse-related sickness absence, says Swanswell]]> An informed workforce is key to helping employers reduce the £7.8 billion cost of sickness absence caused by alcohol or drug misuse, says Swanswell.

According to statistics, British industry loses £6.4 billion per year due to sickness caused by alcohol use and £1.4 billion per year due to drug use (Cabinet Office). Employers are also faced with a number of legal and management issues around how to approach the issue.            

So Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has launched a new training course in association with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to help organisations identify and appropriately address substance misuse among employees.

‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employer’s guide’ will help dispel some of the common myths around alcohol and drug use.

The course will raise awareness of the different substances and their effects, and gives employers the confidence to tackle substance misuse in the workplace.

It’s aimed at business owners, HR and personnel professionals, line managers, heads of departments and team leaders, health and safety officers, occupational health officers or anyone else with a responsibility for managing the welfare of the workforce.

On Thursday 7 February 2013, Swanswell’s running a one-day course in association with ACAS in Birmingham, which is open to employers throughout the UK (subject to booking, payment and place availability).

Sharon Smyth, Swanswell’s Talent Development Manager, said: ‘Businesses are losing billions of pounds every year due to sickness absence caused by alcohol or drug use, yet many employers aren’t sure about the best way to deal with these issues.

In this economy, it’s vital that organisations do all they can to reduce the cost of this type of absence effectively, while ensuring their employees have the necessary support to improve their health and wellbeing.

There can be many complex reasons behind someone’s alcohol or drug misuse, so Swanswell’s training course will give employers the tools they need to approach the subject sensitively and appropriately.

‘Most importantly, it will help them give employees access to the information they need to make informed choices about alcohol and drugs, so they can be productive and live a happy and healthy lifestyle.’

To book a place on ‘Understanding drug and alcohol use: an employers’ guide’ or to find out more about Swanswell’s other open training courses, visit our training pages

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Informed-workforce-key-says-Swanswell.aspx Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes Government’s probation service plans]]> Plans to overhaul the probation service in England and Wales allowing more private and voluntary groups to help cut re-offending, are being welcomed by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today (9 January 2013) that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will announce proposals to let the private sector manage the probation of low risk offenders.

As part of the plans, prisoners serving short sentences will have to undertake compulsory rehabilitation for the first time. Currently, people serving under 12 months in prison are offered voluntary rehabilitation and are otherwise released without support (reports BBC News).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The voluntary sector has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can often be overlooked, so today’s plans acknowledge these skills and are a positive step in helping more people change their lives for the better.

There can be many complex reasons behind someone’s offending, so it’s important to identify and appropriately treat those root causes to help people rehabilitate successfully.

In the case of drug-related crime, it’s essential that people get the right support to identify the reasons behind their substance misuse and subsequent offending, so they can receive treatment and reduce the risk of re-offending.

We know from experience that it works – we already work closely with probation services and the police through Accredited Programmes in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, and through our recent work with the Greater Manchester Probation Trust.

We’ve also developed a 12-session Reducing Drug-Related Offending Programme in the Midlands, commissioned by police and probation, which saw a 71% reduction on spend on illegal drugs among participants, during the pilot.

In addition, 15.3% of those taking part completed the programme drug free – and our programme won an award from the Howard League for Penal Reform.

‘With the cost of drug-related crime in England and Wales estimated at around £15.4 billion a year, Swanswell’s Reducing Drug-Related Offending Programme could save up to £2.4 billion, if rolled out nationally.

So more working relationships like those proposed by the government today could be vital in helping cut re-offending and reduce the annual strain on the public purse during these times of austerity.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-probation-plans.aspx Wed, 09 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Make drinking less alcohol a priority for 2013, says Swanswell]]> Drinking less alcohol should be at the top of everyone’s list of new year’s resolutions, according to Swanswell.

As millions pledge to lose weight, exercise more or give up smoking, the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is encouraging people to make ‘drinking less’ a priority for 2013.

Around one in four people are classed as hazardous drinkers and there are thousands of deaths directly related to alcohol in the UK every year (6,669 in 2010, NHS statistics), yet society still sees drinking alcohol as part of everyday life.

However, drinking less is not as difficult as it might seem and there are a number of obvious benefits to it.

Alcohol contains a large number of empty calories - if a man drinks up to the government’s recommended daily limit of 3-4 units per day (or about a pint and a half of 5% lager) five days a week, they’d have the equivalent calories of four kebabs a week.

For a woman, having a large glass of wine every day (3.3 units per glass - just over their recommended daily limit of 2-3 units per day), is like eating almost two pizzas every week on top of her usual diet or 45,840 calories over the year (equal to about 25 cups of lard at 205g per cup).

So cutting back on beers, wines and spirits will help people stay in shape over the next 12 months, first of all.

In the short term, alcohol use can disturb sleep, cause feelings of stress, loss of appetite, sweating, anxiety and can affect judgement (Drinkaware), so having fewer alcoholic drinks will improve health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.

Over time, regularly drinking alcohol increases the risk of alcohol-related illnesses including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and liver problems. Cutting back can reduce those risks.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on what they’ve achieved over the last year and what they think they should do differently over the coming 12 months.

So it’s the perfect time to look at last year’s drinking and look at how drinking less can improve your life in 2013. There’s so many health benefits to cutting down on alcohol and you’ll feel the benefit in your pocket too, as drinking less costs you less.

It would be unrealistic to challenge yourself to stop drinking completely for a whole year, so try setting smaller goals and cut back gradually to ensure, by the end of the year, you’re well on the way to feeling happier. It’ll take more time but it’ll be worth it.

There’s nothing like support from friends and family, so why not get them involved too – why not make it a group challenge? It really will make a difference.’

Worried about your alcohol use? Why not try our alcohol FAST test. Worried about someone else? Act now.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Make-drinking-less-alcohol-a-priority-for-2013-says-Swanswell.aspx Thu, 27 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New year opening hours]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support for people affected by alcohol or drug misuse over the New Year bank holiday.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, recognises that bank holiday periods can be a very difficult time for some clients, as many services are closed.

So Swanswell will once again be offering a telephone support service to people affected by substance misuse in Birmingham, Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Sandwell, Leicestershire and Rutland on New Years Day.

The bank holiday service will be available from 9.00am until 5.00pm for clients already accessing support from Swanswell, by calling 0300 303 5000 (calls charged at local rate – this number is for bank holidays only, except in Leicestershire and Rutland).

In addition, Swanswell’s offices in Coalville (High Street) and Loughborough (Ashby Road) will offer a drop-in service between 9.00am and 5.00pm on New Years Day. Swanswell’s services will be open as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know bank holiday periods are often difficult for clients, so we’re one of only a few organisations to offer this support when others are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to ensuring people continue to have the opportunity to change and be happy.’

Opening times and support

New Years Day (1 January 2013)
Telephone support service (9am to 5pm) - 0300 303 5000:
Applies to Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Leicestershire and Rutland, Sandwell.

Drop in service (9am to 5pm) available at:
Swanswell, 42 High Street, Coalville, LE67 3EE.
Swanswell, 95 Ashby Road, Loughborough, LE11 3AB.

All services open as usual at all other times. Please see our 'Contact us' page for locations and usual contact details.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-year-opening-hours.aspx Thu, 27 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell takes virtual therapies to Greater Manchester]]> Swanswell’s signed a six-month partnership agreement with Greater Manchester Probation Trust to further develop its innovative virtual therapies programme.

Over the last three years, the national charity has been exploring the use of existing technology to support people through their recovery from substance misuse, in partnership with the University of Reading.

It involved a computer-based game that gives clients in Swanswell’s Structured Day Programmes access to a number of scenes using a virtual reality headset.

Each scene allows the game’s user to make decisions that lead to more events unfolding and lets the user move between scenes including a domestic scene and a bar scene, each with alcohol or drug-related cues.

It aims to help them identify triggers to their alcohol or drug use and develop coping skills that they learn in a safe environment but can apply to real life.

Now, Swanswell’s sharing this innovative use of technology with Greater Manchester Probation Trust (GMPT) to develop a similar product for young males aged 18 to 25 who are at risk of offending.

As with the set up in Swanswell’s Structured Day Programmes, this project will help people identify triggers, which in this case will be for impulsive or angry behaviour and potentially stressful situations.

Alongside this development, Swanswell and GMPT will also look at how to integrate this approach in to the Trust’s work with troubled youngsters.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Greater Manchester Probation Trust and building on what we’ve already achieved with our virtual therapies programme for people affected by substance misuse.

Our computer-based game is designed to be adaptable to many forms of behaviour change, identifying triggers and giving people the skills to develop coping skills in a safe environment that they can use in real life situations.

We’re really excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will bring in the future.’

GMPT is, nationally, one of the biggest providers of ‘accredited’ offender programmes.  The Trust works alongside partners from the public, private and voluntarily sectors to reduce reoffending and each year supervise more than 16,400 offenders who display complex issues underlying their crimes.

Joe Tumelty, Assistant Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Probation Trust, said: ‘Our aim is to protect the public and to help us achieve that goal, we have developed a number of effective ways of working with offenders to change their behaviour.  

Our partnership with Swanswell will further enhance our innovative approaches and help maintain our cutting edge approach to offender management.

The Trust has a priority focus on those offenders aged 18 to 21 and we know that IT can be a powerful tool to engage and inform young people. We’re therefore delighted to be working with Swanswell on such an exciting and innovative product.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-takes-virtual-therapies-to-Greater-Manchester.aspx Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Christmas opening hours]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support for people affected by alcohol or drug misuse over the festive bank holiday.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, recognises that bank holiday periods can be a very difficult time for some clients, as many services are closed.

So Swanswell will once again be offering a telephone support service to people affected by substance misuse in Birmingham, Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Sandwell, Leicestershire and Rutland on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

The bank holiday service will be available from 9.00am until 5.00pm for clients already accessing support from Swanswell, by calling 0300 303 5000 (calls charged at local rate – this number is for bank holidays only, except in Leicestershire and Rutland).

In addition, Swanswell’s offices in Coalville (High Street) and Loughborough (Ashby Road) will offer a drop-in service between 9.00am and 5.00pm on Boxing Day and New Years Day. Swanswell’s services will be open as usual at all other times.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know bank holiday periods are often difficult for clients, so we’re one of only a few organisations to offer this support when others are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to ensuring people continue to have the opportunity to change and be happy.’

Opening times and support

Christmas Day (25 December 2012)
Telephone support service (9am to 5pm) - 0300 303 5000:
Applies to Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Leicestershire and Rutland, Sandwell.

Boxing Day (26 December 2012)
Telephone support service (9am to 5pm) - 0300 303 5000:
Applies to Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Leicestershire and Rutland, Sandwell.

Drop in service (9am to 5pm) available at:
Swanswell, 42 High Street, Coalville, LE67 3EE.
Swanswell, 95 Ashby Road, Loughborough, LE11 3AB.

New Years Day (1 January 2013)
Telephone support service (9am to 5pm) - 0300 303 5000:
Applies to Swanswell services in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire (Supporting People), Barnsley (Carers Support Service), Leicestershire and Rutland, Sandwell.

Drop in service (9am to 5pm) available at:
Swanswell, 42 High Street, Coalville, LE67 3EE.
Swanswell, 95 Ashby Road, Loughborough, LE11 3AB.

All services open as usual at all other times. Please see our 'Contact us' page for locations and usual contact details. 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Christmas-opening-hours.aspx Tue, 18 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes Nick Clegg’s royal commission backing]]> Swanswell’s welcoming the Deputy Prime Minister’s calls for a royal commission to look at Britain’s drugs laws but it says more focus should be on why people take drugs in the first place.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news that Nick Clegg is for a commission, first tabled by MPs this week as part of the Home Affairs Committee report ‘Drugs: breaking the cycle’.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s comments come just days after Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May rejected the idea of a fundamental review of Britain’s drug laws because drug use is falling and treatment numbers are rising, reports BBC News.

But Swanswell believes a review of drugs as a whole is needed and would welcome any public debate into how we can tackle the problems caused by illicit drug use.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Calls for a royal commission and public debate into drugs are certainly welcome, as it’s clear that the current approach isn’t working and something needs to be done now.

But, while much of the focus of existing conversations is on the laws around drug use and decriminalisation, we think more focus should be around why people are taking drugs in the first place.

There can be many complex reasons behind someone’s drug use, so it’s important to identify and address those issues first before you can approach how best to change their behaviour through appropriate support.

Ideally we’d like to be able to prevent problems in the first place by helping people sift through the mixed messages using better education and clearer information, so they can make their own informed decisions about drugs.

However, tackling drug misuse is not something any one government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-Nick-Cleggs-royal-commission-backing.aspx Fri, 14 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Effective partnership working key to safeguarding children affected by parental alcohol misuse]]> Working in partnership to provide effective and innovative support for parents affected by alcohol misuse is key to ensuring children stay safe and happy.

That’s what the national recovery charity will be saying at a conference in Central London on Thursday 13 December, called ‘Child and adolescent health and well-being: addressing the hidden harm caused by parental alcohol misuse.’

The event offers an opportunity for social workers, education and health practitioners, third sector practitioners and stakeholders to look at how best to address parental drinking and safeguard children against the harm alcohol misuse causes.

Recent statistics show around 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are hazardous drinkers and 705,000 are living with parents who are alcohol dependent (Alcohol Concern/Children's Society, 2010).

More than 100 children, including those as young as five, contact ChildLine every week with worries about their parents alcohol or drug use (NSPCC, 2010).

Swanswell’s been invited to share its knowledge and experience of developing innovative projects that offer support to parents, such as its partnership with online social networking site Netmums.

Four years ago, Swanswell was approached by Netmums to provide appropriate support to users who had posted questions in their ‘Coffee House Forum’.

Since then, members have been regularly turning to the Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Support section for help, posting general questions that help everyone or asking for more confidential advice through private messaging.

Domestic abuse is one of the issues regularly raised by parents affected by alcohol misuse - in England alone, around 360,000 incidents of domestic abuse are linked to alcohol misuse, leaving a lasting effect on victims and their children (NICE, 2010).

So Swanswell created an innovative six-session ‘Alcohol and domestic abuse prevention programme’ that helps alcohol workers identify victims and perpetrators.

During the conference, the national charity will also talk about this programme, how it provides brief interventions or referrals to appropriate services, and how it achieved a 73% zero re-offending rate during a recent pilot.

Jo Woods, Regional Development Manager for Swanswell, said: ‘Parental alcohol misuse doesn’t just affect those who are drinking or their partners – it can also have a detrimental effect on their children too.

Regular, excessive drinking can reduce the ability to be an effective parent, leading to the risk of their children falling victim to abuse, behavioural problems, low educational attainment or illness.

It can also give children the idea that excessive drinking is acceptable and becomes the norm – leading to problems for them later on in life.

We know there can be many complex reasons behind someone’s drinking – as a coping mechanism for stress, grief or domestic abuse for example – and many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to come forward for help.

So it’s important for services to recognise this and consider working in partnership to deliver programmes such as Swanswell’s support on social networks or its’ alcohol and domestic abuse prevention programme to safeguard children and improve family life.’ 

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Effective-partnership-working-key-in-safeguarding-children.aspx Wed, 12 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges drinking re-think for parents during the festive season]]> Swanswell’s urging parents to think about their alcohol use over Christmas to reduce the risk of their children turning to drink when they’re older.

The warning comes from the national recovery charity in the run up to the festive season, when people are drinking more and stocking up on multi-buy deals ahead of family gatherings and other celebrations, where alcohol will be easily accessible.

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, often hears from clients that they first started drinking when they were under 18 because it was the norm in their household and that alcohol was easily accessible.

In a recent survey of 115 of Swanswell’s adult clients, the median age when people started to use alcohol and drugs was 14 (Swanswell, Looking back: the adult's viewpoint), suggesting that work to prevent people starting to use substances needs to be in place before then.  

The results are also backed up by a recent Drinkaware survey, which found the average age that parents first allowed their child to have a drink was 13.8 years old.

Parents play a vital role in setting positive examples to their children and encouraging open, informed conversations about alcohol use.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The festive season is the perfect time for parents to set a good example to their children about being responsible when it comes to alcohol use.

People regularly tell us that their problems with alcohol started before they turned 18 – they were drinking alcohol kept in the home because it was accessible and in many cases, drinking was the family norm, so it’s not surprising that these habits are picked up.

So if you’re buying alcohol over the festive season, be mindful of where you store it and how you drink it – if your children see you drinking alcohol with meals regularly, to cope with a stressful day or to celebrate, chances are they will do the same later on in life.

It might also be a good time to have informal but informed conversations about alcohol use because they’ll see other people drinking while enjoying themselves, or they will begin to hear myths and misinformation from their friends.  

‘Speaking to your children first will help arm them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions in years to come.

Swanswell believes schools also have a big part to play in making sure young people understand the harms of alcohol – or drugs – misuse and it believes more investment’s needed for better substance misuse education.

It’s something a group of influential MPs touched on in the Home Affairs Committee – Ninth Report called ‘Drugs: breaking the cycle’ earlier this week.

Debbie added: ‘The government are cracking down on the public face of alcohol misuse by investigating minimum unit pricing and potentially banning multi-buy deals but our experience tells us that alone won’t work.

People need access to clear, age appropriate information to make informed decisions about their own use – and they need this sooner rather than later, especially when they’re at an influential age and could be introduced to alcohol or drug use.

Although schools do provide some level of alcohol and drug awareness, it’s not engaging and effective, so we would like to see schools working in partnership with organisations such as Swanswell to offer more concrete substance misuse education.

We’ve found that this sort of working relationship with schools is a real benefit to teachers and students, as substance misuse workers can answer more specific questions or concerns and sign post people to appropriate services when needed.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-parental-drinking-rething-during-festivities.aspx Wed, 12 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes MP drugs policy report]]> A report calling for major reforms in Britain’s drugs policy is being welcomed by Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to today’s publication of the Home Affairs Committee – Ninth report, ‘Drugs: breaking the cycle’.

Written by an influential group of MPs, it said the current drugs policy in the UK isn’t working and made a number of recommendations to the government to avoid future generations being ‘crippled’ by the social and financial cost of substance misuse (reports the Independent). 

The report suggests a number of changes to policy including tougher measures on retailers selling legal highs which lead to death or serious health implications, and a review into the inclusion of convictions for simple possession of a controlled substance (opposed to dealing or other drug-related crime) in CRB checks after they have become spent.

In addition, the MPs called for a public debate on all alternatives of the current policy, as part of a Royal Commission that would examine the UK’s drugs policy.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s clear the current drugs policy isn’t working as well as it could and there’s a need to re-think how we, as a nation, tackle the harms of substance misuse.

So we welcome today’s report from the Home Affairs Select Committee as a serious attempt at moving our drugs policy forwards and we hope the government will take a detailed look at some of the recommendations.

Some of which - including a review of how convictions for simple possession affect employment chances, making retailers legally responsible if they sell legal highs that cause serious harm or death, and calling for a public debate about alternatives to current policy - are a welcome start.

However, there is a lot of work to do and it’s not something any individual government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-MP-drugs-report.aspx Mon, 10 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes dementia and alcohol awareness in Channel 4 drama ‘The Fear’]]> Swanswell’s praising Channel 4 for raising awareness of alcohol misuse and dementia in a new four-part drama.

The Fear, written by Richard Cottan, centres around an ageing crime boss-turned-entrepreneur called Richie Beckett (played by Peter Mullan), who suffers from an aggressive form of dementia, alongside his excessive alcohol use.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes his symptoms are similar to those experienced by people with alcohol-related dementia (ARD).         

ARD is similar to other forms of dementia, making accurate diagnosis difficult, and is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption. Swanswell is aware of cases in people as young as 27.

Through research, Swanswell knows ARD affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK1 but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s2.

Yet, ARD is preventable and potentially reversible with the right treatment, if caught early enough. In many cases, people can return to independent living3.

Swanswell’s created a new model of treatment for alcohol-related dementia, which it is currently trialling in South Yorkshire, involving people affected by the condition, and their carers.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘There is often a taboo around talking about dementia and alcohol misuse, so we welcome the fact it’s been included in a peak time drama.

Viewers have also seen how excessive alcohol use is a big part of Richie Beckett’s life, which, over time, can lead to alcohol-related dementia – a condition that affects around 10% of all dementia cases.

The effects of ARD can potentially be reversed if caught early enough and with the right treatment, so if the signs are recognised quickly, there’s a chance that those affected could lead independent lives again.

We hope the programme will help people recognise the symptoms and come forward for help if they’re worried about themselves or others.’

References

  1. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156    
    635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998)
    Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support
    and outcome
    . London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group
  2. Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset
    Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and
    outcome
    . London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group
  3. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278
]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-dementia-and-alcohol-awareness-in-Channel-4-drama-The-Fear.aspx Wed, 05 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Binge drinking gene too simplistic in explaining alcohol misuse, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell believes research suggesting some people have a gene that hard-wires them to binge drink is a simplistic way of explaining the reasons behind alcohol misuse.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to news today that a team from King’s College London found that animals lacking the RASGRF-2 gene had far less desire for alcohol than those with it (reports BBC News).

Scientists carried out brain scans on 663 teenage boys which showed those with a version of the gene had heightened dopamine responses in tests.

When researchers contacted the same group two years later, they found the boys with the ‘culprit’ variation of RASGRF-2, drank more often.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I think it’s very interesting science but in terms of turning it into a practical tool for everyday use, we’re a long way from that.

This research seems to identify that there may be a certain part of the population who are pre-disposed to feel more pleasure when they use alcohol and therefore pre-disposed to seek out alcohol more but that doesn’t mean that they’re required to do so.

We can still control our behaviour in other ways, which we do in our everyday life. There’s such a wide range of reasons why people turn to us for help and why they are in the situation they are in.

It’s really difficult to stereotype and to say ‘yes there is one reason why people turn to alcohol - here’s the gene, that’s the reason, that’s the cause, if you’ve got it, let’s say you’re an alcoholic now, if you haven’t live your life happily’, I think is too simplistic.

Being dependent on alcohol is a really unpleasant way of leading your life – when people come to us for help, they’re not in a happy situation, they want to change.

Ultimately, there needs to be clearer information out there about alcohol and an un-muddling of mixed messages, so people can make informed decisions about their own drinking and help avoid problems later on.

You don’t have to drink to enjoy yourself – you can still have a good time during the festive season without alcohol.

‘If you’re worried about your drinking or that of someone else, talk to your GP or speak to an organisation such as Swanswell who can help.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Binge-drinking-gene-simplistic-says-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 04 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Legal highs, lethal lows campaign launched]]> On behalf of Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Strategic Team (SMST)
December 2012 sees the launch of the 'Legal highs, lethal lows' harm minimisation campaign by
Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse Strategic Team (SMST).

The campaign aims to highlight the risks of legal highs (also known as Novel Psychoactive Substances) and recreational substance misuse, particularly to those enjoying the night time economy over the Christmas holidays when alcohol consumption also increases.

Legal Highs are substances which produce the same, or similar effects, to drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Legal Highs refers to a broad category of unregulated compounds or products that are marketed as legal alternatives to wellknown controlled drugs.

Paul Stratton, Senior Public Health Manager for NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland, said: 'Many young people think that because the substance is legal it is safe. Drugs intended for human consumption must be regulated under the medicines act and therefore undergo rigorous testing to determine how they can be used safely.

'Most legal highs are illegal to sell, supply or advertise for human consumption because of their effects on the body. However because producers of synthetic drugs claim these products are not intended for human consumption, they can be sold unregulated.

'This means that when you put the drug into your body, you are taking a real risk with your health. I welcome this campaign that will hopefully educate young people and others to make an informed choice before they risk their health.'

Various initiatives will be running over an eight week period across Leicestershire and Rutland to raise awareness of the effects of legal highs and offering help and support, these include: a poster campaign within local bars, taxis, educational establishments and drug and alcohol treatment services across the County, launch of a free downloadable phone application game 'life is a dance floor' with a competition to win the new Apple IPAD mini in partnership with Takeover Radio and local youth website The Jitty.

Daily news and tweets will also be posted via the SMST Facebook and Twitter pages and via the dedicated campaign website at: www.legalhighslethallows.co.uk

Jo Woods, Regional Development Manager for Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: 'We’re pleased to be part of a campaign that raises awareness of the real dangers associated with taking legal highs.

'Legal highs are becoming increasingly popular and in many cases are the drug of choice on the club scene – yet many people take them without realising the harm they can cause, especially if mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

'If you want to know more about the risks of legal highs or are worried about someone else’s use, get in touch with Swanswell on 0300 303 5000.'

Superintendent Andy Lee lead for Drugs and Alcohol Misuse at Leicestershire Police said: “When you go to a chemist to buy a pharmaceutical product, you can be assured that what you are about to take has been tested and is fit for human consumption. There are no such guarantees with legal highs.

'Legal highs discovered during police raids and crime scene investigations are often found to contain illegal substances. The true long-term harm caused by these substances will not be known for some time to come, they are best avoided. Leicestershire Police support the SMST Legal Highs Lethal Lows campaign.'

The harms of legal highs are multi-faceted. Health services including commissioned drug and alcohol treatment services locally are starting to see health and other problems caused by regular use of these drugs and new substances are emerging each week.

Debra Cunningham, Strategic Manager for SMST said: 'Working with our colleagues from Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire & Rutland Primary Care Trust and our Borough/District councils, we continue to work to reduce the harms caused by substance misuse.'

The 'Legal Highs Lethal Lows' campaign will run from 03 December 2012, until the end of January, 2013 and then be followed by a number of initiatives throughout the spring/summer aimed at music festivals and student freshers weeks.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Legal-highs-lethal-lows-campaign-launched.aspx Mon, 03 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell takes part in ‘the Big Sleep Out’ in Birmingham]]>

Swanswell's team takes part in the Big Sleep Out on 30 November 2012

Team members from Swanswell joined over 400 people to raise thousands of pounds to help prevent homelessness in Birmingham after taking part in the ‘Big Sleep Out.’

On Friday 30 November, volunteers from Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – were among hundreds of others from across the city who ‘roughed it’ for the night as part of the St Basils event.

They slept in cardboard boxes in Digbeth overnight as temperatures fell below freezing to help St Basils raise money for young people who are homeless and to raise awareness of homelessness issues to the wider community.

Team members from Swanswell were supporting St Basils and the national charity’s own projects to help achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

 

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Big-sleep-out.aspx Mon, 03 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes alcohol plans but calls for wider measures]]> Swanswell’s welcoming government plans to set a minimum price for alcohol and ban ‘buy one, get one free’ deals on beer, wines and spirits but it says wider measures are needed to make a difference.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to today’s launch of a 10-week consultation into charging at least 45 pence per unit and ending supermarket multi-buy offers on alcohol.

The proposals would raise the price for the average can of beer or cider to £1.12 and reduce the consumption of alcohol by 4.3%, according to government research (reports BBC News). However, plans have attracted much reaction from health services, the drinks industry and others.

Swanswell believes minimum pricing and banning multi-buy offers is only a small part of the solution for tackling alcohol misuse. Other elements such as the place alcohol is sold and the product itself should be considered alongside other measures too.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome today’s proposal as a serious attempt to address alcohol misuse but Swanswell believes it’s only the start of what needs to be done.

The underpinning research behind this from the University of Sheffield is very interesting and uses lots of statistical  information but human behaviour isn’t based on statistics, so it would be very difficult to see how this will translate across.

The research is also based on high risk drinkers who are unlikely to change their drinking behaviour because of the price of alcohol.

But what it may do is discourage those who are not yet drinking at high or harmful levels from buying more than they otherwise would, particularly those who are buying very cheap high strength lagers and ciders, which are the most difficult to wean people off.

However, price and promotion are only two aspects that need to be investigated – the product itself and where it is placed on sale should also be considered, alongside the need for clearer information to un-muddle the mixed messages out there around alcohol.

Tie that in with better alcohol education and more open conversations at home about our attitudes to drinking, and we’ll start to see a positive shift in society’s view of alcohol, giving them the help they need to make informed decisions about their own use.

It’s clear that the government’s taking alcohol misuse seriously, so we hope it signals more investment in services such as Swanswell, which can give people the help and support they need to change and be happy, while saving billions of pounds for the NHS.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-alcohol-consultation-plans.aspx Wed, 28 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Minimum pricing only first step to tackle alcohol misuse, says Swanswell]]> Plans to introduce minimum pricing in England and Wales are being welcomed by Swanswell but it believes the step should be one of many to tackle alcohol misuse.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to news today that the Prime Minister is set to publish the Government’s alcohol consultation on Wednesday.

It’s expected that David Cameron will recommend prices should rise to reduce sales of cheap spirits and super-strength lager and cider, which are often linked to anti-social behaviour and violence.

Three potential ‘floor prices’ are being considered by Downing Street – 40p, 45p and 50p per unit of alcohol. Similar plans in Scotland have been put on hold following a court challenge from the drinks industry.

It would mean the price of a £2.99 bottle of red wine containing 9.4 units would increase to £3.76 and an 87p can of strong lager would almost double to at least £1.60 (reports The Independent).

However, Swanswell believes minimum pricing is only part of the solution for tackling alcohol misuse.             

Other aspects of the marketing mix should be investigated alongside price including promotion, product and place, in addition to better alcohol education and clearer information.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome another serious attempt from the government to tackle alcohol misuse.

However, minimum pricing alone won’t solve the problem. It’s important to consider other aspects alongside price such as where alcohol is placed on sale, promotional offers and the product itself.

Most importantly, we need better education and clearer information – there are so many mixed messages out there about alcohol, which makes it difficult for people to make informed decisions about their own drinking.

In addition, we need increased investment in treatment services such as Swanswell. At a time of government cuts, it’s important to recognise the need for this support, which has the potential to save billions of pounds for the NHS.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any individual, government or organisation can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Minimum-pricing-only-first-step-to-tackle-alcohol-misuse-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 26 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Keep conversations around alcohol misuse going after national campaign ends, says Swanswell]]> With Alcohol Awareness Week coming to an end, Swanswell’s urging people to continue having the right conversations about alcohol, moving forward.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week (19 to 25 November) by raising awareness of the stigmas, hidden harms and social problems associated with alcohol misuse.

It’s part of a national campaign by Alcohol Concern to change the conversations people are having about alcohol and is an opportunity to highlight topics that are rarely discussed – but should be.

But as the spotlight of the campaign moves away for another year, Swanswell wants to ensure that people take on board what they’ve learnt during the campaign and have regular, informed conversations about their alcohol use.

Aside from the risks to health, alcohol misuse can cause a range of additional problems that are rarely discussed but can be just as damaging.

Excessive or prolonged drinking can lead to increased family tension, quarrelling and violence; relationship difficulties; depression or social withdrawal among partners, who may drink themselves to deal with their loved one’s misuse; or increased divorce rates (DWP 2012).

Work life can also be affected over time and there’s the potential of it having an adverse affect on children, leading to behavioural problems and underperformance at school. In some cases, it may also be a factor in crime.

Despite this, Swanswell knows many of the conversations about alcohol still centre around the impact it has on health, rather than the wider implications to individuals, their friends and family.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Alcohol misuse can affect anyone and there are often very complex reasons behind someone’s drinking.

Ill health is one of the most talked about effects of alcohol misuse, particularly in the media but it’s rare for focus to be on the damage alcohol can do to relationships, finances and work life.

We need to encourage people to have informed conversations around alcohol misuse and to be supportive of those who might be affected, so they don’t feel ashamed about coming forward for treatment or take a step backwards.

Although Alcohol Awareness Week is over, we should continue to regularly discuss how best to tackle alcohol misuse and make informed decisions about our own drinking, so together, we can create a society free from problem alcohol – and drug – misuse.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Keep-alcohol-talks-going-after-AAW.aspx Fri, 23 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell encourages ‘silent epidemic’ conversation during Alcohol Awareness Week]]> Swanswell’s calling for a wider conversation about a ‘silent epidemic’ caused by prolonged alcohol misuse that could affect up to 80,000 people across the UK.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week (19 to 25 November) by raising awareness of the stigmas, hidden harms and social problems associated with alcohol misuse.

It’s part of a national campaign by Alcohol Concern to change the conversation people are having about alcohol and is an opportunity to highlight topics that are rarely discussed – but should be.

Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD) is one of those hidden harms – it has a range of symptoms similar to other forms of dementia including memory loss, balance problems and irrational behaviour, making diagnosis difficult.

The condition is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption and has appeared in people as young as 27.

There are about 800,000 people with dementia in the UK (Alzheimer's Society) - studies suggest that around 12.5 per cent of dementias in the under 65s are alcohol-related1 and alcohol-related dementia accounts for ten per cent of all dementia cases2.

Yet, research suggests that if caught early enough, and with the right treatment, the effects of ARD could be reversed. In fact, a quarter of people with Alcohol-Related Dementia  recover completely and another quarter recover enough to lead independent lives3.

Last month (October), Swanswell held fringe events at the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences to raise awareness of ARD and a new model of treatment being developed by the national charity.

Swanswell has started a clinical trial of this treatment in South Yorkshire involving people affected by ARD, and their carers.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Some academic studies suggest that around an eighth of dementias in the under 65s are caused by alcohol but only a small minority of those affected by ARD are classed as heavy ‘street drinkers’.

Despite this, very few people have heard about ARD or are aware of the effect it can have on individuals and their families. Studies suggest that if it’s caught early enough and with the right treatment, its effects can be reversed.

So Swanswell wants to start the conversation about this condition as soon as possible because there could be tens of thousands of people missing out on potential treatment that could turn their lives, and the lives of their families, around for the better.

If you’re concerned about your own health or someone else’s, talk to a GP or an organisation such as Swanswell who could help identify whether it is Alcohol-Related Dementia. Getting help is nothing to be ashamed about and could improve lives.’

After conducting research into the condition4, Swanswell’s developed a model of treatment for Alcohol-Related Dementia and has gained ethical approval to roll out pilot studies in South Yorkshire, which has just started.

References

1. Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset
    Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and
    outcome
. London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group

2. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156    
   
635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998)

    Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support
    and outcome
. London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group.

3. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome.
     Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278.

4. Swanswell (2010). The development of a multi-disciplinary programme for the   
     treatment of alcohol related brain injury
. Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Volume 3

     Issue 2, May 2010: Peer Professional Ltd

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-encourages-ARD-conversations.aspx Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell backs campaign to get the nation talking about alcohol misuse]]> Swanswell’s getting behind a national campaign encouraging everyone to talk about alcohol use.

During Alcohol Awareness Week (19 to 25 November), the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will raise awareness of the health risks, social problems and stigmas around alcohol misuse.

Over the coming days, Swanswell will be attending a number of events across the country as part of Alcohol Concern’s campaign asking whether people are having the right conversations about drinking.

Problem alcohol misuse costs the UK economy at least £18 billion a year (HM Government) and around one in four people drink in a harmful way (NHS statistics). Despite this, society still stigmatises those affected by alcohol misuse, which often proves to be a barrier to treatment.

Swanswell is joining calls to change the conversation by encouraging informal discussions among parents, young people, carers and others around alcohol use and how accessing treatment can help people turn their lives around for the better.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Alcohol misuse can affect anyone, yet society still stigmatises people who have got to the point where they need help and support.

A very small proportion of the people who come to us fit the stereotypical group of street drinkers. People come to us from many different backgrounds - and alcohol misuse isn’t just about binge drinking.

Many don’t realise how thin the line is between drinking sensibly and alcohol use becoming hazardous. Before long, alcohol use can spiral out of control affecting relationships, work life, finances and can lead to serious health problems too.

All of this can be avoided with the right approach to alcohol use – having informal and open conversations with younger relatives about the risks, thinking about your own alcohol use and being more supportive of those affected will all help.

In order to take the right approach, they need access to clear, consistent information and education about alcohol - something that needs to be readily available however they choose to access it.

Ultimately, we all need to accept some responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse because it’s not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-backs-AAW-campaign-2012.aspx Mon, 19 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol - let's talk about it...Sandwell marks Alcohol Awareness Week]]> Issued on behalf of Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership
Sandwell will mark next week’s national Alcohol Awareness Week (19 – 25 November) by launching a new support website and holding a roadshow event for people who want to get advice.

The website – www.sdap.co.uk – for Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership (SDAP) will give a single point where people can get information and support on alcohol and drug issues.

It will be launched during an Alcohol Awareness Week event on Wednesday 21 November in Queen’s Square Shopping Centre, West Bromwich.

Everyone is welcome to come along between 9.30am and 5pm to discuss with professionals any advice they may need on alcohol issues, whether for themselves or someone they are worried about. Any information discussed will be kept confidential.

Members of the SDAP who will be on hand to give advice include Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team, adult and young people’s alcohol services – Swanswell and DECCA, police, probation and an alcohol recovery support group.

Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Partnership (SDAP), part of the Safer Sandwell Partnership (SSP), is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week, in which Alcohol Concern is urging people that ‘‘It’s time to talk about drinking’’.

The week falls within Sandwell’s Safer 6 campaign, which involves many local organisations working to provide added reassurance and crime prevention activities as the nights draw in.

Councillor Paul Moore, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for health & commissioning, said: 'With one in four A&E admissions being related to alcohol, it’s vital that people who are drinking too much know how to get the advice and support they need. Their families and friends also need to know how to get help.

'That’s why I am pleased to see Sandwell marking national Alcohol Awareness Week by launching this new website and holding a public information event. These are both great ways for people to get advice and information from professionals should they need it.'

Neil Parkes, alcohol strategy development manager for SDAP, said: 'We are encouraging ‘conversations’ about the health risks, social problems, stigmas and taboos associated with talking about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

'Many people who choose to drink are able to do so enjoyably and safely. But others may find that their drinking may be causing a range of health and social issues.  

'Heavy drinking, particularly over time, can lead to a number of health conditions including oral and other cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, cirrhosis of the liver, depression and reduced fertility.

'Alcohol affects your judgement, so you do things you wouldn't normally think of. It makes you less aware of risks and so more vulnerable. You are more likely to have fights, arguments, money troubles, family upsets, or take risks sexually.'

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s chief executive, said: 'Alcohol misuse can affect anyone at any time, yet society still stereotypes people who need help and support because of their drinking.

'It often proves to be a barrier for treatment for many, who may continue drinking at dangerous levels without realising the damage it can cause to their health, relationships and finances among others.

'So we think it’s vital that conversations about the harms of drinking to excess – or even regularly, over time – are encouraged to help remove this stigma and for everyone to take responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse.

'Organisations such as Swanswell can offer a non-judgemental ear for those worried about how much they’re drinking, while providing access to useful advice and support to people who’d like to change and be happy.'

A poster campaign encouraging people to talk about alcohol issues that may be affecting their health, work and relationships will also be running for Alcohol Awareness Week.

And public health chiefs and alcohol service professionals will also be going on local community radio station Raaj FM from 1-2pm on Tuesday 20 November.

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-lets-talk-in-Sandwell.aspx Mon, 19 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell helps Leicestershire students stay SAFE on the road]]> Swanswell’s helped hundreds of students understand the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as part of a special road show in North West Leicestershire.

The SAFE event at Stephenson College in Coalville is organised by the Safer North West Partnership, and focuses on the consequences of dangerous driving, attracting up to 500 young people from the college and neighbouring districts.

Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – works with people across the county and it was invited to highlight how dangerous alcohol or drug misuse can be to people on the road.

During the two-day event (6 and 7 November 2012), staff used interactive aides and games to show 16 to 19-year-olds how substance misuse can affect perception, gave out information cards about alcohol and driving as well as useful Swanswell merchandise.

Students were also given an insight in to the charity’s Drink Impaired Drivers Programme, which gives people a clearer idea of how alcohol affects their ability to drive safely, putting the lives of others at risk, as well as their own.

Jamie Leake, Recovery Worker for Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘Statistics tell us that road casualties are more likely to be in their late teens than any other age group, so it’s vital that we help get these messages across before it’s too late.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have some serious consequences – many people don’t really understand the effect these substances can have on their driving and how dangerous it can be for themselves or others.

It can be a real eye opener and events such as this provide a great opportunity to warn young people of the risks, make informed decisions and reduce the chance of them becoming involved in an alcohol or drug-related road accident.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-helps-Leicestershire-students-stay-SAFE.aspx Fri, 16 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New study backs up alcohol avoidance advice during pregnancy, says Swanswell]]> A study that suggests drinking even one or two glasses of wine a week during pregnancy can impact a child’s intelligence reinforces Swanswell’s advice to avoid alcohol completely if expecting.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that researchers from Oxford and Bristol Universities found ‘moderate’ alcohol intake of one to six units a week during pregnancy affected a child’s IQ (reports BBC News).

The study, published in PLOS One journal, looked at the IQ scores of 4,000 children, while recording how much alcohol their mothers had. However, the effect was only seen in those drinking less than six units a week and not among those who abstained from alcohol.

Previous advice around whether it’s safe to drink low to moderate levels of alcohol during pregnancy has been confusing with some experts saying it is, while others – including Swanswell – believe it isn’t.     

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘There is so much muddled thinking out there about whether or not it is safe to drink alcohol if you’re pregnant, adding to the huge amount of bewildering health advice that new mums have to deal with.

Today’s news adds weight to the argument that it’s better to avoid it all together if expecting because the evidence around the safety of drinking low to moderate levels is inconsistent.

So the government and public health bodies have a duty to keep advice clear and simple while warning of the potential risks.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is one of the disorders that could affect a child who’s mother was drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is the most common preventable cause of learning disability or difficulty in the UK (Carpenter, B., 2011).

FASD is a range of conditions – including birth defects and disorders associated with brain development – caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb. Research suggests it affects around one per cent of births in Europe and sufferers display a range of symptoms.

So the safest way to minimise the risk of harm is to simply avoid alcohol during pregnancy.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-study-backs-alcohol-avoidance-during-pregnancy.aspx Thu, 15 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes government dementia measures]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a number of new measures aimed at tackling the UK’s Dementia Challenge but it would like to see more specific work around forms of the condition that could potentially be reversed.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to today’s announcement from the government about the next phase of its plan to tackle the growing problem of dementia.

It includes training a million people to become ‘dementia friends’ in England by 2015 to help identify symptoms, £9.6 million for dementia research, extra support for GPs on dementia and a commitment on information for people diagnosed with dementia.

Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD) is one of the forms of dementia that the national charity knows is preventable and potentially reversible with the right treatment – if caught early enough. In many cases, people can return to independent living1.

ARD is similar to other forms of dementia, making diagnosis difficult, and is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption. Swanswell is aware of cases in people as young as 27.

Through research, Swanswell knows ARD affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK2 but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s3.

Last month (October), Swanswell held fringe events at the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences to raise awareness of Alcohol-Related Dementia and a new model of treatment being developed by the national charity.

Swanswell’s set to start a clinical trial of this treatment shortly in South Yorkshire involving people affected by ARD, and their carers.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased that the government is recognising dementia as a serious condition, which needs more investment to help reduce the impact it has on those affected and to society.

In addition, we need more awareness raising of other forms of dementia – not just the more well known forms such as Alzheimer’s – so people can identify symptoms earlier and in the case of ARD, could potentially receive treatment in future to reverse the effects.

Research suggests that ARD can affect people as young as 27 and it accounts for around one in eight of all dementia cases in the under 65s, yet ARD is preventable.

‘It’s caused by prolonged alcohol use, so by making more people aware of the potential harms through better education and clearer information, we could reduce the risk of this form of dementia happening in the first place.

However, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.

References

1. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278.

2. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156 635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and outcome. London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group

3. Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and outcome. London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group

 

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-government-dementia-measures.aspx Thu, 08 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Tackling ‘legal highs’ should be more of a priority, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell’s calling on the government to make tackling legal highs more of a priority, as new figures show a big increase in deaths caused by substances such as ‘meow meow’.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report for the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, which revealed 43 people in the UK died after taking now banned methcathinones in 2010.

In comparison, five people died after taking ‘legal highs’ in 2009 according to the report, compiled by the International Centre for Drug Policy based at St George’s, University of London.

Overall, drug-related deaths fell by just under 14% from 2,182 in 2009 to 1,883 in 2010 (the latest figures), with the number of heroin-related deaths falling significantly from 53% of all drug-related deaths in 2009 to 41% in 2010 (reports BBC News).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While it’s encouraging to see that the number of drug-related deaths have fallen significantly, it’s worrying that the number of legal high-related deaths is increasing.

They are called ‘legal highs’ because they are not covered by the current misuse of drugs laws and are legal to possess or to use but that doesn’t mean they’re safe or approved (see NHS Choices). They are often used like illegal substances such as cocaine or cannabis and can potentially be very dangerous, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Although some former legal highs such as methcathinones are now classified as class B drugs with others set to follow, it’s clear more needs to be done to stop the rapid growth in their use by providing better information and education about the dangers.

However, tackling drug – or alcohol – misuse is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own. We all have a part to play.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Tackling-legal-highs-priority-says-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell highlights concerns over substance misuse benefit plans]]> Plans to strip sickness benefits from people affected by alcohol or drug misuse if they don’t seek help could do more harm than good, Swanswell believes.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news of a government proposal which could see employment and support allowance payments stopped, if claimants refuse treatment for substance misuse.

According to The Telegraph, trials across the country will be announced before Christmas and the pilots will be based on a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ model.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we welcome the idea of helping more people into treatment for substance misuse, we think that cutting an individual’s sickness benefit could make their situation worse

The reasons behind someone’s alcohol and drug misuse can be very complex and that first step into treatment is often the most difficult – it’ll only be effective if they want to do it, not if they’re forced to because their payments might get stopped.

In some cases, sickness benefit could be their only source of income and losing access to it would leave them with serious financial difficulties, adding to the problems alcohol or drug misuse can bring.

We agree more needs to be done to help people change their lives for the better but it’s not something that can happen overnight.

Society’s view about alcohol and drug use needs to change - we all need to address the stigma associated with people affected by substance misuse to really make a difference, so they don’t feel ashamed about coming forward for help.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-concerned-over-benefits-plans.aspx Tue, 06 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell joins Trustees’ Week celebrations]]> Swanswell’s taking time out to celebrate and recognise the vital role trustees play in ensuring the national charity achieves its goal of creating a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

Next week (5 to 11 November 2012) is Trustees’ Week – the third annual celebration of trusteeship, organised by the Charity Commission and partners.

This campaign aims to showcase the great work of trustees and to highlight the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.

Like many charities throughout the UK, Swanswell’s governance and strategic direction is managed by a Board of Trustees - dedicated volunteers who have a wealth of relevant experience that they bring to the role.

They’re responsible for directing the business of the charity, making decisions about finances, activities and plans for the future.

Swanswell’s Board of Trustees is currently made up of eight members and has led the national charity through some exciting and challenging times.

During 2011/12 alone, they’ve made decisions that have guided the charity to generate the highest income in its history, £10.4m, and to support over 9,000 people face-to-face and give advice to more than 100,000 online.

Under the Board of Trustees’ leadership, Swanswell has developed exciting programmes and new models of treatment such as The Swanswell Recovery Model and interventions for Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD).

In recent years, the national charity’s also created a successful Alcohol and Domestic Abuse Prevention Programme, the Carer Support Service in Barnsley and developed  interventions that use interactive games technology to help people understand the triggers to their substance misuse.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Swanswell’s talented and experienced Board of Trustees really understand what we do and where we should be going as an organisation.

Trustees play a vital part in the management of a charity, so it seems only fitting to dedicate a week to what they do and highlight their tireless, often unrecognised efforts to keep organisations such as Swanswell moving in the right direction.

It’s worth pointing out that trustees are volunteers, so regularly give up their free time and expertise to really make a difference to people’s lives.

‘Our own Board of Trustees has helped make Swanswell what it is today, so I’d like to thank everyone past and present for their continued hard work and dedication.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Trustees-week-2012.aspx Fri, 02 Nov 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes dementia priority plans]]> Swanswell’s welcoming news that the Health Secretary is set to announce that improving care for dementia sufferers is one of his top priorities.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding ahead of Jeremy Hunt’s speech in Eastbourne where he’s expected to outline his ambition to make England ‘one of the best countries in Europe to be old’1.

Mr Hunt’s also set to announce a £50m investment to help hospitals and care homes create more dementia-friendly environments through calmer surroundings which will help avoid confusion2.

But Swanswell believes there is still much more investment needed to help people affected by dementia – including investigating other forms of the condition which are rarely discussed, such as Alcohol-Related Dementia (ARD).

ARD has similar symptoms to other forms of dementia, making diagnosis difficult – yet, if caught early enough and with the right treatment, the effects can potentially be reversed and in many cases, people can return to independent living3.

Through research, Swanswell knows ARD affects around 10% of all dementia cases in the UK4 but even more alarming is that it accounts for about 12.5% of all dementia cases in the under 65s5. Swanswell’s aware of cases involving people as young as 27.

Earlier this month, Swanswell held fringe events at the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences to raise awareness of Alcohol-Related Dementia and a new model of treatment being developed by the national charity.

Swanswell’s set to start a clinical trial of this treatment later this year in South Yorkshire involving people affected by ARD, and their carers.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased that the government is recognising dementia as a top health priority and we welcome news of today’s funding to improve the environment for dementia patients.

Hopefully this marks the start of much more investment in dementia care – it’s a very complex condition that has long lasting effects on individuals and their families, yet some forms, such as Alcohol Related Dementia, could potentially be reversed.

Research suggests that ARD can affect people as young as 27 and it accounts for around one in eight of all dementia cases in the under 65s, so we believe more of the focus needs to be placed on identifying the warning signs earlier.

ARD is preventable – it’s caused by prolonged alcohol use, so by making more people aware of the harms through better education and clearer information, we could reduce the risk of this form of dementia happening in the first place.

However, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.

References 

  1. The Independent 2012. Jeremy Hunt: £50m to ease pain of dementia. [Online]. Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-hunt-50m-to-ease-pain-of-dementia-8225399.html [accessed 25/10/12]
  2. Department of Health 2012. Health Secretary announces funding for care homes and wards specially designed for people with dementia. [Online]. Available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/10/dementiaenvironments [accessed 25/10/12]
  3. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278.
  4. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156    
    635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998)

    Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support
    and outcome
    . London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group.
  5. Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset
    Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and
    outcome
    . London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group
]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-dementia-plans.aspx Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New drugs policy report opens door for wider debate, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell believes a new report calling for a fresh approach to tackling drug misuse in the UK is a welcome step to opening a wider debate about substance misuse.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to findings from the UK Drugs Policy Commission’s ‘Fresh approach to drugs’ report, which is a six-year study into Britain’s drug laws.

As part of the report, the UKDPC looked at how society and government can ‘enable and support individuals to behave responsibly’ and focus on how ‘society and government can enable and promote recovery from entrenched drug problems.’ 

The study’s analysis of evidence suggests that existing policies struggle to make an impact in tackling drug misuse and may make the situation worse in some cases.

Tackling social problems that increase the risk of drug problems,  providing evidence-based prevention programmes to support less risky choices and tackling the stigma towards people with drug problems and their families are some of the key recommendations.

In addition, it suggests that criminal sanctions imposed on the 42,000 people sentenced every year for possession of all drugs  - and the 160,000 given cannabis warnings – should be replaced with simpler civil penalties such as fines, drug awareness sessions or referral to drug treatment programmes (reports the Guardian).

However, the UKDPC’s report rejects any other legalisation moves because it says selling other drugs such as heroin or cocaine legally could cause more damage, than under the existing trade. 

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, welcomes the findings of the six-year study.

She said: ‘Although the report highlights that some policies have been working over time, it’s clear that others aren’t working as well as they should, so we welcome this as  a first step into opening a wider debate about tackling drug use.

We agree that the current UK approach is simplistic and fails to recognise that entrenched drug problems are linked to inequality and social exclusion in many cases – something that needs to be tackled at a government level.

It’s difficult to say whether decriminalisation would work or not but the current system doesn’t tackle the root cause of an individual’s drug use; something that can play a big part in helping with their recovery and ensuring they stay drug free.

But simply criminalising someone can do more harm than good – it’s important to offer access to appropriate treatment and support to make sure they have the help they need to turn their life around for the better.

So it’s time for a review of the current drugs policy and for all of us to accept responsibility for tackling problem drug use – it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/UKDPC-report-opens-door-for-wider-debate.aspx Mon, 15 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol map should be wake up call, says Swanswell]]> Swanswell believes a new map revealing the real harm and cost of alcohol misuse across England should be a wake-up call to government, health services and society as a whole.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to Alcohol Concern’s ‘Alcohol Harm Map’, which is designed to help local authorities ensure alcohol prevention and treatment services are where they need to be.

The map highlights how many people are drinking at harmful levels, the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions and alcohol-related healthcare costs in each local authority area.

According to the results of the map, more NHS money is spent treating alcohol-related hospital admissions for the 55 to 74-year-olds (more than £825 million) in 2010/11, compared to those in the 16 to 24-year-old age group (about £64 million), reports BBC News.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The results highlighted in the alcohol map don’t come as a surprise to us but they reveal some of the hidden costs that alcohol misuse causes – not just to health but to society as a whole.

‘The figures show that it’s the 55 to 74-year-old age group that costs the NHS most money when it comes to alcohol-related hospital admissions. Again, not surprising, but it’s evidence of the harm caused by alcohol use over a prolonged period of time.

‘Swanswell has recently been talking about one of the hidden harms of alcohol misuse – Alcohol Related Dementia (ARD) - during fringe events at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences.

‘It’s a silent epidemic that could affect up to 80,000 people in the UK and is similar to other forms of dementia, so is difficult to diagnose. That is caused by excessive alcohol use over time, and we’re aware of cases in people as young as 27.

‘Potentially it can be reversed if caught early enough and with the right treatment, saving lives and millions of pounds for the economy.

‘So projects such as this could go a long way to helping tackle alcohol misuse and reduce the chances of people needing repeated alcohol-related hospital admissions when they get older, something the report clearly shows is costly.

‘However, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any single government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play by taking responsibility for our own alcohol use.’

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-map-wake-up-call.aspx Fri, 12 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Tackling drug misuse should still be a high priority as fewer people enter treatment in England]]> Swanswell believes that tackling substance misuse should still be a high priority for government, despite record numbers of people recovering from drug misuse.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the latest figures from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA).

According to their report, nearly 30,000 people (29,855) successfully completed treatment in 2011/12, up from 27,969 the previous year and almost three times greater than seven years ago (11,208).

In addition, it found that nearly one third of users in the last seven years successfully completed their treatment and did not return.

The NTA’s figures also show that the number of young adults needing treatment for heroin or crack has dropped to its lowest recorded level ever – with the over 40s age group the only one to see an increase in treatment numbers.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The NTA’s figures are very encouraging – more people are completing treatment drug free and fewer young adults are needing treatment for heroin or crack addiction than ever before.

Despite these promising figures, however, we can’t take our eye off the ball – there is still much work to do to tackle drug misuse, especially as the existing heroin population is ageing and new drugs of choice are becoming available to the younger generation.

In order for us to do that, it’s key for the government to keep recognising the importance of organisations such as Swanswell in helping people recover from substance misuse by ensuring levels of funding are maintained or even increased moving forward.

Treating substance misuse can be a lengthy process and we need to create more innovative treatments to make sure more people can continue to change and be happy.

Tie that in with clear public information about drug misuse and better drugs education, we’d have a solid foundation to ensure a continued reduction of those using drugs along with an increase in the number of people who have recovered permanently.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Tackling-drugs-misuse-should-still-be-priority.aspx Fri, 05 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[West Coast Mainline decision highlights need for commissioning review]]> A re-run of the bidding process for the West Coast Mainline following a ‘flaw in the contract’ highlights the need for a review of commissioning as a whole, Swanswell believes.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that the government has scrapped the decision to award the multi-billion pound contract to FirstGroup due to ‘mistakes that had been made by staff within the Department for Transport’ (reports BBC News).

It’s estimated that £40 million is needed to reimburse the costs of the four companies who entered the bidding process.

Back in August, when discussing the West Coast Mainline during BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions (17 August), Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan highlighted this ‘massive, crazy process of commissioning’.

Following today’s news, she added: ‘Today’s news highlights the need for a review into the whole commissioning process – not just transport - because instances like this cost the organisations involved and the tax payer money in what is a difficult economic climate.

The commissioning process generally can be very lengthy, expensive and time consuming, and there is no recompense for organisations who have put the same time and effort in as the winning bidder. While this may be written off as an acceptable commercial risk, if  the cost to the whole economy far outweighs the benefit  to the public services we are seeking to provide, the whole process needs to be reviewed.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/West-Coast-decisions-highlights-commissioning-review-need.aspx Wed, 03 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to take warning of alcohol-related ‘silent epidemic’ to Labour and Conservative Party conferences]]> Up to 80,000 people in the UK could be affected by a condition caused by prolonged alcohol use and dubbed as a ‘silent epidemic’ – but the effects can potentially be reversed with the right treatment.

That’s the message Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is taking to MPs at two party conferences this week to raise awareness of alcohol-related dementia.

It has a range of symptoms similar to other dementias including memory loss, balance problems and irrational behaviour, making diagnosis difficult.

The condition is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption and has appeared in people as young as 27.

There are about 800,000 people with dementia in the UK - studies suggest that around 12.5 per cent of dementias in the under 65s are alcohol-related1 and alcohol-related dementia accounts for ten per cent of all dementia cases2.

Swanswell will be hosting fringe events at two big political party conferences calling for more attention to be paid to the growing problem of early onset alcohol-related dementia.

Swanswell Trustee Seema Malhotra MP (Feltham and Heston) and Cllr Donna Green (Kingstone Ward, Barnsley), will be helping to raise awareness at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester on Wednesday 3 October.

Jeremy Wright MP (Kenilworth and Southam), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice, will join new Swanswell Trustee and former BBC journalist Clarence Mitchell, to lead a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Sunday 7 October.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Some academic studies suggest that around an eighth of dementias in the under 65s are caused by alcohol and only a small minority of people affected by alcohol-related dementia are those we might class as heavy ‘street drinkers’.

Despite the condition affecting so many lives, it’s not featured in the Government’s recent national Alcohol Strategy, the national Dementia Strategy or the national Carers Strategy – we think it’s a big issue that should be paid more attention.

What’s more, if caught early enough, the effects of alcohol-related dementia could be reversed. Studies suggest that with treatment, a quarter of alcohol-related dementia cases recover completely and another quarter recover enough to lead independent lives3.

Only a small proportion of alcohol-related dementia sufferers are what we’d consider as high-risk drinkers. A growing number of those affected are women and it can happen at any age – we’ve heard of cases involving people as young as 27.’              

After conducting research into the condition4Swanswell’s developed a model of treatment for alcohol-related dementia and has gained ethical approval to roll out pilot studies in South Yorkshire, which will involve carers of those affected by alcohol misuse in the delivery of the intervention.

References

1. Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family
burden, support and outcome
. London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group

2. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156 635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson M
& Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and outcome. London: Imperial
College Dementia Research Group.

3. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278.

4. Swanswell (2010). The development of a multi-disciplinary programme for the treatment of alcohol related brain injury. Advances in
Dual Diagnosis, Volume 3 Issue 2, May 2010: Peer Professional Ltd

]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-ARBI-conferences.aspx Mon, 01 Oct 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Former BBC presenter Clarence Mitchell joins Swanswell's Board of Trustees]]> Swanswell’s further strengthened the team responsible for governance and strategic direction by welcoming former BBC presenter Clarence Mitchell to its Board of Trustees.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, officially announced the appointment of the experienced journalist and media professional at its general meeting on 21 September 2012.

Clarence is currently the Managing Director and Practice Chair of UK Public Affairs at Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm. He’s also the official spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann.

Clarence brings with him a wealth of experience. Previously, he was the Director of Media Strategy and Public Affairs at Lewis PR and was the Head of Election Media Monitoring for the Conservative Party in the run up to the 2010 General Election.

These positions followed a consultancy role at Freud Communications and two years as the Director of Her Majesty’s Government Media Monitoring Unit for the Cabinet Office, providing media support to the Prime Minister’s office and other government departments.

In addition, Clarence spent almost 20 years as an on air reporter and presenter for BBC News, taking in radio and network television including BBC News 24 and BBC World.

Speaking of his appointment, Clarence said: ‘I’m delighted to be joining Swanswell’s Board of Trustees and to be working with such an innovative organisation, offering exciting and effective services to those who are affected by substance misuse.

Swanswell believes in a society that’s free from problem alcohol and drug use – it’s a big challenge and it won’t happen overnight but with the right support, it’s achievable and I’m excited by that.’

He will join an already very experienced Board of Trustees. New Chair, Rita Stringfellow, said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Clarence to our Board of Trustees and we’re certain he will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organisation.

We’re incredibly proud of the dedicated team we have at Swanswell – from the Board of Trustees to our day-to-day management team, frontline and support staff, who all share the same commitment to help people change and be happy.’

Ms Stringfellow moves from her previous position as Vice Chair to replace Mick Wells, who has stepped down as Chair after serving a term of 10 years on the Board (eight of which were as Chair). Swanswell trustee James Watkins becomes Vice Chair.

Ms Stringfellow added: ‘We’d like to thank Mick for his many years of dedicated service to Swanswell.

He’s overseen many positive changes to the organisation over time and has helped Swanswell continue to build on its reputation as a trusted and effective provider of substance misuse services.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Clarence-Mitchell-joins-Swanswells-board.aspx Fri, 28 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s Accredited Programmes prepare to launch in Staffordshire and the West Midlands]]> There’s only a week to go before Swanswell’s criminal justice Accredited Programmes launch in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be working on behalf of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation from 1 October after being awarded a contract worth up to £1.5 million.

Swanswell will also continue delivering Accredited Programmes for Warwickshire Probation as part of the three-year agreement.

Accredited Programmes are nationally approved courses that offenders attend as part of their sentence, and in this case, are for substance misuse-related crime in Coventry, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Swanswell will be delivering the Drink Impaired Drivers’ Programme (DIDP), Offender Substance Abuse Programme (OSAP) and Lower Intensity Alcohol Programme (LIAP) from locations within the community.          

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been delivering these programmes very successfully in Coventry and Warwickshire for quite some time now, so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to make them available to even more people.

Education plays a big part in helping people understand the risks of alcohol and drug misuse. For example, people attending our Drink Impaired Drivers programme often tell us they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel after a drink, if they’d have known the risks.

Accredited Programmes such as these help reduce the risk of someone reoffending, helping improve local communities while giving people the chance to turn their lives around for the better.’

Ged Bates, Director of Operations for Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation, said: ‘I am delighted that our work with Swanswell has been extended across Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Offenders often lead chaotic lives and it is vital they are given a chance to reform.

By addressing the reasons behind drug and alcohol misuse, programmes like this can help to cut reoffending and better protect the public.’

Liz Stafford, Chief Executive of Warwickshire Probation Trust, said: ‘Warwickshire Probation Trust looks forward to a further period of collaborative working with Swanswell building upon a very successful relationship established over several years.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-accredited-programmes-prepare-to-launch-in-Staffs-and-WM.aspx Mon, 24 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s virtual reality project takes to the world stage]]> Swanswell’s taken to the world stage this month to showcase how computer game-based technology could help people recover from substance misuse.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, presented to delegates at the 9th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies (ICDVRAT) in Laval, France.

Swanswell showcased a joint project with the University of Reading which uses virtual reality software to encourage behaviour change in people affected by alcohol misuse.

The technology, developed by Swanswell and the University of Reading through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), gives clients access to a number of computer-generated scenes using a virtual reality headset.

Each scene allows the game’s user to make decisions, which lead to more events as the scene unfolds, and allows the user to move between different scenes including a domestic scene with alcohol and drug-related cues, and a bar scene.

It aims to help them identify triggers to their alcohol or drug use and develop coping skills.

On Wednesday 12 September, team members from Swanswell and the University of Reading presented a paper called ‘Using virtual environments to teach coping skills in addiction treatment’ at the ICDVRAT conference.

Conference visitors heard about the background and development of the project, through user-led design, as well as the results of some of the initial testing of the application.

Liam North, Swanswell’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate and project lead, performed a full podium presentation at the conference - one of only 50 projects accepted out of a submission of 120.

He said: ‘We were delighted to be sharing what we know with many other academics and specialists involved in changing people’s lives for the better.

‘Swanswell believes that virtual therapies such as this can play a big part in the treatment and recovery of many more of those affected by substance misuse in the future, so we’re really excited about using more of this technology moving forward.’

Professor Paul Sharkey has led development of the technology at the University of Reading’s School of Systems Engineering.

He said: ‘The level of interest shown in this technology, as indicated by the reaction to Liam’s presentation, is testament to the success of the collaboration between the University of Reading and Swanswell on this project so far.

‘We’re thrilled that engineering solutions we have helped to develop at Reading, using easily-accessible technology, are being applied in such an innovative way by Swanswell and already making a difference to people’s lives.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-VR-project-takes-to-world-stage.aspx Thu, 20 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell programme helps people improve their sex life in Birmingham]]> More than 170 people affected by sexual dysfunction have been helped by an innovative service in Birmingham, created by Swanswell. 

This week (17 to 23 September) is Sexual Health Week and the national charity is joining many other organisations in raising awareness of the importance of having good sexual health.

Swanswell understands that for some, talking about sexual health can be difficult, so the national charity’s developed a service model to identify and treat sexual dysfunction using screening and simple brief interventions.

Sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical problems (such as illness or injury), psychological issues or a combination or both, for example anxiety following heart surgery.

Swanswell’s Sex and Wellbeing Model can be used during the course of other treatments accessed by patients across a range of healthcare services like doctor’s surgeries, drug and alcohol misuse services and family planning clinics.

A trained worker will carry out an initial assessment for anyone referred by a General Practitioner (GP) in Birmingham and will provide basic treatment.

If further help is needed, they can be referred to the programme’s sex therapist or work closely with their GP if a medical condition is identified.         

Treatment is also available through a drop-in clinic at the New Attitudes Contraception and Sexual Health Service in Erdington every Thursday between 10am and 12pm.

Sarah Brighton, Business Development Manager at Swanswell, said: ‘Our sex and wellbeing service can help anyone facing difficulties with sexual dysfunction get the appropriate treatment quickly, so they can continue enjoying their relationships.

Issues such as erectile dysfunction are more common than people think, so they shouldn’t feel embarrassed about talking to us. Simple changes to lifestyle or their way of thinking, can make a big difference.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-SW-programme-improve-life.aspx Tue, 18 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes calls for better support for children affected by parental drinking]]>

Swanswell’s welcoming a new report calling for better support for children who are affected by their parent’s alcohol misuse.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is responding to research from the Children’s Commissioner for England, which suggests more than 90,000 babies in the UK live with a problematic drinker (reports BBC News).

According to the figures, more than a fifth of all children in the UK (around 2.5 million) are living with a hazardous drinker.

The report, called ‘Silent Voices – Supporting children and young people affected by parental alcohol misuse’ – has been published today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) to highlight the extent of the problem.

Speaking on The Breakfast Show with Gaby Roslin and Paul Ross on BBC Radio London this morning, Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said it was a very timely report.

We work with a lot of adults that don’t understand their drinking caused a problem until it had gone a lot further than they expected it would.

In these same households, there are children who are trying to make sense of the drinking habits of the grown-ups around them.

One of the things that struck me about the report is that children say they have a sense of incongruence between their experience of living with an adult who regularly and routinely drinks, and society’s attitude to drinking, which tends to portray it as something humourous, something that’s acceptable, something that’s fun.

Their lives are not fun when they are living with someone who is regularly drinking to excess.

The children in the report say they’re having to deal with the fall out of their parent’s drinking and they don’t know what to do, they don’t know who to turn to and they haven’t got places to go to talk about this.

They also don’t want to expose their parents to the stigma of being labelled as a drinker, so I think as professionals or anyone coming into contact with children as parents or friends, we need to learn to listen better and understand the effect our drinking, or the drinking of others, is having on young people - and moderate our behaviour. ‘

The report also urges the government to train the relevant authorities to spot the signs of alcohol misuse in families earlier.

Debbie added: ‘We work with a lot of adults who have long term issues with alcohol misuse and there’s no doubt that many of their drinking habits formed from their experiences as children.

In fact, a number of people we have done research with have told us they started drinking at problem levels in their teens, often early teens, and they didn’t recognise this as a problem because it was normal in their own household – so what the parents do is often passed on to their children.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-calls-for-better-children-support.aspx Tue, 11 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes BBC documentary on alcohol misuse among older people]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a BBC documentary airing next week to raise awareness of alcohol misuse among older people.

The programme, called ‘Panorama: Old, drunk and disorderly’ and airing on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday 10 September, will investigate why the over-65s are more likely to drink every day, drink at home and drink alone compared to any other age group.

It’s estimated that 1.4 million older people in Britain are drinking too much and last year, there were more alcohol-related hospital admissions among this age group than there were for those aged 16-24 (reports BBC News).

Panorama will also detail specially-commissioned research from statisticians at Sheffield University which suggests the deaths of 50,000 older people could be avoided over the next ten years, if minimum alcohol pricing is rolled out in England.          

Researchers examined the likely outcomes if Scotland’s planned minimum alcohol price of 50 pence per unit was applied in England.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased that Panorama is raising awareness of the problems around older people drinking too much but it’s not a surprise to us because it’s something we see every day.

‘Alcohol doesn’t discriminate, so whether someone is drinking regularly over time or binge drinking, young or old, it still carries the same risks to health and wellbeing.

‘However, alcohol misuse among older people is often hidden - we know that many over-65s prefer to drink in their own homes, often because of boredom or big changes in their lifestyle.

‘While they may feel fit and healthy, prolonged drinking can cause hidden damage that isn’t spotted until it’s too late and they’re admitted to hospital with alcohol-related illnesses or conditions such as liver disease or Alcohol-Related Brain Injury (ARBI).

Hopefully viewers will take note of the documentary’s findings and consider their own drinking habits but ultimately, they need to have access to clear information about the potential harms so they can make their own informed decisions about alcohol.

If they do have concerns about their drinking, they should take the first step and contact an organisation like Swanswell who could help.        

Alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – it’s something we all have to take responsibility for.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-BBC-documentary-on-alcohol-misuse-among-older-people.aspx Fri, 07 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell stitches up the carers cabin to highlight Barnsley support]]> Almost 65 miles of wool has been used by Swanswell to yarnbomb a Barnsley building to raise awareness of the support for carers of loved ones affected by substance misuse.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, unveiled the huge, brightly-coloured temporary cover for the local carers cabin behind the Metrodome-BPL on Queens Road at an open day on 1 September.

It’s part of a wider campaign to highlight Swanswell’s carer support service – part of Barnsley’s integrated treatment system – offering emotional and practical support on a range of topics from carers allowance applications to understanding a loved one’s treatment.

The service, based at Henry Windsor House on Pitt Street, also gives carers the opportunity to live their own lives, providing a range of activities such as days out, and art and craft workshops called Knitswell, which is where the yarnbombing idea started out.

Since July, team members, carers and volunteers have been creating knitted banners saying ‘recovery for families too’ during sessions and in their own time, which have appeared around the town including Mandela Gardens, the Rotary Shelter and Peel Square.

It all built up to an open day last Saturday (1 September), where residents could find out more about the help available for carers and see the yarnbombing for themselves.

492 balls of wool were used to cover the entire cabin, taking the equivalent of 2334 hours to complete and if stretched out, would measure almost 64.3 miles – that’s roughly the distance between Swanswell’s offices in Barnsley and Loughborough (66 miles).

Donations of wool and knitted squares have been coming in from all over the country - with some even coming from as far afield as Holland.              

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s carer support service, said: ‘We’ve had some fantastic support from carers, volunteers, team members and residents in Barnsley and beyond, who have all offered their free time to help us

Our open day was also a great success – we received lots of positive comments about our yarnbombing of the carers cabin and raised over £140 in the process, which is fantastic.

While we did have a lot of fun with our yarnbombing attempts, there is a serious message behind what we’re doing.

Caring for a loved one affected by substance misuse can be a very isolating experience and many don’t know where to turn for help, so it was really important for us to come up with an eye catching way of telling people we are here.’

Swanswell’s carer support service would like to thank the following organisations for their help on the day: ReSound, Barnsley Churches Drugs Project, BADAS, Cool 1’s, Field Lane Crafters, Metrodome-BPL, the Carers Cabin and Making Space.

To find out how to get in touch with our carer support service in Barnsley, visit our 'Contact Us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-stitches-carers-cabin.aspx Tue, 04 Sep 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes new ‘traffic light’ test for hidden alcohol damage]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a new traffic-light blood test that can ‘reveal hidden liver damage caused by drinking above recommended alcohol limits.’

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - is responding to news today (29 August) about the test, which gives an early colour-coded warning indicating the risk of hidden damage.

Green means damage is unlikely, amber means there is a 50:50 chance of damage and red means the liver is most probably damaged - and this damage may be irreversible.

It was devised by UK doctors and combines a routine liver test that’s already in use with two others that measure the level of scarring, reports BBC News.

GPs could offer the test to patients to indicate the potential damage caused by regularly drinking above the government’s daily limit of 2 to 3 units for women and 3 to 4 units for men (with a gap of at least 48 hours between drinking to let the body recover).

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Swanswell welcomes any attempt to reduce the damage caused by alcohol and that helps people better understand the associated harms.

There is a lot of confusing advice out there about how to measure someone’s alcohol intake – units can be particularly confusing – so a simple traffic light system is an effective way of indicating the potential damage.

However, people still need access to clearer information to make sure they’re not putting themselves in harm’s way. Although the government provides a recommended daily limit, drinking regularly can still be as harmful as binge drinking.

Over time, repeated alcohol use can cause irreparable damage to the liver if the signs aren’t caught early enough.

But while the test could be a very useful tool to spot the dangers before it’s too late, we think more needs to be done to stop people getting to this point in the first place.            

Having clear, independent health information about the harms of regular or excessive alcohol use available in supermarkets, bars and any other business selling alcohol would help people make an informed decision about their own drinking.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, business or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’  

To find the details of your nearest Swanswell service, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-traffic-light-system.aspx Wed, 29 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to offer vital telephone support over August bank holiday]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support to people affected by substance misuse in Sandwell, Birmingham, Barnsley, Coventry, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland over the August bank holiday.

Since 2011, Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem drug and alcohol use – has been operating a special bank holiday telephone service for clients affected by drug and alcohol misuse, in addition to the usual support offered at all other times.

From this August bank holiday (27 August), Swanswell will also be offering face-to-face appointments or drop-in sessions during public holidays in the majority of its offices, at a time when many other services are closed.

The bank holiday service will be available on Monday 27 August from 9.00am to 5.00pm by calling 0300 303 5000 (calls charged at standard rate) to clients using all Swanswell services including the carer support service in Barnsley.

In addition, Swanswell will also be providing face-to-face appointments for clients in Birmingham at its office in Ruskin Chambers on Corporation Street.

Team members at Swanswell’s office in Coalville (High Street) will be offering a needle exchange and a drop-in service for clients in Leicestershire and Rutland.

For clients using Swanswell’s Supporting People Service in Coventry and Warwickshire, face-to-face appointments are being provided at the Norton Street office in Coventry.

Structured telephone interventions will be available through planned appointments for clients in Sandwell who are registered with Swanswell at Metro Court in West Bromwich.

Swanswell’s services will be open as usual from Tuesday 28 August 2012 (please note, the 0300 303 5000 number is only for the bank holiday support, except in Leicestershire and Rutland. Please use the usual contact details at all other times).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know bank holiday periods are often difficult for clients affected by drug and alcohol misuse, so we’re one of only a few organisations to offer this support when others are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to ensuring people continue to have the opportunity to change and be happy.’

To get in contact with the nearest Swanswell service to you, visit the 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/swanswell-offers-august-bank-holiday-support.aspx Thu, 23 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[GP survey highlights need for clearer alcohol information, says Swanswell]]> With more people turning to alcohol to cope with the recession, Swanswell’s calling for clearer information about the risks of drinking too much.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of a survey of 300 General Practitioners (GPs) released today (14 August) by the Insight Research Group.

According to the survey, GPs say tough times have lead to their patients drinking more, suffering more anxiety and exercising less – with the middle classes hit particularly hard.

Two thirds of GPs felt there was an increase in patients drinking more alcohol and almost half thought they’d seen an increase in serious alcohol misuse, the survey found.

Overall, three quarters of those questioned said the economic downturn was making people more unhealthy.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s worrying that more people are turning to alcohol as a way of coping in these difficult times.

Although alcohol can make people feel more relaxed, it gives a false sense of security – it’s a depressant and in the long term will make you feel worse.

‘Before long, regular alcohol use can become a big problem on its own, particularly to your health and wellbeing.

There is a lot of mixed messaging about alcohol out there and it’s often difficult for people to filter out the basic information they need to make informed decisions about their alcohol use, so clear information should be available at the point of purchase.

Ultimately there needs to be a big shift in society’s view about alcohol and how it’s often promoted as a way to enjoy yourself. It’s not something any government or organisation can do on its own, we all have a responsibility to tackle alcohol misuse.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/gp-survey-shows-alcohol-info-need.aspx Tue, 14 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell open day to highlight Supporting People service]]> People affected by substance misuse in Coventry or alcohol misuse in Warwickshire can find out more about help with their housing issues and increasing independence, as part of an open day being held by Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is inviting residents to a ‘Coffee and muffin morning’ at Swanswell House, Norton Street, Coventry from 10am to 12.30pm on Friday 31 August.

It’s an opportunity to find out more about Swanswell’s Supporting People service, which helps people affected by alcohol or drug misuse maintain their accommodation and become more independent.

Team members will be on hand throughout the morning to answer questions on issues such as benefits, debt, housing, employment and training, utilities, leisure, repairs, budgeting and daily living tasks.

In addition, there will be refreshments, CV writing and job search facilities, home finder registration and bidding, benefits check and information about Swanswell’s services as well as details of how to access other partner agencies.

Jackie Soulier, Operations Manager for Swanswell’s Supporting People service, said: ‘Alcohol and drug misuse can affect people in many ways. Apart from the obvious impact on their health, they can also run into issues with housing, employment and benefits.

Swanswell’s Supporting People service offers advice around these issues to help make it easier for them to build their independence and get their lives back on track.

Our open day is an opportunity for people who have not accessed our services before to get the help they need, so they can change and be happy.’

Details of Swanswell's Supporting People service in Coventry and Warwickshire are available here.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Supporting-People-open-day.aspx Thu, 09 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell helps inspire young people in Coventry]]> Swanswell is working with a charity called The Challenge Network as part of a four part programme that inspires young people to do positive work in their communities.

Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is working with a group of 16-year-olds currently undertaking The Challenge programme as part of the wider government scheme, National Citizen Service (NCS).

The Challenge puts young people through a series of individual, team and community tests that help people from different social backgrounds to build friendships while learning key skills including teamwork, leadership and communication.

Swanswell was asked by the charity to talk to a group of 16-year-olds last month, providing information about the hazards of alcohol and drug misuse.

It comes ahead of a session in September, when the young people will spend the day volunteering at Swanswell as part of the social action component of the programme. 

The day will include them using computer game-based technology to help people overcome addictive behaviour.

The team will also spend other weekends in September carrying out two unique community projects they have designed, including a sponsored activity to raise funds for Swanswell and a project that addresses an issue within their local area.

Liam North, Swanswell’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate and project lead, said: ‘The Challenge Network approached us to work with a group of young people as part of a programme that helps them build and develop trust, responsibility, understanding and empathy within communities.

It’s something we’re keen to promote too as alcohol and drug misuse can affect any community – whether that’s someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, other family member or friend.

The young people working with us through this project will have the opportunity to take what they’ve learnt and put it to good use by challenging negative stereotypes and building strong relationships in their local communities.’

Kelly O’Connor, Assistant Programme Manager for the Challenge Network, said: ‘These young people volunteer their time to work with us in their summer, it’s an extremely rewarding experience for challengers and staff. This is when we see young people really find their voice with in their community’.

To find out more about Swanswell including the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/challenge-network-help.aspx Mon, 06 Aug 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell says survey shows need for clearer alcohol advice]]> News that only one third of people pay any attention to the strength of alcohol drunk at home highlights the need for clearer information, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of a survey from Market researchers Mintel which has found only 29% of people look at how much alcohol is in their drink at home

The study found that younger people were more likely to check the percentage though with 38% of 18 to 24-year-olds checking the strength, compared to 27 per cent of 25 to 64-year-olds.

But the market researchers said that this will probably be because young people are likely to drink more or want stronger drinks because they want to get drunk quicker.

It also found, overall, that fewer people are drinking at home – falling from 75% to 71% between 2009 and 2011. The frequency of drinking at home also reduced with those drinking up to three times a week dropping from 46% in 2006 to 41% in 2011.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The results of the survey today aren’t surprising but are a clear indication that the information already out there about alcohol is not working.

There’s lots of mixed messaging about alcohol use, so it’s often difficult for people to filter through the important advice. Even when they do, it’s often confusing or as this survey suggests, people just don’t pay attention to it.

So we think there needs to be more clear, independent information about the hazards of drinking too much available at the point of sale - supermarkets and off-licences for example - to help people to make informed choices about how much they have.

However, there was some good news in the survey – fewer people are drinking at home and less often but that seems to be down to the recession, rather than them making a conscious decision because of the risks.

Tackling alcohol misuse is something no single government or organisation can do on its own – we all have a part to play.’

To find out more about Swanswell and the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/clearer-alcohol-advice.aspx Fri, 20 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes new MP report into alcohol strategy]]> Swanswell’s welcoming a new report from a cross-party group of MPs calling for tougher alcohol advertising rules and more focus on the longer term effects of drinking too much.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to today’s report from the House of Commons Health Select Committee which reviewed the government’s alcohol strategy for England.

Although the committee welcomed the strategy, it said the drinks industry was still not doing enough to tackle problem alcohol use and that there was too much focus on binge drinking, rather than the longer term effects.

It also highlighted that the strategy needed some clear, quantified alcohol–specific objectives to provide a framework for future policy and for accountability.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s report is a clear indication that the new alcohol strategy doesn’t go far enough to tackle what is a growing problem.

We agree that much of the strategy’s focus is on binge drinking and the more obvious problems associated with alcohol misuse such as anti-social behaviour.

But it doesn’t hit the mark when it comes to tackling the problems associated with chronic alcohol misuse and the increased risk of long term health issues such as cancer or pancreatitis.’

The health committee also concluded that the alcohol industry needs to acknowledge that its advertising messages do have an effect on attitudes to alcohol and that the rules on advertising should be re-examined.

Debbie added: ‘We know the alcohol industry spends around £800 million a year on the promotion of alcohol, yet the government spends only around £17 million on alcohol education.

There are so many mixed messages around alcohol misuse – something the report picks up on, so it’s time we think about clear messages and information around alcohol and health.

This would help people make their own better informed choices about their alcohol use and would reduce some of the cost to the NHS - which is currently around £2.7 billion a year or about 3% of the whole NHS budget - of treating alcohol-related health issues.

Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government or organisation can do on its own – we all have a part to play.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/alcohol-strategy-mp-report.aspx Thu, 19 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell project turns Barnsley in to Yarnsley]]> Some of Barnsley’s well-known landmarks have received woolly makeovers to raise awareness of the support available for the carers of people affected by substance misuse.

Brightly coloured, knitted banners saying ‘Recovery for families too’ have been appearing around the town including Mandela Gardens and the Rotary Shelter, over the last week as part of a yarnbombing exercise to highlight Swanswell’s carer support service.

It’s part of Barnsley’s integrated treatment system, offering emotional and practical support from financial advice regarding carers allowance applications to help with understanding their loved one’s treatment.

The service, based at Henry Windsor House on Pitt Street, also gives carers the opportunity to live their own lives, providing a range of activities such as days out, and art and craft workshops, which is where the yarnbombing idea started out.

With permission from the owners of the landmarks and buildings, carers and team members from Swanswell have been decorating shelters, trees and other public areas with yarn to get people talking about the importance of support for carers.

The team also took part in the Mayor’s parade in Barnsley town centre last weekend (14 July 2012), providing information about the carers support service. 

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s carer support service, said: ‘We’ve been delighted with the response to our campaign to raise awareness of the help and advice for carers of loved ones affected by alcohol or drug misuse.

Caring for a loved one in these circumstances can be a very isolating experience and many don’t know where to turn for help, so we’ve come up with an eye-catching way of letting people know that we’re here.

Our ‘recovery for families too’ banner highlights that it’s not only the person misusing alcohol or drugs who needs recovery, their family also needs to recover from the negative impact substance misuse has had on them and their loved ones.

We can help with a range of issues and can talk through their loved one’s treatment through to recovery, something we think is important for families to do too.’

Swanswell’s carer support service is also looking for donations of knitting needles or wool as part of the project.

Jeni added: ‘If anyone has any spare wool they’d like to give to us, we’d be very grateful. We need to get as much as we can find for a very special project later this year but we’ll reveal more about that soon.’

If you have spare wool or knitting needles that you wish to donate to Swanswell's carer support service, visit our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/turning-barnsley-into-yarnsley.aspx Tue, 17 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell remembers those affected by substance misuse around the world]]> Swanswell’s joining hundreds of thousands of people around the world on 21 July to remember those who have died as a result of substance misuse.

International Remembrance Day is an annual event first organised in Germany in 1998 to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives because of drugs and alcohol, and to celebrate those lives that have been saved by treatment.

Now, events are also held in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and the UK. Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has actively marked this day since 2009.

During July, Swanswell is giving clients the opportunity to leave messages in a book of remembrance, take a candle home to light in memory of someone they’ve lost, and take safety and harm reduction information to pass on to others.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘International Remembrance Day is an important time to stop and think about the countless lives that have been lost because of alcohol and drug misuse.

It’s also a time to reflect on what we’re trying to achieve – a world free from problem alcohol and drug use – so that someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, other relative or friend isn’t taken away by something that can be turned around.

Finally, it’s an important opportunity for those worried about substance misuse to take the first step and get help from organisations such as Swanswell, so they can begin to change and be happy.’

To find out more about Swanswell and the services it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/remembrance-day.aspx Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Using alcohol for stress relief is putting health at risk, warns Swanswell]]> People who are regularly turning to alcohol to help them relax after a stressful day are only masking their problems and putting their health at risk, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a new survey from Drinkaware, which has found that almost two-thirds of people aged 30 to 45 drink alcohol to unwind.

About 60% of the 2,000 people questioned blamed work for their stress levels while half blamed financial pressures. More than a third of people cited family life among the reasons why they were stressed.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The results of today’s survey from Drinkaware aren’t surprising but highlight how easily problems with alcohol can develop.

Alcohol is often used to mask the reasons why people are stressed. It’s a depressant, so it’ll only make you feel worse in the long term if you continue to drink regularly or to excess. It’s not like vegetables, you don’t need your five-a-day.

It’s important to address the underlying causes of stress – look at your work-life balance, discuss any family issues or consider tackling financial worries for example. After all, regular or excessive drinking will only add to those stresses over time.

However, if you can’t get through a day without drinking a couple of glasses of wine with your dinner or a few pints of lager every night after work, or maybe more, it’s time to think about the impact it’s having on your health and wellbeing.

Ultimately there needs to be a big shift in society’s view about alcohol and how it’s often promoted as a way to enjoy yourself. It’s not something any government or organisation can do on its own, we all have a responsibility to tackle alcohol misuse.’

To find out more about Swanswell including the service it provides, visit www.swanswell.org.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/using-alcohol.aspx Fri, 06 Jul 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell awarded £1.5 million contract by local Probation Trusts]]> Swanswell will be helping even more people overcome drug and alcohol misuse after being awarded a contract worth up to £1.5 million to provide criminal justice Accredited Programmes in Staffordshire and the West Midlands, and Warwickshire.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be working on behalf of Staffordshire and West Midlands, and Warwickshire Probation Trusts to deliver short courses that offenders attend as part of their sentence.

Swanswell will deliver a number of Accredited Programmes that tackle substance misuse in Coventry, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country,Stoke-on-Trentand Staffordshire for at least the next three years from 1 October 2012.

Courses include the Drink Impaired Drivers’ Programme (DIDP), Offender Substance Abuse Programme (OSAP) and Low Intensity Alcohol Programme (LIAP), and will be delivered from locations within the community.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve been delivering these programmes very successfully in Coventry and Warwickshire for quite some time now, so we’re delighted to get the opportunity to make them available to even more people.

Education plays a big part in helping people understand the risks of alcohol and drug misuse. For example, people attending our Drink Impaired Drivers programme often tell us they wouldn’t have got behind the wheel after a drink, if they’d have known the risks.

Accredited Programmes such as these help reduce the risk of someone reoffending, helping improve local communities while giving people the chance to turn their lives around for the better.’

Ged Bates, Director of Operations for Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation, said: ‘I am delighted that our work with Swanswell has been extended across Staffordshire and the West Midlands. Offenders often lead chaotic lives and it is vital they are given a chance to reform.

By addressing the reasons behind drug and alcohol misuse, programmes like this can help to cut reoffending and better protect the public.’

Liz Stafford, Chief Executive of Warwickshire Probation Trust, said: ‘Warwickshire Probation Trust looks forward to a further period of collaborative working with Swanswell building upon a very successful relationship established over several years.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/new-ap-contract-west-midlands.aspx Thu, 21 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[‘Moderate drinking ‘safe’ during pregnancy’ adds to confusion, says Swanswell]]> News that moderate drinking in early pregnancy has been branded as ‘safe’ by scientists is adding to the confusion around alcohol use, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to Danish research, published by the BJOG journal (covered on BBC News), suggesting having one to eight alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy was not linked to harm.

Researchers found that low to moderate drinking – defined in this study as between one and eight drinks per week – during early pregnancy had no significant effect on the neurodevelopment of children at the age of five and neither did binge drinking.

In the UK, women are advised not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy, although those who do should drink no more than one or two units, once or twice a week.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s just another example of the mixed messaging around alcohol misuse.

There is already a bewildering amount of advice out there for expectant mothers – they have enough to deal with without worrying about how much alcohol they can ‘safely’ consume.

Research suggests that drinking alcohol to excess during pregnancy can lead to a number of complications such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – a range of conditions in children caused by excessive exposure to alcohol in the womb.

There’s also an increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight – all of which adds to the need for clearer information to help expectant mothers make their own decision about whether to drink or not.

But the government and public bodies have a duty to keep it clear and simple – if you want to avoid risking the health of your child, don’t drink when pregnant.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Moderate-drinking-safe-during-pregnancy-adds-to-confusion.aspx Wed, 20 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Support for hidden carers vital says substance misuse charity Swanswell]]> Supporting carers of friends and family affected by alcohol or drug misuse is vital for their own health and wellbeing, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is lending its voice alongside thousands of other organisations across the country to support ‘Carers Week – In sickness and in health’ (18 to 24 June 2012).

Carers Week is a national campaign recognising and celebrating the contribution that the UK’s six million carers make to the lives of millions of people. This year, focus is on how the health and wellbeing of carers is paramount.

It’s also an opportunity to identify hidden carers – those people who may not even realise how important their often unrecognised role is – and to highlight the support available to reduce the impact it has on their own life.

About ten percent of the UK population are carers and Swanswell knows that people who help friends or relatives affected by drug and/or alcohol misuse are among those unsung heroes within the community.

Caring for someone with a substance misuse problem can be a very worrying and isolating experience for many people, who don’t know where to go for help.

In Barnsley, Swanswell operates a carers support service as part of the integrated treatment system. It offers emotional and practical support for carers ranging from financial advice regarding carers allowance applications to emotional support, and help with understanding their loved one’s treatment and recovery.

Jeni Upperdine, Senior Practitioner at Swanswell’s carer support service in Barnsley, said: ‘Carers often tell us how isolating and emotionally difficult an experience it can be trying to look after a loved one affected by drug or alcohol misuse, especially if they don’t know who they can turn to.

Swanswell’s carer support service provides much needed help for these unsung heroes, who often sacrifice leading their own lives to make sure their friend or relative can get through their difficulties.

We offer advice, information and a place for carers to take time out to do the things they want to do with people in the same position as them – and it really can make a difference to their lives.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/carers-week-june12.aspx Wed, 13 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to offer vital telephone support over Jubilee bank holiday]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support to people affected by substance misuse in Sandwell, Birmingham, Barnsley, Leicestershire and Rutland over the Jubilee bank holiday.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, recognises that bank holidays can be a particularly difficult time for many clients who are trying to overcome issues with alcohol or drugs.

So Swanswell’s running a special bank holiday service for its clients in Sandwell, Birmingham, Leicestershire and Rutland – as well as carers of friends or relatives affected by substance misuse in Barnsley - offering telephone support and information on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June 2012.

Clients will be able to speak to Swanswell staff over the phone between 9am and 5pm each day by calling 0300 303 5000 (this number is for the bank holiday service only – please use the usual contact details for Swanswell during normal opening hours).

In addition, Swanswell’s offering a bank holiday open access drop in service at its Coalville office (High Street) for people needing to talk to a worker face-to-face, operating on Monday 4 June 2012 between 9am and 4.30pm.

Swanswell’s services will be open as usual from Wednesday 6 June 2012.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know bank holiday periods are often difficult for clients affected by drug and alcohol misuse, so we’re one of only a few organisations to offer this support when others are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to ensuring people continue to have the opportunity to change and be happy.’

Swanswell’s been offering additional support to clients over bank holiday periods since 2011.]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-jubilee-support.aspx Thu, 31 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Reductions to drinking limits should be realistic, says Swanswell]]> Calls for the government’s ‘safe’ drinking guidelines to be revised downwards are being welcomed but should be realistic, says Swanswell.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news this week that a group of researchers are recommending daily drinking limits should be reduced to nearer half a unit of alcohol.

Currently, the government advises drinking no more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day for women and no more than 3-4 units for men – although this is set to be reviewed as part of the 2012 Alcohol Strategy.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We certainly welcome any attempt to reduce alcohol-related harm and a review of the government’s daily recommended limit is needed.

However, reducing the current guidelines to around half a unit per day would be hard to achieve. It’s difficult enough for people to understand how to work out how many units they’ve had without making things more complicated.

Many still believe that by saving their week’s worth of daily units for the weekend, they’ll be drinking within safe guidelines – they won’t and it’s likely this problem would still continue and advice ignored if a reduced limit wasn’t realistic.

Alcohol isn’t like vegetables – you don’t need to have a minimum amount every day. Yet there are so many mixed messages out there about alcohol use and this will only add to the confusion.

In order to reduce the harm, there needs to be more focus on alcohol education to ensure people understand the risks of drinking regularly or to excess, so they can make their own informed decisions about their alcohol use.

There also needs to be more investment in good quality services that can offer support for people affected by alcohol misuse. Ultimately, tackling alcohol misuse is everyone’s responsibility.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Drinking-limit-reductions-should-be-realistic.aspx Thu, 31 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[England and Wales should follow Scottish drink-drive limit reduction, says Swanswell]]> The drink-driving limit in England and Wales should be lowered in line with Scotland and Ireland according to Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news that the Scottish government is set to introduce a limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, instead of 80mg per 100ml as it is currently.

Ireland lowered the limits last year to the same level (50mg per 100ml of blood) but reduced it even further for learner drivers, newly qualified drivers and professional drivers (from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 20mg per 100ml of blood).            

It’s thought Northern Ireland could follow suit with new legislation to introduce lower limits later this year.

However, the drink-drive limit in England and Wales is not expected to fall from its current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased to see Scotland reduce the drink-drive limit in line with Ireland and parts of Europe but England and Wales is falling behind.

It’s difficult enough for people to understand what the limit actually means in terms of the legal maximum people are allowed to drink before getting behind the wheel, so it’s going to be even more confusing if it differs between countries in the United Kingdom.

Ultimately, although reductions such as this are a step in the right direction, there is no safe limit for the amount of alcohol you can drink before driving – any amount can affect judgement and the ability to drive safely.

So the only way you can be sure you’re not over the limit and posing a risk to yourself and others, is to not drive after drinking.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/England-Wales-follow-drinkdrive-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 28 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol and drug-related deaths increase a ‘wake-up call’ says Swanswell]]> A 15% increase in the number of alcohol and drug-related deaths in England should be a wake-up call, according to Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today (16 April), that report avoidable deaths in England and Wales in 2010.

According to the ONS, there were 6,396 deaths linked to drug use disorders (alcohol-related diseases or illicit drug use) in England in 2010, compared to 5,572 in 2001 – an increase of 15%.

In Wales, the number of alcohol or drug-related deaths between 2001 and 2010 has increased by 31% from 380 in 2001 to 496 in 2010.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s figures are very concerning and should be a wake-up call to society.

‘Deaths from drug or alcohol-related causes are preventable, so we need to urgently look at why more people are dying from substance misuse, than in 2001.

Alcohol and drug misuse is something no single government or organisation can tackle on its own – it’s something we must all have a part in, whether that’s educating others or taking responsibility for our own use.

We recognise that efforts such as the introduction of minimum pricing are a step in the right direction but that alone won’t make too much of a difference – promotion, where alcohol is placed and the product itself should all be considered too.

Ultimately, better education and good quality support are key to helping people understand the risks associated with alcohol and drug misuse, so it’s vital there’s consideration for increased funding to make this happen.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/alcohol-drug-deaths-wake-up.aspx Wed, 16 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol and drug awareness should be in driving test, says Swanswell]]> Drink and drug awareness education should be included in all new driving theory tests according to a national charity.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes it’s important for people to understand all risks associated with being on the road, including the dangers of driving under the influence.

It comes as the Queen is due to announce government plans today (9 May 2012) to make drug-driving a specific offence with a fine and potential jail term for people caught by police, following roadside testing - mirroring that already carried out for drink-driving.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s estimated that just under one in six road deaths (17 per cent) were in drink-drive accidents (2009) – it’s a shocking figure that alone highlights the need for better education.

Driving tests check a person’s ability to be competent on the road but they don’t deal with some of the other factors, such as alcohol or drugs, that could influence someone’s ability to achieve that.

Alcohol and drugs affect people in different ways but no matter how small an amount you might have, judgement is affected and the risk of causing serious injury or even death is very real.

People often tell us after attending our Drink Impaired Driver’s programmes that they would never have got behind the wheel after drinking, if they had known the risks – that’s a good enough reason to introduce awareness education in to the theory test.

So while we welcome plans to bring in roadside testing for drug-driving in line with that for testing for alcohol, Swanswell believes there should also be a bigger focus on reducing the risk of it happening in the first place – through better driver education.

Ultimately, the only way you can be sure that you’re not over the legal limit is not to drink alcohol or take drugs if you’re getting behind the wheel. It’s really not worth it.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/drug-awareness-driving-test.aspx Wed, 09 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Orange sponsors national charity’s new football kit]]> Orange has pledged support to Swanswell’s football team by sponsoring a new kit ahead of a special tournament next week.

The telecommunications company has paid for new shirts, shorts and socks, which means the team – whose players include service users and team members from the national charity – will look the part for many seasons to come.

Swanswell’s first game in the new kit will be a five-a-side tournament involving teams from a number of organisations working with people affected by alcohol or drugs misuse in Birmingham.

It’s been organised by Changes UK and will take place on Friday 11 May 2012 between 11am and 4.30pm at Power League on Sedgemere Road in Yardley.

Trevor Bedford, Operations Manager for Swanswell in Birmingham, said: ‘The health and social benefits of playing team games like this really make a difference to people on their journey towards recovery from alcohol or drug misuse.

With that in mind, we’re delighted that Orange have been able to sponsor our new kit, giving people an added incentive to do well and feel well.

There’s always a great atmosphere at this tournament – we’re always really encouraged by the interest and support from our service users and staff every year. Whatever the result, it will be a thoroughly enjoyable day.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/orange-sponsors-swanswellfc.aspx Fri, 04 May 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to offer vital telephone support over May bank holiday]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support to people affected by substance misuse in Sandwell, Birmingham, Barnsley, Leicestershire and Rutland over the early May bank holiday.

Swanswell, a national national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, recognises that it can be a particularly difficult time for many clients who are trying to overcome issues with alcohol or drugs.

So Swanswell’s running a special bank holiday service for its clients in Sandwell, Birmingham, Leicestershire and Rutland – as well as carers of friends or relatives affected by substance misuse in Barnsley - offering telephone support and information on Monday 7 May 2012.

Clients will be able to speak to Swanswell staff over the phone between 9am and 5pm each day by calling 0300 303 5000 (this number is for the bank holiday service only – please use the usual contact details for Swanswell during normal opening hours).

Swanswell’s services will be open as usual from Tuesday 8 May.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know bank holiday periods are often difficult for clients affected by drug and alcohol misuse, so we’re one of only a few organisations to offer this support when others are closed.

It’s part of Swanswell’s commitment to ensuring people continue to have the opportunity to change and be happy.’

Swanswell’s been offering additional support to clients over bank holiday periods since 2011. Over Christmas 2011 and Easter 2012 alone, 32 calls were received from clients and hospital staff needing help or information.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-offers-May-bank-holiday-support.aspx Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Final preparations for Swanswell’s London Marathon runner]]> There’s less than a week to go before Swanswell team member Ian MacKenzie joins over 35,000 runners for the Virgin London Marathon.

The Senior Practitioner from Birmingham is doing his final preparations ahead of the 26.4 mile run around the capital on Sunday 22 April 2012.

Ian’s hoping to raise around £1,000 to help Swanswell - a national charity which helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour – achieve its ambition for a society free from problem alcohol and drug use.

In the build up to the marathon Ian’s been running around 40 miles a week, including several 20-mile sessions. Ian also bagged his personal best for a half marathon last month, finishing the course in 1 hour 47 minutes.

He said: ‘It’s been a pretty intense winter of training but I’m really looking forward to the big day on Sunday.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve cut down my running to no more than 20 miles a week to make sure I’m not tired out for the race (tapering), so I’m hopeful all of this training has paid off and I complete the course in good time.’

It’ll be the first time that Swanswell and Ian have taken part in the annual event, which passes many of London’s landmarks including Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.

Ian added: ‘I hope the London Marathon will highlight the similarities of an individual’s journey through recovery from alcohol or drug misuse.’

In 2010/11, Swanswell invested over £4.4 million in alcohol and drug treatment, helping more than 7,000 people using face-to-face support and over 90,000 people through online clinics at Netmums.

For every £1 spent on alcohol treatment, £5 can be saved for the UK economy. For every £1 spent on drug treatment, £2.50 can be saved.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Final-preperations-for-Swanswell-runner.aspx Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Online clinic to offer help for people affected by alcohol and drug use]]> Men concerned about their alcohol or drug use will be able to get online help from Swanswell at a special clinic being held next week.

On Monday 16 April 2012, the national charity will guest host on Pfizer’s Man MOT (Monday Opportunity to Talk) to offer advice and information about a range of alcohol or drug-related issues in a confidential, one-to-one online chat.

One of Swanswell’s specially trained staff will be available during the online clinic between 6pm and 10pm to respond to specific questions or to give advice – whether it’s their own concerns about their  alcohol or drug use, or someone else’s.

As part of the usual Man MOT clinics, visitors will have access to fully qualified GPs, who will be able to chat confidentially about other health concerns and general information.

It’s the second time Swanswell has offered the service to visitors of Man MOT, following a similar online clinic during Alcohol Awareness Week in October 2011.

Sarah Brighton, Swanswell’s Business Development Manager, is leading on the project for the national charity.

She said: ‘Statistics tell us that men are far less likely to go to their GP about any health concerns than women, so we’ve joined with Man MOT again to offer easy access to help for anyone worried about either their alcohol or drug use, or that of someone else.

People don’t often realise there is a problem or they’re too embarrassed to come forward for advice but it’s important to stress that alcohol or drug misuse can affect anyone and there’s no need to feel ashamed about asking for help.

Just talking to someone from an organisation such as Swanswell can make a big difference and will help you understand your next steps, so you can begin to change and be happy.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-man-mot-clinic.aspx Tue, 10 Apr 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes Dame Fiona Caldicott]]> Dame Fiona Caldicott has been given an insight in to how Swanswell helps people change and be happy.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, invited the author of the Caldicott Report – a review into how patient information was used in the NHS in England and Wales – to visit its head office in Rugby.            

Dame Fiona is the originator of ‘Caldicott Guardians’, who are responsible in every NHS and local authority organisation for making decisions about sharing identifiable information.

On Tuesday 27 March, Dame Fiona had the opportunity to hear first hand from some of the people that Swanswell has helped to turn their lives around.

In addition, Dame Fiona learned about a number of exciting projects including Swanswell’s Reducing Drug-Related Offending programme and read about the charity’s strict clinical governance procedures among other examples of good practice.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted that Dame Fiona visited Swanswell to hear about our innovative services and to understand what we’re doing to ensure our clients receive the high quality care they deserve.

Dame Fiona was impressed with how seriously Swanswell takes its responsibility for ensuring client information is kept confidential and where information does need to be shared for effective treatment, that appropriate policies and procedures are in place.’

Speaking about her visit, Dame Fiona added: ‘I was most impressed by what I’ve heard. Swanswell does a lot of very good work.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-Dame-Caldicott.aspx Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[No quick fix for alcohol misuse says Swanswell, as government launches new alcohol strategy]]> Tackling alcohol-related harm is everyone’s responsibility and not something the government can deal with on its own, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the government’s new Alcohol Strategy, released today (Friday 23 March 2012).

A minimum price of 40 pence per unit of alcohol, stricter advertising rules and reviewing alcohol guidelines are some of the proposals announced in a strategy regarded as ‘the biggest health intervention since the Labour government’s smoking ban’.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We certainly welcome today’s strategy as a serious attempt to steer society away from alcohol misuse; it’s a case of seeing what action comes from this moving forward.

Minimum pricing is only one aspect of tackling how accessible alcohol is, so we’re welcoming a proposed government consultation on ending multi-buy deals too but it needs to go further by considering other marketing aspects such as place and the product itself.

The strategy also recognises the importance of support for parents who have an influential role in their children’s lives, especially when it comes to alcohol, and promises guidance will be available through a number of community organisations.

‘Netmums is one of those mentioned and is one of the sites we already work closely with to provide alcohol and drug misuse advice and information.

Measures detailed in the strategy are of course welcome but society has to accept responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse too – it’s not something any government can tackle on its own and there’s no quick fix.

If everyone did their bit, it would make a huge difference – it doesn’t have to be big, step changes, just little ones.

Think about whether you should buy more alcohol that you actually need just because it’s on offer or whether having a couple of drinks every night after work is such a good idea.

‘Better education, clearer messaging and more investment in services such as those provided by Swanswell are also positive ways to help create a world free from problem alcohol – and drug – use, something we can only achieve by working together.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/alcohol-strategy-is-no-quick-fix.aspx Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell goes the extra mile for Sports Relief]]> Swanswell’s gone the extra mile for Sports Relief after taking part in a big gym challenge involving running, rowing and cycling.

Nine team members from the national charity put their fitness to the test by doing the equivalent of 44 miles between them during a fundraising session at Virgin Active in Rugby on Friday 23 March 2012.

After being set an initial target of 33 miles (the distance from Swanswell’s head office in Rugby to its office in Birmingham), the head office team managed an additional 11 miles, taking less than an hour to complete the challenge.

Stuart Goodwin was one of Swanswell’s team members who took part. He said: ‘It was a tough morning, especially for those of us who hadn’t stepped in to a gym for a while, but very enjoyable and well worth taking part.

We’d like to thank the staff at Virgin Active for helping us achieve our challenge and we’re delighted with the support we’ve had in raising money for Sport Relief.’

But Swanswell hasn’t stopped there. Team members across the charity took part in a special quiz; found other interesting ways to do the Sport Relief mile; and next week, will be taking part in a special Zumba class in Birmingham to raise even more money.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re a charity too so we know how much of a difference support like this can make to the lives of thousands of people and that’s why we get involved in raising money for events such as Sport Relief.

It also shows how our team members will go the extra mile to help people change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-goes-extra-mile-sports-relief.aspx Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Rise in liver disease deaths should be wake-up call says Swanswell]]> New figures highlighting alcohol as a major cause of a 25 per cent increase in deaths from liver disease in less than a decade, should be a major wake-up call says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a new report from the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network.

It warns that victims of liver disease are getting younger with increasing numbers of deaths among people in their forties. The report said deaths rose from 9,231 in 2001 to 11,575 in 2009 – around 60% of which were men and 90% of them were under 70 (reported in the Guardian).

Obesity and hepatitis are some of the other major causes thought to be behind the increase according to the report.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s report should act as a strong message for people to reconsider how much they’re drinking and how often.

‘Many don’t realise that even having a large glass of wine or pint of strong lager every night could be as damaging over time as binge drinking, and lead to lasting health problems.

However it’s not surprising – in December we heard of a 60% rise in cases of alcoholic liver disease in young people over seven years3.

Although there’s set to be a minimum price for alcohol making it more expensive, that alone won’t reduce the number of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths which could be preventable.

Society needs to accept that everyone has a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse and no individual government or organisation can do it on its own.              

People need clear information about the harms associated with alcohol, so they can make informed decisions about their own alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Liver-disease-deaths-rise-wake-up.aspx Thu, 22 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell virtual therapy paper wins national prize]]> A Swanswell-led paper investigating how virtual therapies could help people overcome drug and alcohol misuse has received national recognition after picking up an academic prize.

‘The use of computer game technology in the treatment of addiction’1 was submitted to the Interactive Technologies and Games: Education, Health and Disability conference (ITAG 2011) at Nottingham Trent University last November.

It’s written by Liam North – a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate working with Swanswell and the University of Reading to explore the use of computer-based games to help in the development of coping skills and to reduce craving for illicit drugs and alcohol.

The paper highlights the outcomes of various studies and the national charity’s own research with people affected by substance misuse, as well as details of interactive software being developed by the team to provide more innovative treatment in existing services.

It was submitted to the ITAG 2011 conference as part of a demonstration of the computer game-based intervention and has just been awarded the ‘best student paper’ prize, after being judged by a committee of experts.

The technology involves a client using a virtual reality headset to access a number of computer-generated scenes that allow them to make decisions, which lead to more events as the scene unfolds.

People using the technology can then ‘move’ between the scenes, which include a domestic scene with drug and alcohol-related cues, a street scene featuring phone boxes, discarded drink cans and drug paraphernalia, and a bar scene.            

Liam said: ‘There’s lots of promising evidence out there for the use of computer game-based therapies, so we’re delighted that our paper has been recognised by academic experts.

Swanswell believes virtual therapies such as this can play a big part in the treatment and recovery of people affected by substance misuse in the future, helping them change and be happy in innovative ways.’

Dr Faustina Hwang from the University of Reading, one of the Academic Supervisors for the project, said: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement for Liam to win the best student paper award and we are delighted that his work has been recognised by the conference in this way

There is real potential for this type of technology to change the way that drug and alcohol treatment is delivered, so we’re very excited about where the work is going and the benefits it could bring to clients.

References

       1. L North, F Hwang, A Haffegee, P M Sharkey, C Robinson, The Use of Computer Game Technology in the Treatment of Addiction,
           Interactive Technologies and Games: Education, Health and Disability
, Nottingham, UK, Oct. 25-26, 2011

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-wins-virtual-therapy-prize.aspx Thu, 22 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New figures show treatment key to reducing drug-related offending]]> Swanswell’s welcoming new research showing the number of crimes committed by known drug-dependent offenders has fallen by almost half, following completion of successful treatment.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is encouraged by the results of  a new study, released by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) today (19 March 2012).

Researchers compared data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) with conviction rates from the Police National Computer for almost 20,000 known offenders, who started treatment in 2006-07.

They then looked at the differences in conviction rates between the two years before entering treatment and the two years after.

Convictions reduced by up to 48% for those who completed treatment successfully after at least six months or who were retained, the study found.

Swanswell’s developed a programme which has achieved similar results. The Reducing Drug-Related Offending programme is an innovative 12-session programme to reduce drug use and related offending behaviour.

It followed a pilot which involved 360 people with drug misuse problems in Birmingham, including prolific offenders, who had been referred in to treatment through the criminal justice system.

Structured one-to-one sessions cover a range of topics such as triggers of offending, how to avoid a risky situation, drug education and harm reduction.

Swanswell’s pilot has achieved impressive results – the amount of money participants spent on illegal drugs fell by 71% compared to before they had treatment. In addition, just over 15% of people completed the treatment drug free (Swanswell Impact Report, 2011).

With estimated annual costs of drug-related crime in England and Wales totalling £15.4 billion (Gordon, L., et al. 2006)1, Swanswell’s programme has the potential to reduce those costs by up to £2.4 billion2, if these figures were mirrored nationally.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome the results of the study today, which show a marked reduction in the number of crimes committed by known drug-dependent offenders, after they’ve received treatment.

Although it’s the person who commits the crime and not the drugs, using illicit substances can be one of the reasons behind the offending.

So if we can work with people to understand and tackle the root cause of drug-related offending, as today’s results and the results of our own programme show, it can make a big difference to people’s lives and those of the community.’

References

    1. Gordon, L., Tinsley, L., Godfrey, C. And Parrott, S. 2006. The economic and social costs of Class A drug use in England and Wales
        2003/04.
In Singleton, N., Murray, R. And Tinsley, L (eds), Measuring different aspects of problem drug use: methodological
        developments
. Home Office Online Report 16/06

    2. A simple estimate of cost savings is based on Swanswell’s pilot result of 15.3% of people completing the programme, case closed, drug
        free. It is assumed here that all of the 15.3% will not commit drug-related crime again. 15.3% of £15.4 billion = £2.4 billion

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/treatment-key-reducing-drug-related-offending.aspx Mon, 19 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Parents and carers role vital in alcohol awareness says Swanswell]]> Parents and carers have a vital role to play in alcohol education says Swanswell, as new research suggests children as young as 10 are more familiar with some drinks brands than they are with popular foods and snacks.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report from Alcohol Concern who surveyed 401 primary school-aged children in Wales to find out how aware they were of alcohol marketing.

Research found that of those questioned, twice as many children recognised Carlsberg as an alcohol brand than those who recognised Mr Kipling cakes as food.

Meanwhile, three-quarters associated the image of fictional characters from the Fosters advert with alcohol, compared to 42% who recognised the Cadbury drumming gorilla as an advert for food (BBC News).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s worrying that children as young as ten are more aware of some alcohol brands and adverts than they are for some popular foods like cake or chocolate.

Although the results highlight a need for more effective controls in alcohol advertising, it also shows a need for better alcohol education in schools and most importantly, at home.

Ultimately it’s up to us as parents or carers to manage the risks of our children’s exposure to these products.

Children are naturally curious, so it’s important we make conversations around alcohol as open and informed as possible .

‘That way, we can ensure they have an early understanding of the potential dangers of alcohol misuse later in life, arming them with enough knowledge to make informed decisions about their drinking when they’re older.’

The report also recognises that alcohol awareness can be influenced by seeing parents and friends drinking as well as marketing.

Debbie added: ‘Parents and friends have a very influential role. In fact, as part of a recent Swanswell survey of 115 adults in treatment with us, we asked when people first began having problems with alcohol.

‘Almost half said they were under 18 and many stated peer pressure or family use as some of the reasons why they started drinking.

‘So if alcohol is readily available in the home and children see you having a drink every evening, they’ll naturally assume it’s the norm and won’t understand the risks.

Just think about how your own drinking might be perceived and look at where your alcohol is stored at home to make sure that it’s not easily accessible.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Parents-carers-role-vital-says-Swanswell.aspx Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell backs calls for better substance misuse carer support]]> Swanswell’s backing research released today calling for better support across the UK for adult carers affected by a family member’s drug misuse.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a new report from the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) which examines existing services available for carers of loved ones affected by drug misuse.

It says there are around 1.4 million adults affected by a loved one’s drug misuse in the UK and the value of the support they provide would cost the equivalent of £747 million if it was delivered by health and social care providers (2008 prices).

Among the findings, the report recognises how vital the support from family members is but highlights the apparent difficulties in identifying those carers and developing robust, integrated services to suit their needs.

Commissioners recognise the importance of working closely with service users for treatment but in Barnsley, they went a step further and worked with Swanswell to develop another service specifically for people looking after relatives affected by drugs or alcohol.

The carer support service has been integrated in to the Barnsley treatment system since 2010, offering emotional and practical support ranging from financial advice regarding carers allowance applications to understanding their loved ones treatment and recovery.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know that caring for someone affected by drugs or alcohol can be a confusing, frustrating and lonely experience, so we welcome today’s report calling for more integrated support for the forgotten carers.

It’s estimated around 1.4 million adults are affected by a loved one’s drug misuse but in many cases, carers don’t come forward for help because they’re worried about the stigma attached to their family member’s drug misuse.

It’s about time the conversation around drugs changed so we can remove this stigma and encourage people to get the help they need to change and be happy, without them feeling they’ve done something wrong.

Swanswell’s carer support service in Barnsley is a great example of how carer support can be integrated into existing treatment services, providing advice and information for relatives who play an essential role in a loved one’s recovery.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-backs-carer-support.aspx Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[New alcohol figures should be wake-up call says Swanswell]]> New figures showing that adults aged over 45 drink more alcohol than those in their teens and early twenties should act as a wake-up call to society, according to Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to details of the Office of National Statistics’ General Lifestyle Survey, released today (8 March 2012).

According to the report, which covers figures from 2010, adults aged 45 and over were three times as likely as those under 45 to drink almost every day.

In addition, it suggests one in five men over 65 admitted to drinking more than 21 units a week, along with almost one in three men aged between 45 and 64 (the Telegraph).

Around one in five women between 45 and 64 drank more than the recommended 14 units per week along with just under one in ten of those over 65, added the report.

However, on average, weekly alcohol consumption decreased from 14.3 units per adult in 2005 to 11.5 units per adult in 2010.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Although these figures aren’t surprising to us, they should act as a wake-up call to people who may not realise how much alcohol they’re drinking.

Even having a large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager every evening can soon mount up and drinking regularly can do as much damage as binge drinking – liver disease is just one of the potential health risks.

Alcohol misuse has serious knock on effects for everyone with increasing numbers of alcohol-related hospital admissions – something we believe could be reduced through Swanswell’s Hospital Liaison Service.             

Ultimately, alcohol misuse can affect anyone and we all need to do our bit to help create a society free from problem alcohol – and drug – use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/New-alcohol-figures-wake-up-says-Swanswell.aspx Thu, 08 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[National charity joins call for dementia to be top world health priority]]> Swanswell’s welcoming calls from a leading expert in dementia to make the condition a top world health priority along with cancer, lung disease, diabetes and chronic heart disease.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme (7 March 2012), Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that due to lack of funding and research into dementia ‘we’re going into the next global health time bomb’.

Swanswell agrees that more needs to be done to tackle the condition and is about to launch a clinical study into the treatment and possible reversal of one increasing form of dementia brought on by problematic, long term drinking.

It’s estimated that up to 90,000 people in the UK could have been misdiagnosed with incurable forms of dementia, when in fact they may be suffering from a form of the condition called alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI), which can potentially be reversed with the right treatment.

ARBI has a range of symptoms, including those related to early onset dementia and includes memory loss, balance problems and irrational behaviour, making diagnosis difficult. The condition is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, first published research in to alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI) in 20101.

There are around 750,000 people with dementia in the UK, and studies suggest that ARBI accounts for between ten and 12 per cent of cases2. This would suggest 75,000 to 90,000 patients could be affected by ARBI.

Swanswell’s developed a model of treatment that it’s trialling as part of three pilot studies beginning next month (April) in the Midlands and South Yorkshire after recently being granted approval from the NHS National Research Ethics Service (NRES).

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, is pleased that the seriousness of dementia is again being recognised.    

She said: ‘Swanswell welcomes calls from Professor Piot to make tackling dementia a top health priority for the World Health Organisation because it’s  a serious, life changing condition.

Not many people are aware that regular heavy drinking can lead to early onset dementia, amongst other problems – it’s a frightening prospect. However, diagnosed early and with the right treatment, the effects can be reversed.

‘Studies show that with treatment, a quarter of people with alcohol related early onset dementia recover completely. Another quarter recover enough to lead independent lives3.

We know of  people as young as 28 presenting with early onset dementia related to their drinking and an increasing number are women, so everyone needs to be aware that this could happen to them. It may already be happening to them or their loved ones.’

For more details of the ARBI clinical trial, please contact Chris Robinson at Swanswell on 01788 559400.

References

1. Swanswell (2010). The development of a multi-disciplinary programme for the treatment of alcohol related brain injury. Advances 
in Dual Diagnoses, Volume 3 Issue 2, May 2010: Peer Professional Ltd

2. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156 635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-
Robinson M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and outcome
London: Imperial College Dementia Research Group

3. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-joins-dementia-calls.aspx Wed, 07 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Calls to tackle binge drinking are ‘welcome small steps’, Swanswell says]]> Swanswell believes fresh calls for the drinks industry, supermarkets and bars to do more to tackle binge drinking are ‘welcome small steps in the right direction’.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that David Cameron is set promise to tackle the ‘scandal’ of drunkenness that costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year.

During a visit to a hospital in north-east England later, the Prime Minister’s also set to suggest the use of US-inspired ‘drunk tanks’ or cells that house people overnight until they sober up.

It’s expected that an increase in the number of police officers on accident and emergency wards is also among the ‘solutions’ being put forward to help tackle alcohol-related harm and the increasing cost to health services.

In the coming months, the government will publish its alcohol strategy for England with higher ‘minimum’ pricing set to be among the proposals.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘The suggestions set to be announced today are welcome small steps in the right direction .

Alcohol-related harm costs society anywhere between £17 billion and £22 billion a year to deal with, of which £2.7 billion is the cost to the NHS.

‘Measures such as these are at least a start in dealing with the short term problem, as long as those who find themselves in ‘drunk tanks’ are offered advice and support to stop drinking, so that they don’t end up back there.

However, binge drinking is only one aspect of alcohol misuse and we hope there will also be solid proposals that tackle problems over the longer term.

Better alcohol education and more investment in treatment services are just two other ways to give people the knowledge and support to understand the effects of alcohol and the harm it causes, so they can make informed decisions about their own drinking.

It’s important to stress that alcohol misuse is not something the government or drinks industry can tackle on its own, we as a society have a part to play, so we must all recognise what we have to do to enjoy a world free from problem alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/binge-drinking-calls-welcome.aspx Wed, 15 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Let’s talk about sex...and wellbeing, Swanswell says]]> Conversations about sex and wellbeing should be as open and easy as possible according to national charity Swanswell, which has developed an innovative way to treat sexual dysfunction.

Many people will know that 14 February is Valentine’s Day but it’s also National Impotence Day, a chance to talk about sexual dysfunction and highlight the help available.

Sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical problems (such as illness or injury), psychological issues or a combination of both, for example anxiety following heart surgery.

Swanswell understands that for some, talking about sexual health can be difficult, so the national charity’s developed a service model to identify and treat sexual dysfunction using screening and simple brief interventions.

Swanswell’s Sex and Wellbeing Model is being designed to be used during the course of other treatment accessed by clients and across a range of healthcare services like doctors’ surgeries, drug and alcohol misuse services and family planning clinics.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Many people find asking for help with sexual health problems difficult because they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about it.

So Swanswell’s designed a model that would allow people to discuss problems in their own time and in familiar surroundings. It helps identify any issues early on and provides access to appropriate treatment quickly,  whether that’s simple interventions or further help through other appropriate health professionals.’

After completing a small scale pilot, Swanswell’s rolled the model out to a larger area of Birmingham– the results of this are due out in the coming months.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Talk-sex-and-wellbeing-urges-Swanswell.aspx Tue, 14 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Good quality treatment key to making ‘sobriety test’ pilot work]]> Swanswell believes that plans to use American-style ‘sobriety tests’ on people convicted of serious drink-related offences will only work, if good quality treatment is offered alongside.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that the Metropolitan police will begin a pilot scheme using a concept first used in the US state of South Dakota.

Sobriety tests will be available as a sentencing option for people convicted of serious drink-related offences such as assault.

Electronic tags will be used to monitor the amount of alcohol in the blood and if alcohol is detected, offenders will swiftly be given a short prison sentence (reported on BBC News). Police hope it’ll act as a strong deterrent against problem alcohol use.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Sometimes it takes a significant event to get a person to seek help and re-arrest may achieve that.

So as long as the pilot scheme includes access to good quality treatment as well as re-arrest, that would be a good thing. Otherwise they’ll fall in to a revolving door of release, re-arrest, release and then re-arrest again – and that won’t work.

If someone’s committed a criminal offence then they’re accountable for their actions – the person commits the crime; alcohol doesn’t. However, it may be a reason behind the offending.

So if they’re serious about getting to the root cause of crime, then they need to tackle the alcohol use alongside the criminal consequences.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Good-quality-treatment-key-to-sobriety-testing.aspx Fri, 10 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell worker to highlight recovery journey at London Marathon]]> Swanswell’s getting in the sporting spirit ahead of the Olympics after being awarded a place in the 2012 London Marathon.

Ian MacKenzie, a Senior Practitioner from Birmingham, will be pounding the streets of the capital for Swanswell – a national charity which helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour – among over 35,000 other runners on 22 April 2012.

He’s hoping to raise at least £1000 towards new developments that help Swanswell achieve its ambition of a society free from problem drug and alcohol use.

In 2010/11, Swanswell invested over £4.4 million in alcohol and drug treatment, helping more than 7,000 people using face-to-face support and over 90,000 people through online clinics at Netmums.

For every £1 spent on alcohol treatment, £5 can be saved for the UK economy. For every £1 spent on drug treatment, £2.50 can be saved.

It’ll be the first time that Swanswell and Ian, who works at the charity’s Birmingham office, have taken part in the yearly event, which passes many of London’s landmarks such as Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.

Although Ian is a seasoned runner, he felt particularly passionate about taking part in this opportunity.

He said: ‘I wanted to run the London Marathon for Swanswell because I think it’s a great metaphor for a person’s journey to recovery from substance misuse.

It can often take a while to make that first step to getting help but once you’ve started on that journey, and with the right support along the way, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Once you’ve crossed the finish line, there’s lots to celebrate and it’s a great time to look back to see what you’ve achieved along the way – much the same as running over 26 miles in the London Marathon.

It’ll be a challenge but one I’m determined to complete and to do so in a good time. There’s lots of winter training involved, some long cold runs ahead, but it will all be worth it in the end.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re thrilled that Swanswell has gained a place in this year’s marathon and we wish Ian all the best with his training ahead of the big day.

Hopefully Ian’s marathon run will inspire many more people to do something that will help themselves and others to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-worker-to-highlight-recovery-journey-at-marathon.aspx Tue, 07 Feb 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Online chat for adult carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse]]> Adult carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse have the chance to get help and support through a special online chat being hosted by Swanswell next week.

The national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will be holding the session with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, offering information and guidance to adults who have a caring responsibility.

The free chat will be available on Wednesday 8 February 2012 between 7pm and 8pm.

A member of the Swanswell team will be available to talk to adult carers who may be worried about their own alcohol or drugs use, or that of the person they are caring for.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We know there around 1.5 million adults in the UK affected by a relative’s drug misuse but many take on the burden of trying to deal with the issues themselves, without getting help.

Often, it’s because the loved ones they’re looking after don’t want others to know about problems they might be facing or they just don’t know where to turn.

So we’ve joined with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers to make it as easy as possible for those carers to get in touch for information and guidance about their own alcohol or drug use, or that of a friend or relative they’re looking after.

We hope the online chat will give people the confidence and information to make the first step, so they can change and be happy.’

Sam Symington, Online Support Manager for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: ‘Our online forums would suggest that there are often issues with adults self-medicating with either prescription or illegal drugs, causing immense difficulties for those caring for them.

We’ve also noticed that alcohol misuse and mental health issues are two other areas that carers are concerned about. However, many people don’t know where to go to get help.

So we’ve organised this session with Swanswell to bring useful information directly to carers, who may not otherwise have come forward.’]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/online-chat-for-adult-carers.aspx Thu, 26 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Young carers raise concerns about over-the-counter drugs use]]> Problematic alcohol use, sensible drinking levels and misuse of over-the-counter painkillers were some of the concerns raised by young carers, as part of a special online chat hosted by Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, joined up with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers on Monday 16 January to offer advice and information about substance misuse to people under 19-years-old, who have a caring responsibility.

A member of the Swanswell team spent time talking to young carers who were worried about their alcohol or drug use, or that of the person they are caring for.        

Among the topics raised was the young carers own use of over-the-counter painkillers.

Danni Manzi, Policy and Development Manager (Young Carers) for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: ‘Young carers were able to get lots of really useful information and advice about a range of subjects but they also raised a few surprising concerns, one of which was about the young people’s use of painkillers.

‘The responsibility of caring for someone can take its toll and this finding reinforced for us the necessity of support for young carers.’

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘We’re really pleased that young carers were able to talk to us so openly, and then we were able to offer useful advice and information or sign post them to further help if necessary’.

It shows how online clinics like ours are a very useful way of talking with people who may not otherwise come forward, or know where to go to get help.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Young-carers-raise-over-counter-drug-use-concerns.aspx Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Online chat for young carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse]]> Young carers worried about alcohol or drug misuse have the chance to get help and support through a special online chat being hosted by Swanswell next week.

Organised jointly with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - will be offering information and advice to people up to 19-years-old who have a caring responsibility.

A member of the Swanswell team will be available to answer questions about the young carer’s own use of alcohol or drugs, or that of the friend or relative they care for.

The free, confidential  chat will be available  at YCNet – www.youngcarers.net – on Monday 16 January 2012 between 4.15pm and 5.30pm.          

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Young people who care for a parent affected by substance misuse often don’t talk to anyone else about it or look for help and support because they’re worried about the stigma attached to such issues.

Also, they’re often told by the person they’re looking after to keep the problem secret, so we’ve joined up with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers to offer them easy access to confidential support that could  make a lot of difference to their life.’  

Danni Manzi, Policy and Development Manager (Young Carers) for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be working with Swanswell as part of this exciting project.

Using an online forum such as ours enables young carers to receive vital support and information that they might not otherwise be able to access.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/online-chat-for-Princess-Royal-Trust-for-carers.aspx Tue, 10 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell urges drinking re-think following report from MPs]]> Swanswell’s welcoming recommendations from a group of MPs for people to have at least two alcohol free days a week – but says it should be an opportunity for everyone to re-think their drinking habits.

Swanswell, a national charity wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to recommendations in a report by the Common’s Science and Technology committee.

It says there are ‘sufficient concerns’ about drinking recommendations and questioned whether the current recommended daily limits of 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women ‘appeared to endorse daily drinking’.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Although the advice to have at least two alcohol free days is not new, we welcome this opportunity to raise awareness of the harms that alcohol can cause.

It’s also a chance for people to stop and  think seriously about how much alcohol they drink and how regular drinking over time can be as dangerous to health as binge drinking.

Alcohol is not like vegetables – you don’t need the equivalent to your five-a-day and there are no clear health benefits from drinking any amount of alcohol.’

The report, released today, also highlights problems when it comes to understanding how many units there are in a drink; something Swanswell raised in October .

We believe units are too confusing and hard to work out – there needs to be a simple, clear message that acts as a guide for safer alcohol use. For example, one or two, once or twice a week.

However, ultimately the decision about how much someone drinks rests with the individual but clear messaging will help people make informed decisions about their alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-urges-drinking-re-think.aspx Mon, 09 Jan 2012 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Charity calls for national debate about tackling alcohol harm]]> Swanswell’s welcoming reports in the papers this morning that minimum pricing is a step closer but believes more can be done to tackle the harm associated with alcohol misuse.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister has ‘ordered officials to develop a scheme in England to stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets’.

Reports suggest the scheme would generate around an extra £700 million a year, of which any extra tax revenue could potentially go to the NHS. 

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s encouraging to see that the Prime Minister is seriously considering this important first step in tackling alcohol-related harm in the new year.

However, minimum pricing is only one aspect that should be considered – after all, society has to take responsibility for tackling the harm alcohol causes too, it’s something much bigger than any government, organisation or individual can do on its own.

With this in mind, we’re calling for a sensible, national debate about the harms of alcohol misuse and discuss the best way to move forward, so we’re not having the same conversation in ten years time.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-national-debate-on-alcohol-harm.aspx Wed, 28 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes new faces to the Board of Trustees]]> Swanswell’s further strengthened its management team after welcoming two new faces to the Board of Trustees.

Leading freelance management consultant and former Political Advisor Seema Malhotra has joined the national charity – which helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour – along with leading financial expert Tom Rutherford.

They have almost 30 years of professional experience between them with particular focus on public policy and the third sector (a profile of both trustees is below).

They have joined an already very experienced Board of Trustees including Chair Mick Wells, Vice Chair Rita Stringfellow and President Dr John Bland.

Mr Wells said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Seema and Tom to our Board of Trustees, and I’m sure they’ll both add a wealth of knowledge to our management team.

Swanswell has a tradition of strong governance and innovative programmes, so their experiences in the private and public sectors will help us build on that even further.

We’re incredibly proud of the dedicated team we have working at Swanswell – from the Board of Trustees to our day-to-day management team and of course frontline and support staff, who all share the same commitment to help people change and be happy.’

The appointments were officially announced at the charity’s general meeting following a short recruitment campaign.

Speaking about her appointment, Seema said: ‘I’m honoured to be joining Swanswell’s Board of Trustees and I’m really looking forward to working with an organisation that constantly works to be at the leading edge of its field.

‘Swanswell’s  commitment to outstanding services and the welfare of its service users is exceptional .

Swanswell is developing some really innovative ways of helping people overcome substance misuse, so I hope I can play my part to help take that forward.’

Tom added: ‘Much of my career has been spent working with charities, so I will bring this experience to the table to help build on the fantastic work Swanswell has already achieved.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-new-trustee-faces-2011.aspx Fri, 16 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to offer vital support over Christmas and New Year]]> Swanswell’s offering vital support to people affected by substance misuse in Leicestershire and Rutland, Sandwell and Birmingham over the Christmas break.

Swanswell - a national charity which which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - recognises that it can be a particularly difficult time for many clients who are trying to overcome issues with alcohol or drugs.

So Swanswell’s running a special service offering telephone support and information over the festive period including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the bank holidays.

Specially trained staff will be able to offer help over the phone between 9am and 5pm from Saturday 24 December to Tuesday 27 December and from Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January . Swanswell’s services will be open as usual at all other times.

In Leicestershire and Rutland, there will also be a special drop-in service at the charity’s Loughborough office from 9.30am to 12pm on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

During the Christmas break, people will be able to contact Swanswell by calling the special helpline number – 0300 303 5000 (please note, this number is for the holiday period only – the usual numbers apply during normal office hours).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The festive season often brings increased pressure for people affected by substance misuse because of Christmas parties and new year celebrations.

‘It’s also a time when relationships can be strained because of the extra time spent with families or the added financial difficulty that this time of the year often brings.

‘So we’re providing much needed support at a time when many other organisations are closed. It means we can continue to help people change and be happy.’

For details of how to get in touch with the nearest Swanswell service to you, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-christmas-support.aspx Thu, 15 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Minimum pricing only one aspect in tackling alcohol misuse says Swanswell]]> Minimum pricing is only one aspect the government should consider to help tackle alcohol-related harm in the UK, according to a national charity.

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes the promotion, placement and the product itself also need serious thought alongside educating people about the risks of regular or excessive drinking.

It’s in reaction to the news this morning that a group of leading doctors and academics have written a letter to the Daily Telegraph to say that Scottish plans for minimum pricing were a ‘simple and effective’ way to tackle alcohol-related deaths (BBC News).     

It comes as government ministers are due to debate alcohol taxation in Parliament later today.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We certainly welcome the letter in the Daily Telegraph this morning, which re-affirms the need to take action on alcohol pricing in the UK.

But why stop there? How alcohol is promoted, where it is placed within a store and the product itself need to be seriously re-considered alongside minimum pricing to begin to make any kind of difference.

In addition, the drinks industry spends around £800 million a year on alcohol advertising. Why can’t a proportion of this go towards alcohol education and information, topping up the government’s annual spend on this of just over £17 million.

However, it’s not something the government should tackle on its own, we all have a responsibility to think about the harm that alcohol causes – society has a part to play too.

Next time you’re in a supermarket for example, think about whether buying that multi-buy drinks deal is actually a good thing or whether you’re just increasing the risk of drinking more than you should.

Maybe spend a few minutes today looking up the effects of regular or excessive drinking, you may be surprised at what you find.

‘There’s a fine line between sensible drinking and alcohol becoming a problem – you can try the alcohol test at www.swanswell.org to give you an idea about your own drinking.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Minimum-pricing-only-one-aspect-in-tackling-alcohol-misuse-says-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s twelve days of Christmas]]> ‘tis the season to be jolly but Swanswell’s encouraging everyone to do that safely.

In December, the amount of alcohol consumed in the UK increases dramatically by 40% (Drinkaware, 2011), as people celebrate during the party season throughout Christmas and New Year but the risk of doing lasting damage increases too.

In the short term, over-doing the amount of alcohol drunk can cause dehydration and temporary memory loss to name just a few of the side effects, but regularly over-doing it can eventually lead to serious problems with health, relationships and work.

So Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has come up with a novel way of helping people stay well over the twelve days of Christmas and beyond.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know there’s a temptation to drink more at this time of year than you usually would because of parties or access to cheaper alcohol through supermarket promotions.

However, during the festivities, people often forget how easy it can be to move from sensible to excessive drinking, and don’t realise the harm that can bring to your life.

So we’ve come up with a different way to remember at least some of the alcohol-related facts that can help you make informed decisions about your drinking and, above all, help you have a safe and happy festive season.’

Swanswell’s twelve days of Christmas
On the first day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you ...a reason to change and be happy.

On the second day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...two recommended daily drinking limits (2-3 units for women and 3-4 units for men, with at least two drink free days per week).

On the third day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...three  ways to get in touch for support (phone, website and email).

On the fourth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...four questions to test your alcohol risk (try our drink check – or FAST test)

On the fifth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...five golden tips for staying safe (see below).

On the sixth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...six alternatives to alcohol (soft drink, water, mocktail, non-alcoholic beer, tea or coffee).

On the seventh day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...food for thought – there’s around 750 calories in four pints of 4% lager (the equivalent to around two cheeseburgers).

On the eighth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...eight thousand reasons not to drink and drive (8,620 road accidents in 2008 happened when a driver was over the legal limit for alcohol – just over 2,000 of whom died or were seriously injured as a result).

On the ninth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...a reminder of how quickly units add up (there’s 9 units in a 750ml bottle of 12% white wine for example).

On the tenth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...ten Swanswell offices across the country where you can contact us (details on our website).

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...a simple way to remember to drink safely (‘one or two, once or twice a week’).

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Swanswell gives to you...best wishes for another 12 happy and safe months.

Five golden tips to staying safe, if you do decide to drink

1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach
2. Plan your night out (where you’re going and how you’ll get home – don’t drink and drive)
3. Avoid buying in rounds (as it’s more difficult to keep an eye on how much you’ve had)
4. Drink plenty of water or soft drinks to rehydrate (make every other drink a non-alcoholic one)
5.Recover (if you do have a big night out, give yourself at least 48 hours before drinking alcohol again)

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/12-days-of-christmas.aspx Tue, 13 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls on supermarkets to end multi-buy promotions]]> Swanswell’s calling on supermarkets in England and Wales to stop encouraging people to buy more alcohol than they otherwise would have, by ending multi-buy promotions.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - is asking retailers to do their bit in tackling alcohol misuse and the associated harm it causes, by taking responsibility for introducing this buying behaviour.

It follows early signs of success in Scotland, where a ban on multi-buy deals has been in force since October. During the first eight weeks, the sale of wine fell by 5%, spirits by 3% and beer by 8% compared with the same period in 2010, according to analysis by Nielsen (reported by BBC News).

In England and Wales during the same eight weeks, sales of wine decreased by 4% and spirits 1% with beer sales increasing by 1%.

As well as banning the sale of multi-buy deals on alcohol, the Alcohol Scotland Act also brings in age verification checks and restricts alcohol advertising around premises.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know there are lots of factors that can affect the sale of alcohol but it’s positive to see sales have fallen in Scotland since the ban was introduced.

It highlights how multi-buy deals can affect our buying behaviour, choosing to buy more alcohol than we actually would otherwise because it’s cheaper. Supermarkets often place these promotions at the front of the store, so you see them as soon as you walk in.

The alcohol industry spends around £800 million pounds a year on alcohol promotion in the UK but in 2009/10 for example, the government spent £17.6 million on alcohol information and education campaigns – the figures don’t add up.

So we’re asking retailers – and the drinks industry - to seriously consider ending such promotions and direct some of that funding to educate people instead about the risks of excessive alcohol consumption.

However, that’s just a first step – we all have to take responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse, it’s not something supermarkets, the drinks industry or the government can do on its own.

Next time you’re at the supermarket or an off-licence, think about whether ‘buy one, get one free’ deals or other multi-buy discounts are actually a good idea or whether you’re just increasing the risk of you drinking more than you should.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-to-end-multibuy-deals.aspx Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes zero drink-drive limit calls]]> Swanswell’s welcoming calls from one of the country’s top Police Officers to introduce a zero drink-drive limit but says driver education is a good place to start.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - is reacting to Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport’s suggestion to ban motorists from drinking any alcohol if they are going to get behind the wheel.

Speaking as the Association of Chief Police Officers launched its Christmas campaign, she said the change would drastically reduce the number of drink-related deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Even small amounts of alcohol can affect someone behind the wheel - working out whether you’re under the current drink-drive limit’s difficult at the best of times, because alcohol affects people in different ways.

Alcohol’s a depressant so it slows down the bodies functions, resulting in slower reaction times when driving. It can also lead to people making riskier decisions, increasing the risk of an accident.

We know that in 2008 for example, 8,620 road accidents happened when a driver was over the legal limit and that 2,020 were killed or seriously injured as a result (Department for Transport, 2008).

Many of those who take part in our drink-impaired drivers programme tell us that they didn’t realise how alcohol could affect their driving and the potential danger they were putting themselves and others in.

So the best way to help keep safe on the road is not to drink at all if you’re getting behind the wheel.

‘We welcome the Deputy Chief Constable’s suggestion and we hope the government will seriously consider this.’

Below are some useful tips to help you ensure you don’t drink-drive:

  • Have a designated driver if you’re planning a night out – someone who won’t drink alcohol on that night so they can drive friends back safely
  • Use public transport and make sure you have a couple of taxi numbers to hand
  • If you are driving, drink soft drinks or zero-alcohol beers
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-zero-drink-drive-limit-calls.aspx Fri, 02 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell prepares to launch new alcohol service in Sandwell]]> Swanswell’s announced further details about its open access, community-based alcohol service launching in Sandwell next week.

Following a competitive tendering process, the national charity has been selected to deliver the service from 1 December 2011 on behalf of the Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT).

Swanswell’s new service will provide advice and support to adults affected by alcohol misuse as well as offering information and support to family members and carers.

It’ll be accessible from Swanswell’s offices at Metro Court, High Street, West Bromwich and will offer a drop-in service Monday to Thursday from 9am to 4pm, Wednesday evenings until 7pm (by appointment only) and Fridays from 1pm to 4pm.

In addition, staff will be available on selected evenings and weekends in community venues across the borough.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been selected for this contract, providing us with an opportunity to help even more people in Sandwell change their lives for the better.

We’ve been working closely with the commissioners and existing services to make sure the transition for clients runs smoothly. In the meantime, clients will continue to receive treatment in the usual way.’

Neil Parkes, Alcohol Strategy Development Manager at the Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: ‘We are looking forward to working with Swanswell to address the needs of those people affected by alcohol misuse across the borough of Sandwell.’

For details of how to get in touch with our alcohol service in Sandwell, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-prepares-alcohol-service-launch-in-Sandwell.aspx Fri, 25 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Are you caring for a loved one’s children and need support?]]> Relatives involved in caring for a loved one’s children because of problems at home are being encouraged to be part of a new support and advocacy group being developed by Swanswell.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse - wants to set up a new group in Coventry and Warwickshire, bringing together grandparents or other relatives in a kinship caring role.

A survey by Grandparents Plus in 2010 suggested there were at least 200,000 grandparent carers in the UK (Saunders, H,. and Selwyn, J,. 2008)1, of which 46% were caring for children because of substance misuse problems affecting their parents (Wellard, S. and Wheatley, B. 2010)2.

Their caring is often done with little support or financial help, so Swanswell wants to find out from them what they want and, with their help, raise the profile of their important caring role both locally and nationally, so they get the recognition they deserve.

Problematic alcohol or illicit drug use is one of the most common causes of kinship caring and it’s thought that an estimated 1.3 million children have parents who are affected by substance misuse (Cabinet Office, 2004 and Department of Health 2007).

With that in mind, Swanswell’s asking grandparents, aunties, uncles, older siblings and other family members to get in touch with the charity to register their interest in getting involved with the group, which will be led by the carers themselves.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘The actual number of people in a kinship care role in the UK isn’t known because not all cases are brought to the attention of social services.

But grandparents and other relatives involved take on a massive responsibility, not knowing where to turn for support or feeling too ashamed to ask for help.

However, there’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s ok to ask for help with what can be an incredibly difficult situation.

So Swanswell’s looking to identify how many people in Coventry and Warwickshire are kinship carers and to form a regular support and advocacy group that they will lead on the development of, so it becomes a useful tool to anyone in the same situation as them.

‘Therefore, we’d encourage as much input as possible from the people who need our help, which will of course be treated confidentially.’

References

  1. Family Rights Group cited in Saunders H. and Selwyn J. (2008) Evaluation of an informal kinship care team, Adoption and Fostering, Summer Vol 32:2, pp31-42.]
  2. Wellard, S. and Wheatley, B. (2010) What if we said no? Survey Findings Report, Family and Friends Care, Grandparents Plus.
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-asks-kinship-carers-to-contact.aspx Thu, 24 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell takes to the streets for Alcohol Awareness Week]]>

Swanswell’s taking to the streets of Leicestershire and Rutland next week to raise awareness of the effects of alcohol and the help available.

It’s Alcohol Awareness Week (14 to 20 November), so the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will be taking part in a number of events across the two counties.

On Monday 14 November, staff will be spending the day at Hinckley Market to talk to shoppers about Swanswell, safe drinking, alcohol statistics and the dangers of excessive drinking as well as simulating the effects of excessive alcohol use, using special beer goggles.

Then on Wednesday 16 November, Swanswell will be raising awareness at the Impressions Cafe on Lower Bond Street from 10am to 3pm. 

Finally, on Thursday 17 November, the charity will be handing out information and Swanswell merchandise at a stall in the foyer of Tesco in Oakham from 8.30am.

Meanwhile, Swanswell’s young people service will be raising awareness at an assembly at Limehurst High School in Loughborough on Monday morning; holding substance misuse awareness workshops and a stall at Lutterworth College on Tuesday; and will be talking to scouts in Ashby-de-la-Zouch on Thursday evening.

Jo Woods, Operations Manager for Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘Alcohol misuse can affect anyone and people may not even realise that they’re drinking to potentially harmful levels.

That’s why we’re taking our service out to the community during Alcohol Awareness Week to help people learn about the harmful effects of alcohol and highlight the help available from Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-alcohol-awareness-week-2011.aspx Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell raises concerns over novelty alcohol gifts]]>

Swanswell’s raising awareness of the risks of alcohol misuse, as increasing numbers of novelty gifts this Christmas are linked to excessive drinking.

It’s Alcohol Awareness Week (14 to 20 November) and the national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is joining many other organisations to raise awareness of alcohol harm and the support available to help tackle it.

And with less than six weeks to go until Christmas, Swanswell’s encouraging people to think about the potential health risks of using alcohol-related novelty gifts to drink excessively.

The charity’s seen a range of items including a shot glass chess board, Viking alcohol horn, an alcohol roulette hat,  a yard glass for lager and a wine glass that holds up to a bottle of wine.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’ve noticed that more and more novelty gifts are being linked to excessive alcohol use and it is very worrying. Even board games are being turned in to drinking competitions.

We’re not party poopers and we won’t tell people not to drink, it’s their choice, but we are saying ‘do so sensibly’.

Increasingly, the line between fun and something turning into a serious problem is becoming very blurred – alcohol misuse is no joke and can affect anyone.

Some of these novelty items we’ve seen can hold large amounts of alcohol that would put someone way over their recommended daily limit, and continually drinking at this level could eventually lead to problems with health, relationships and everyday life.

Ultimately, the decision about how much someone drinks is down to the individual but just take time to understand the risks of excessive alcohol use and how it can quickly become a problem if it continues.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-raises-concerns-over-novelty-alcohol-gifts.aspx Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell helps Leicestershire students stay SAFE on the road]]>

Swanswell’s helped hundreds of students understand the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as part of a special road show in North West Leicestershire.

The SAFE event at Stephenson College in Coalville is organised by North West Leicestershire District Council, and focuses on the consequences of dangerous driving, attracting up to 500 young people from the college and neighbouring districts.

Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – was invited to highlight how dangerous alcohol or drug misuse can be to people on the road.

During the two-day event (8 and 9 November 2011), staff used special beer goggles and games to show 16 to 19-year-olds how substance misuse can affect perception, gave out information cards about alcohol and driving as well as useful Swanswell merchandise.

Students were also given an insight in to the charity’s Drink Impaired Drivers Programme, which gives people a clearer idea of how alcohol affects their ability to drive safely, putting the lives of others at risk as well as their own.

Nicholas Aston, Recovery Worker for Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland, said: ‘We know from statistics that road casualties are more likely to be in their late teens than any other age group, so it’s vital that we help get these safety messages across before it’s too late.

People taking part in our Drink Impaired Drivers programme often tell us how little they knew about the effect that alcohol has on their driving and how dangerous it can be for them and others.

Although there is a drink-drive limit, we think the safest way is not to drink at all if you’re getting behind the wheel.’

For details of the nearest Swanswell service to you, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-helps-students-stay-safe-in-Leicestershire.aspx Thu, 10 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell showcases progress on new virtual therapy project]]> Swanswell’s unveiled the latest progress of its research in to how computer game technology could be used in the treatment of substance misuse.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – was invited to the Interactive Technologies and Games: Education, Health and Disability conference at Nottingham Trent University to showcase its work.

Swanswell’s currently working with the University of Reading as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to explore the use of virtual reality-based games to help in the development of coping skills and to reduce the craving for illicit drugs and alcohol.

Using the outcomes of various studies and its own research with people affected by alcohol and drug misuse, the team’s developing interactive software that can be used in existing services to provide even more innovative ways of delivering treatment.

The idea involves a client using a virtual reality headset to access a number of computer-generated scenes that allow them to make decisions. Each decision they make will lead to more events as the scene unfolds.

People using the technology can then ‘move’ between the scenes, which include a domestic scene with drug and alcohol-related cues, a street scene featuring phone boxes, discarded drink cans and drug paraphernalia and a bar scene.   

They also have the opportunity to interact with characters and onscreen prompts, where the individual’s responses can alter the game later on.

Liam North, KTP Associate at Swanswell, is leading work on the project and said: ‘There’s lots of promising evidence out there for the use of computer game-based therapy, so we’re really excited about where this project is going.

We’ve involved clients from the start because ultimately it will be those accessing treatment who will be using this software, so it has to be realistic.

Using their own experiences and feedback, we’ve developed a number of typical situations they may find themselves in. The game helps them identify the best way to deal with those situations, providing them with the skills they can then use in real life.

‘We believe that virtual therapies such as this can play a big part in the treatment and recovery of people affected by substance misuse in the future.’

Dr Faustina Hwang, one of the Academic Supervisors for this project, added: ‘This is an exciting partnership for the whole team, enabling the development and application of the University’s expertise in this exciting area.

‘Our research so far suggests that there is real potential for this work to change the way drug and alcohol support services are delivered, in a way that will significantly benefit clients.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-vr-project-progress.aspx Thu, 10 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell to provide community-based, open access alcohol services in Sandwell]]> Swanswell will be helping even more people change their life for the better after being awarded a contract to provide community-based, open access alcohol services in Sandwell.

Following a competitive tendering process, the national charity has been selected to deliver the service from 1 December 2011 on behalf of the Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT).

Swanswell’s new service will provide advice and support to adults affected by alcohol misuse as well as offering information and support to family members and carers.

It’ll be accessible from Swanswell’s offices at Metro Court, High Street, West Bromwich, as well as community venues in other towns across the borough.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been selected for this contract, providing us with an opportunity to help even more people in Sandwell change their lives for the better.

We’ll be working closely with the commissioners and existing services to make sure the transition for clients runs smoothly. In the meantime, clients will continue to receive treatment in the usual way.’

Neil Parkes, Alcohol Strategy Development Manager at the Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said: ‘We are looking forward to working with Swanswell to address the needs of those people affected by alcohol misuse across the borough of Sandwell.’

For details of how to contact Swanswell's service in Sandwell, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-to-provide-alcohol-services-Sandwell.aspx Wed, 09 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell welcomes minimum pricing as a ‘first step’]]> A ban on selling alcohol below minimum price being introduced next year is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done, according to Swanswell.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - is responding to news that from 6 April 2012, shops and bars will not be able to sell drinks for less than the tax paid on them (BBC news).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Today’s news is certainly a step in the right direction but looking at pricing alone won’t stop people buying alcohol and drinking to excess.

The promotion of alcohol, where it is placed on sale and the product itself all need to be re-considered – for example, you only have to go in to your local supermarket where, in many cases, alcohol on special offer is visible as soon as you walk in.

In addition, there needs to be clear guidance about the effects of alcohol. We’re often bombarded with confusing, mixed messages about alcohol such as what the recommended daily limit is or whether or not it’s safe to drink when pregnant.

Better education about the risks would mean people can make informed decisions about their alcohol use.

However, it’s an issue much wider than any individual, policy maker or organisation can tackle on its own – it’s something we all must take responsibility for in order to create a society free from problem alcohol use.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-welcomes-minimum-pricing-first-step.aspx Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell and Pfizer’s Man MOT to hold online alcohol awareness clinic]]> Men concerned about their alcohol use will be able to get online help from Swanswell as part of a special clinic being held during Alcohol Awareness Week.

On Monday 14 November, the national charity will guest host on Man MOT (Monday Opportunity to Talk) to offer advice and information about a range of alcohol-related issues in a confidential, one-to-one online chat at www.manmot.co.uk.

One of Swanswell’s specially trained staff will be available during the online clinic between 6pm and 10pm to respond to specific questions or to give advice – whether it’s an individual’s concern about their own alcohol use or someone else’s.

As part of the usual Man MOT clinics, visitors will also have access to fully qualified GPs, who will be able to talk confidentially about other health concerns and general health information.

Will James, Operations Manager for Swanswell, is leading on the project for the national charity.

He said: ‘We know from statistics that men are less likely to visit their GP about health concerns than women, so we’ve joined with  Man MOT to provide easy access to information and support about alcohol misuse.

Often, people don’t realise there is a problem or that they may be drinking at potentially harmful levels, so it’s really important that they speak to a health professional whenever they are concerned – no matter how small they think their concern may be.

Alcohol Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity for people to take those first steps to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-man-mot.aspx Mon, 07 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s Recovery Model produces impressive results]]> Swanswell’s found that clients are twice as likely to either stop their use of prescribed methadone or significantly reduce it, using the national charity’s new Recovery Model.

The findings come from a pilot of this recovery approach to treatment designed by the national charity, which helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour.

These results were released as part of a presentation to delegates at the Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP) national primary care conference in Birmingham last month (13 October).

Representatives from Swanswell were invited to the event to talk about their new Recovery Model, which puts the client in charge of their own recovery journey.

During a six month pilot, the national charity monitored two groups – one control group and one group using the new Recovery Model, developed by Swanswell.

In addition to the change in rates of clients stopping or reducing their use of prescribed methadone, the recovery approach results in a 168% increase in the number of clients referred for detox.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘Swanswell’s Recovery Model puts the client in charge of their recovery journey and places greater emphasis on the importance of their support networks, as close friends and family have an important  part to play in their successful recovery.

Delegates at the conference were very impressed with the results we’ve achieved during the pilot and were very interested in finding out how the model could work for them.

We’re really excited about the Recovery Model and are looking forward to helping integrate this in to treatment in the future.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswells-recovery-model-SMMGP.aspx Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell celebrates the vital role of Trustees]]>

Swanswell’s taking time out to celebrate and recognise the vital role trustees play in ensuring the national charity helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour.

This week (31 October to 6 November) is Trustees’ Week  – the second annual celebration of trusteeship, organised by the Charity Commission and partners.

It aims to highlight the great work of trustees and draw attention to the opportunities to get involved in charity management.

Like many charities throughout the UK, Swanswell is managed by a Board of Trustees, made up of dedicated volunteers who have a wealth of experience relevant to the sector and to substance misuse.

They are responsible for directing the business of the charity, making decisions about finances, activities and plans for the future.

Swanswell’s Board of Trustees is currently made up of ten members and has led the national charity through some exciting times.

Over the last 12 months alone, they’ve made decisions to invest almost £4.5 million into substance misuse treatment services – saving the UK economy over £13.8 million in the cost of treatment1.

They’ve also steered the national charity to help more than 5700 people through their alcohol or drug treatment journey during 2010/11.

Under the Board of Trustees leadership, Swanswell’s been able to develop exciting programmes such as the Reducing Drug-Related Offending Programme, which saw a 71% reduction on spend on illegal drugs among clients compared to before they started.

In recent years, the national charity’s also created a successful Alcohol and Domestic Abuse Prevention programme, Carer Support Service and Hospital Liaison Service to name only some of the projects given the green light.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Swanswell is incredibly lucky to have such a talented and experienced Board of Trustees, who really understand what we do and where we should be going as an organisation.

Trustees play a vital part in the management of a charity, so it seems only fitting to have a week that highlights their tireless, often unrecognised efforts to keep organisations such as Swanswell moving in the right direction.

Let’s not forget, trustees are volunteers so are giving up their free time to really make a difference to people’s lives.

Personally, I’d like to thank our own Board of Trustees for their continuing hard work and for making Swanswell everything it is today.’

References

  1. The saving to the UK economy is worked out as follows: For every £1 spent on alcohol treatment, £5 can be saved. Swanswell invested £1,055,574 in alcohol treatment in 2010/11, saving £5,277,870. For every £1 spent on drug treatment, there’s a £2.50 return to the UK Economy. Swanswell invested £3,415,437 in drug treatment in 2010/11, saving £8,538,592. Both savings added together equal just over £13.8 million.
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-celebrates-trustees.aspx Mon, 31 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell could help dramatically cut alcohol-related domestic abuse cases]]> Swanswell could help reduce the number of alcohol-related domestic abuse cases in England by almost three quarters with a new six-session programme for both victims and perpetrators.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an international campaign raising awareness of this often hidden issue and the support available.

Alcohol has strong links with violence. Every year in England alone, 360,000 incidents of domestic abuse (around a third of all cases) are linked to alcohol misuse (NICE online, 2010).

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has recognised this by developing an innovative training programme to help alcohol workers identify victims and perpetrators.

It gives them the confidence to deliver a brief domestic abuse intervention and build strong working relationships with appropriate partner agencies to ensure referrals can be made quickly and effectively.

As part of this, Swanswell developed interventions that were created to work with both victims and perpetrators.

Both of the six-session programmes cover motivation to change, risky or unhelpful thinking, the traffic light model and relapse prevention planning.

In addition, sessions for perpetrators cover alcohol education, goal setting and breaking down the myths associated with domestic abuse. Sessions for victims cover education and awareness about domestic abuse and the change process.

Last year, Swanswell ran a successful pilot programme in Warwickshire, which provided some impressive results.

One of the outcomes was achieving an astonishing 73% zero-reoffending rate among perpetrators of domestic abuse (Warwickshire Police, 2010)1.

If that result could be replicated nationwide, Swanswell could reduce the annual figure for domestic abuse incidents from 360,000 to 97,200, helping to save up to an estimated £11.68 billion on the associated costs of dealing with them2.

Suni Kaur, Substance Misuse Worker with Swanswell and programme lead, said: ‘Our alcohol and domestic abuse prevention programme provides workers with the skills to identify people affected by alcohol-related domestic abuse, so they can provide effective support quickly.

‘It works well because it reduces reoffending in alcohol-related domestic abuse cases and supports the victims too.’

Warwickshire Police was one of a number of partners involved in the pilot programme in 2010 as part of Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse.

DI Roy Wheelwright, from Warwickshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: ‘The results of the project have been very impressive with a vast majority of clients accepting the scheme and attending the sessions demonstrating a complete stop or a significant reduction in reported abuse.

This has proven to be a significant initiative in dealing with what has long been recognised as a major trigger towards domestic abuse.’      

References

1. Figures supplied by Warwickshire Police, 2010
2. In 2008, domestic violence cost the national nearly £16 billion (Walby, S., 2009)3. We estimate each incident costs around £9,000
3. Walby, S., 2009. The Cost of Domestic Violence, update by Sylvia Walby. Lancaster: Lancaster University

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-could-cut-alcohol-domestic-abuse.aspx Fri, 21 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell Recovery Model could further increase recovery rates]]> New national figures showing a significant rise in the number of people recovering from problem drug use could easily be increased further with a new Recovery Model developed by Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has just finished a pilot in Birmingham for its new model, which puts the client in charge of their own journey towards recovery.

Early results have been very encouraging and have found that using the recovery approach is:

  • Twice as likely to result in clients stopping a methadone prescription; and
  • Twice as likely to result in clients reducing their substitute prescription

It comes as the latest statistics from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), show that 27,969 people successfully recovered from illicit drug use this year compared to 23,680 last year – an increase of 18%.

In addition, the NTA also reported a fall in the number of people needing treatment for illicit drug use, including a reduction of almost 10,000 in the number of heroin and crack cocaine users coming into treatment in just two years.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s clear from the figures released this week that the work organisations such as Swanswell are doing, is making a positive difference to people’s lives.

The message is getting through about the damaging effects problem drug use can have on people, their families and communities – however we know there is still a lot of work to do in tackling substance misuse on the whole.

It’s an issue much wider than something the government can deal with on its own – society has its part to play too.

Our recovery model is one of the ways to effectively help people overcome problem drug use, so we hope we can continue to positively change many more lives in the future.

Together we can eliminate problematic substance misuse.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-recovery-could-further-increase-rates.aspx Fri, 07 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell supports Black History Month in Birmingham]]>

Swanswell’s joining organisations across the country to recognise the struggles, achievements and contributions of Britain’s African, Asian and Caribbean communities as part of Black History Month.

During October, groups, schools, libraries and arts centres are among some of the those taking part to celebrate the history and culture of black communities past and present.              

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, will be holding events in Birmingham this week to recognise how communities have overcome barriers in the past and, with the right support, can continue to do so moving forward.

Staff will be offering information about substance misuse – an issue that can affect anyone, anywhere – and how people can access services in the city.

Representatives will be able to give help and guidance to people visiting Pertemps in Newtown on Thursday 6 October between 9am and 5pm.

Then from 11am to 3.30pm on Friday 7 October, Swanswell will be joined by Phoenix Futures and BROSIS – with support from Birmingham Drug and Alcohol Action Team - at the Drum on Potters Lane in Aston to mark Black History Month with a variety of speakers and performances celebrating diverse culture and heritage.

Representatives from a number of organisations will be available during the day, offering information and guidance about a range of issues.

Natacha Bogard, Swanswell’s Diversity Lead, said: ‘Treatment for substance misuse is open to everyone, so this event provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of the help and support that’s available in Birmingham.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-and-black-history-month.aspx Tue, 04 Oct 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Lib Dems take time out of conference for Swanswell visit]]>

Swanswell welcomed Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith and Baroness Sally Hamwee for a whistle-stop tour of the charity’s services in Birmingham last week.

The VIPs took time out of their busy schedule at the Lib Dem’s annual conference taking place nearby to learn more about the national charity, which helps people overcome drug, alcohol and other problem behaviour.

Sir Alan Beith’s Research Assistant Chloe Cockett and UK Youth’s Communications, Marketing and Business Development Officer Jo Birch-Phaure also attended the afternoon’s event, held on Tuesday 20 September.

Staff and service users spent two hours with the visitors talking about nine projects including the ‘Reducing Drug-Related Offending Programme’, ‘Alcohol-related hospital admissions’ and ‘Swanswell’s Recovery Model Pilot’.

In addition, guests received a demonstration from the complementary therapist in Swanswell’s social enterprise and saw a sneak peak of the charity’s virtual therapies project.

Sir Alan Beith said: ‘Swanswell provided excellent examples of some very innovative and exciting projects they have developed to help people overcome substance misuse.

I was very impressed with the level of expertise and commitment shown by the organisation and its staff, who were all very enthusiastic about the work they were doing.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We were delighted to welcome Sir Alan Beith and Baroness Hamwee to Swanswell and would like to thank them for taking the time out of a very busy schedule to come to see us.

Substance misuse was a key part of the Liberal Democrat’s conference, so it was a good opportunity to show our guests first-hand what we’re doing to help tackle this and provide an insight in to the innovative projects that are being developed.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Lib-Dems-visit-Swanswell.aspx Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Lowering drink-drive limit ‘a step in the right direction’, says Swanswell]]>

Proposals to lower the drink driving limit in Northern Ireland are a step in the right direction but why stop there, asks Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is reacting to today’s news that Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Alex Attwood is to outline plans to lower the legal limit from its current level of 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml, as it is in many European countries (BBC News).

According to reports, there would also be another, lower limit of 20mg/100ml for young drivers and people who drive for a living.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We welcome any plans to tackle drink-driving and this certainly is a step in the right direction.

However, there are so many confused messages out there about what is safe and what isn’t when it comes to drinking alcohol before driving – we’d like to see a clear, consistent message: a zero drink-drive limit.

Drivers we work with on our drink-impaired drivers programme often tell us they were unaware of the effect even small amounts of alcohol can have on their judgement behind the wheel, and are shocked by the potential consequences.

It’s a worrying prospect and another case for clearer information, tied in with better education, about the effects of alcohol.

The only way to be sure that you won’t be putting yourself or others at risk is to not drink at all when driving.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/lowering-drink-drive-limit-step-says-Swanswell.aspx Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell team member Dean’s Triathlon Challenge only days away]]> There’s only a few days to go before Swanswell worker Dean Gammon takes on his challenge of a lifetime.

He’ll join up to 1400 other people in the Warwickshire Triathlon on Sunday 2 October and will take part in a 400 metre swim, 23km cycle race and 5km run around Stratford-on-Avon.

With temperatures set to reach up to an unseasonal 28 degrees Celsius in some places this weekend, it’s no mean feat in itself but there’s an added challenge – Dean has had to learn to swim from scratch in order to take part.

Dean said: ‘The overall distance doesn’t worry me too much as I enjoy keeping fit and am often out and about on my bike. However, the biggest challenge for me will be the 400 metre swim.

I’ve never really been interested in learning how to swim but decided it’s about time I did. The triathlon gave me the added incentive to do it and I’ve not looked back. It’ll be tough but I’m really looking forward to it.’

It’s not the first time Dean has been involved in fundraising while he’s been with Swanswell.

Earlier this year, he joined colleagues to take part in the Corporation Street Challenge - a 35-mile sponsored bike ride from the charity’s head office in Rugby to its office in Birmingham, raising money for Comic Relief.

On World Book Night, he also made a 30-mile trip on two wheels to deliver books to clients in Birmingham, again to raise money for charity. However, this time round Dean is hoping to raise money for Swanswell.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I’m delighted that Dean’s taken on this personal challenge to help people affected by substance misuse.

Dean’s determined approach to learning how to swim is a good way to represent the journey that many of our clients take to achieve their goals too.

We wish him lots of luck in the triathlon this weekend and I’m sure he will find it a very worthwhile experience.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-Dean-challenge-days-away.aspx Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Alcohol in pregnancy causes ‘most common form of learning disability’]]>

A research paper  into the impact on learning of children suffering from FASD (foetal alcohol spectrum disorder) provides a wake-up call to the potential consequences of drinking alcohol when pregnant.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, believes research such as this adds weight to the need for clearer guidance for pregnant women about the risks to their health and that of their unborn child.

The research paper, written by Professor Barry Carpenter OBE, investigates the challenges of teaching children diagnosed with FASD – the range of conditions caused by excessive exposure to alcohol in the womb.

The research reported here lead to a national study which shows how we must act urgently to skill-up teachers, to educate children with FASD.

It affects around one per cent of births in Europe, and sufferers display a range of physical and mental symptoms.

One of the key findings – and perhaps most surprising – is that those affected by FASD represent the largest group of children with learning difficulties/disabilities not caused by a genetic condition.

The research paper  details how more guidance is needed to help teachers deal with the unusual learning style and extreme challenging behaviour experienced as a result of FASD, which Professor Carpenter believes only government-led approaches can improve.

Swanswell believes the research paper  highlights some of the serious consequences of drinking while pregnant but adds that clear information should also be made available to pregnant women, as ultimately the decision to drink or not rests with them.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘This research paper is written by one of the UK’s leading authorities on the effects of drinking while pregnant, and is clear evidence that during this time alcohol should simply be avoided. To advise anything else only causes confusion.

There is already a bewildering amount of health advice out there for expectant mothers - they have enough to deal with without worrying about how much alcohol they can ‘safely’ consume.

Within the space of two days this summer, the public were told that the Government was likely to increase its safe alcohol limits, and that new research had found that alcohol damages the DNA of unborn children beyond repair.

The Government and public bodies have a duty to keep it clear and simple – if you want to avoid risking the health of your child, don't drink when pregnant.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Alcohol-in-pregnancy-FASD-risk.aspx Wed, 14 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell brings the inside outside to highlight carer support]]> Shoppers in Barnsley have today had a real insight into the often difficult lives of carers, as part of a campaign highlighting how alcohol can affect the lives of everyone.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, recreated a typical scene from the home of someone looking after a friend or relative affected by alcohol misuse.

Actors performed ‘Inside Outside’ – a campaign created in partnership with Moo Moo Youth Marketing - in front of unsuspecting shoppers at the Mall Shopping Centre on Cheapside between 11am and 3pm today (Friday 2 September 2011).

The aim of the campaign was to highlight the difficulties carers face and the support available.          

Staff were also on hand to give information about the help on offer from Swanswell’s carer support service in Barnsley, which provides access to group discussions, individual therapeutic interventions, qualification opportunities, advice and guidance.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘For every person with a drug and/or alcohol problem, there’s usually at least one carer and we understand that it can be a very isolating and difficult experience.

Our thought-provoking Inside Outside campaign is designed to challenge most people’s thinking of ‘what happens at home, stays at home’ and highlight how this is an experience shared by many residents who may not even realise it’s happening to them.

Most importantly, it raises awareness of the help available through Swanswell’s carer support service and how, with our help, they can take steps to improve their life while helping their friend or loved one change and be happy.’

For details of how to get in touch with Swanswell's carer support service, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-brings-inside-outside-for-carers.aspx Fri, 02 Sep 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s response to alcohol-related admissions rise]]>

Swanswell’s response to a national story about an increase of 900 alcohol-related hospital admissions a day, compared to five years ago.

It follows a report from the North West Public Health Observatory revealed that almost 1.1million people were admitted in to hospital in 2009/10 with alcohol-related issues and that Blackpool has the highest number of liver disease deaths in the UK (Daily Mail).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We know there is much to do to tackle the root causes of the UK’s addiction to alcohol, so today’s figures don’t come as a surprise.

‘But they should be a wake-up call to everyone to re-think their relationship with alcohol and the damaging effects it can have on health, relationships and much more. 

‘Tackling problematic alcohol use is something everyone must take responsibility for – it’s too important an issue to leave to government to solve on its own.

‘There are already great services available such as Swanswell’s hospital liaison service - which takes help and support directly to the patient’s bedside - that do brilliant work, achieve positive results and save the public purse a fortune.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-responds-to-alcohol-admissions-rise.aspx Thu, 25 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell team member takes on daring fundraising challenge]]> A Swanswell worker’s taking on an epic personal challenge to raise money for people affected by substance misuse.

Dean Gammon, a Support Worker with the national charity, will join up to 1400 other people in the Warwickshire Triathlon on Sunday 2 October. The event includes a 400 metre swim, 23km cycle race and a 5km run around Stratford-on-Avon.

While it’s no mean feat in itself, there’s been an extra challenge for Dean – he couldn’t swim until he started training for the event, four months ago.             

Dean said: ‘The overall distance doesn’t work me too much as I enjoy keeping fit and am often out and about on my bike. However, the biggest challenge for me will be the 400 metre swim.

I’ve never really been interested in learning how to swim but decided it’s about time I did. The triathlon gave me the added incentive to do it and I’ve not looked back. My lessons have been going well and I’m really looking forward to it.’

It’s not the first time Dean has been involved in fundraising while he’s been with Swanswell.

Earlier this year, he joined colleagues to take part in the Corporation Street Challenge - a 35-mile sponsored bike ride from the charity’s head office in Rugby to its office in Birmingham, raising money for Comic Relief.

On World Book Night, he also made a 30-mile trip on two wheels to deliver books to clients in Birmingham, again to raise money for charity. However, this time round Dean is hoping to raise money for Swanswell.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I’m delighted that Dean’s taken on this personal challenge to help people affected by substance misuse.

Dean’s determined approach to learning how to swim is a good way to represent the journey that many of our clients take to achieve their goals too.

We wish him lots of luck in the triathlon in October and I’m sure he will find it a very worthwhile experience.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-team-members-fundraising-challenge.aspx Mon, 22 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell warns holiday drink will pile on the pounds]]>

With the summer holiday season well underway, Swanswell’s warning that a man who drinks a pint and a half of strong lager five days a week will consume the calorific equivalent of four kebabs a week, or 46 cups of lard over a year.

For a woman, having a large glass of wine (3.3 units) five nights of the week is like eating almost two pizzas on top of her usual diet. Over 12 months, that’s an additional 45,840 calories or the equivalent of around 25 cups of lard (see tables 1 and 2 for further details).

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is urging people to think more about how much they’re drinking on holiday, and how it could affect them.

In addition to the well known long-term problems such as liver damage or depression, drinking regularly can also lead to weight gain because of the high number of calories in alcohol which also have little nutritional value.

Research suggests that drinking one large glass of wine or just over a pint of 5% lager a day on top of your usual diet could lead to an increase of 4lbs in just four weeks or almost three-and-a-half stone over the year.

Therefore regularly drinking up to the government’s recommended daily limit of units (3-4 units for men and 2-3 for women, with two alcohol-free days a week) has the potential to add tens of thousands of calories over the space of 12 months.  

However, the  risk to health increases further when people binge drink (drinking heavily in a short space of time to get drunk or feel the effects of alcohol, reports drinkaware).

Binge drinking is usually defined as having more than double their recommended daily limit in one session2 – so for men it would mean drinking more than 8 units a day and for women more than 6 units a day.

If a man was regularly binge drinking every Friday and Saturday night for example, not only would he risk more permanent damage to his health, he would also add calories equivalent to eating at least three cheeseburgers on top of what he usually would have that weekend.

Similarly if a woman was drinking to excess two evenings a week, she would have had at least the same amount of calories as eating almost two cheeseburgers in addition to what she would usually have in two days.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘There’s some pretty shocking statistics here that we hope provide food for thought for anyone who may be drinking too much.

Government guidance about how much we should be drinking is linked to units – most of us would struggle to say what our daily allowance of units should be, let alone calculate how many we’ve had.

We’ve taken a different approach to highlighting how excessive use can affect our bodies – it’s hard to find a good argument for putting 46 cups of lard in your body every year, after all.

Most importantly, if you think alcohol use is becoming a problem you shouldn’t be afraid to get help from organisations such as Swanswell who will be able to suggest the best course of action for you and help you change your life for the better.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-warns-holiday-drink-pile-pounds.aspx Tue, 09 Aug 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell prepares to launch drug treatment in Sandwell]]> Swanswell’s announced further details of its new drug treatment services, launching in Sandwell on Monday 1 August.

In partnership with West Midlands Police and Ridgacre Medical Centres, Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will take over services for adults on behalf of the Sandwell Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

Treatment and support will be accessible to anyone affected by drug misuse through appointments, attending one of the regular drop-in sessions held Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm or by referrals from their GP or other health professional.

The charity will be based at Metro Court, 150 High Street, West Bromwich, as well as other venues such as GP surgeries. People can contact Swanswell by calling 0845 112 0100.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘We’re delighted to have this opportunity to help people in Sandwell change and be happy.

Swanswell’s services have been designed to be as accessible as possible to ensure everyone affected by drug misuse can access the help and support they need, when they need it.

We’ve been working very closely with the commissioners and existing services to ensure a smooth transition for clients, and we’re confident that they will receive a world class service.’

If you’re affected by substance misuse or know someone who is, you can get details of opening times and locations by calling Swanswell in Sandwell on 0845 112 0100 (from 1 August), or speak to your GP who will be able to refer you.

To find the details of the nearest Swanswell service to you, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-prepares-sandwell-drug-treatment-launch.aspx Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell remembers those affected by substance misuse around the world]]> Swanswell will be joining tens of thousands of people around the world on 21 July to remember those who have died as a result of substance misuse.

International Remembrance Day is an annual event first organised in Germany in 1998 to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives because of drugs and alcohol, and to celebrate those lives that have been saved by treatment.

Now, events are also held in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and the UK. Swanswell’s marked this day since 2009 and will be holding a minute’s silence at 11am as an act of remembrance.

During July, the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been encouraging clients to leave messages in a book of remembrance, take a candle home to light in memory of someone they’ve lost, and take safety and harm reduction information to pass on to others.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘International Remembrance Day is an important time to stop and think about the countless lives that have been lost because of alcohol and drugs misuse.

It’s also a time to reflect on what we’re trying to achieve – a world free from problematic alcohol and drug use – so that someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, other relative or friend isn’t taken away by something that can be turned around.

Finally, it’s an important opportunity for those worried about substance misuse to take the first step and get help from organisations such as Swanswell, so they can begin to change and be happy.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-remembers-july2011.aspx Mon, 18 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell project’s recognised in best practice awards]]> Swanswell’s ‘reducing drug-related offending’ programme has received national recognition for best practice.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - has received the accolade at the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Programme Awards 2011 championing the cutting edge of the criminal justice system.

Swanswell’s 12-session pilot programme was given the ‘runners up’ prize in the adult category at the ceremony, hosted by Private Eye Editor and TV personality Ian Hislop in London last week.

The ‘reducing drug-related offending’ project involved 360 people with drug misuse problems, including prolific offenders (those committing the most significant level of crime), who had been referred into treatment through the Criminal Justice system.

Structured one-to-0ne sessions cover a range of topics such as triggers of offending, how to avoid a risky situation, drug education and harm reduction – with the aim to reduce drug use and related offending behaviour.

The pilot has seen some impressive results. The amount of money participants spent on illegal drugs fell by 71% compared to before they had treatment. In addition, just over 15% of people completed the treatment drug free.

With estimated annual costs of drug-related crime in England and Wales totalling £15.4 billion (Gordon, L., et al. 2006) (1), Swanswell’s programme has the potential to reduce those costs by up to £2.4 billion (2), if these figures were mirrored nationally.

Frances Crook, Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: ‘The Howard League for Penal Reform is recognising the country’s most successful community programmes at our Community Sentences Cut Crime conference.

This is a wonderful opportunity to promote excellence in our criminal justice system and praise the people who bring down crime in their area.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been recognised for this innovative project that has the potential to change thousands of lives for the better.

Swanswell’s programme tackles the underlying cause of someone’s offending and identifies ways of avoiding potentially risky situations, reducing the possibility of them getting involved in crime again.’

References

  1. Gordon, L., Tinsley, L., Godfrey, C. And Parrott, S. 2006. The economic and social costs of Class A drug use in England and Wales 2003/04. In Singleton, N., Murray, R. And Tinsley, L (eds), Measuring different aspects of problem drug use: methodological developments. Home Office Online Report 16/06
  2. A simple estimate of cost savings is based on Swanswell’s pilot result of 15.3% of people completing the programme, case closed, drug free. It is assumed here that all of the 15.3% will not commit drug-related crime again. 15.3% of £15.4 billion = £2.4 billion.
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-project-recognised-for-best-practice.aspx Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s concerned over pound shop alcohol plans]]> Swanswell’s concerned about plans for a chain of pound stores to start selling cut price alcohol.

According to reports in the Daily Mail today, Poundworld is planning to offer a wider grocery range including low-cost drinks such as lager and cider alongside other day-to-day items for less than a pound.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s a very worrying prospect. While low price alcohol is already readily available in supermarkets, it’s less likely that high risk drinkers will buy their drinks from there in our experience and are more likely to buy from an off-licence for example.

However, pound stores could prove an attractive alternative because of the low prices and stack them high approach taken by many of these types of shops.

So we’d like to know what safeguards pound stores would put in place to make sure they were selling alcohol responsibly but the bigger question is do we really need another outlet for the sale of cheap drink?

There still seems to be a very muddled approach to problematic drinking – on one hand you’ve got the government introducing minimum pricing and on the other, you’ve got the possibility of really cheap alcohol being even more accessible.

We want to see a clear approach to tackling this problem and a sensible, national debate to discuss the best way forward.’

 

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-concern-over-pound-shop-plans.aspx Tue, 05 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell prepares to launch in Leicestershire and Rutland]]> Swanswell’s announced further details of its new drug and alcohol treatment services, launching in Leicestershire and Rutland this week.

From 1 July 2011, the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – will take over the non-criminal justice services for adults on behalf of the Leicestershire and Rutland Drug and Alcohol Action Teams.

Swanswell’s services will be accessible to anyone affected by substance misuse in the two counties. People can make an appointment, attend one of the regular drop-in sessions or be referred by their GP or other health professional.

The charity will be based in Coalville, Loughborough, Market Harborough, Wigston, Melton Mowbray and Hinckley (location to be confirmed) as well as other venues such as GP surgeries.

Swanswell will also be working closely with Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, who will be delivering substance misuse services for young people, as part of the contract.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘We’re delighted to have this opportunity to help people in Leicestershire and Rutland change and be happy.

Swanswell’s services in the two counties have been designed to be as accessible as possible to ensure everyone affected by alcohol or drug misuse can access the help and support they need, when they need it.

We’ve been working closely with the commissioners and existing services to ensure a smooth transition for clients, and we’re confident that they will receive a world class treatment service.’

If you’re affected by substance misuse or know someone who is, you can get details of opening times and locations by calling Swanswell in Leicestershire and Rutland on 0300 303 5000 (from 1 July), or speak to your GP who will be able to refer you.

To find out how to get in touch with the Swanswell services near you, visit our 'Contact us' page.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-prepares-leics-and-rutland-launch.aspx Thu, 30 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell helps put men’s health in the spotlight]]> A week of special activities aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by alcohol and/or drugs misuse in Coventry has been organised by Swanswell.

As part of Men’s Health Week (13 to 19 June), staff from the national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, invited a number of services to their Norton Street offices to encourage more male clients to get health advice.

Various activities and awareness raising sessions were on offer to clients between 13 and 17 June focusing on smoking cessation, dental health, healthy lifestyles, head and shoulder massage, and advice from local nurses.

In addition, as the theme for this year’s Men’s Health Week (organised by the Men’s Health Forum) was new technology, Swanswell staff were also on hand to talk about developments in new treatment technologies.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While it’s important that everyone looks after their health and wellbeing, traditionally men are reluctant users of health services generally.

So we made it as easy as possible for men using our services to access other help and information at the same time, highlighting how important it is to have regular check-ups or get answers to any health concerns, no matter how small they think these are.       

We had a good response from clients during the week with a number signing up to a smoking cessation course or healthy eating and exercise course for example.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-helps-highlight-mens-health.aspx Wed, 22 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for clear and consistent drinking advice]]> Suggestions to drastically cut the recommended safe alcohol limits for older people could cause confusion among drinkers according to Swanswell.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - is giving its reaction to a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which says people over 65 should drink a maximum of 1.5 units a day for men (currently 3-4 units) and around 1 unit for women (currently 2-3 units).

Older drinkers are less able to process alcohol and the report warns that drink could also interact with medication they may be taking, causing alcohol to have an increased affect.

However, Swanswell believes calls to have a different safe drinking limit for older people could cause confusion but agrees that GPs should screen everyone over the age of 65 for signs of substance misuse.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we welcome this report highlighting what is often a hidden problem among older people, we’re concerned that having different safe drinking levels to everyone else will only confuse the matter.

‘We know how many older people prefer to drink in their own homes, often because of boredom or big changes in their lifestyle, and in many cases they do so moderately but on a daily basis, which they may have done for many years because they’re used to it.

‘However, they don’t recognise that this regular drinking can be as hazardous to health as excessive or binge drinking, making it more difficult for them to identify that they may have a problem.

‘Therefore it’s vital that clear advice and information is easily accessible at the places where they are likely to go such as a GP surgery, where the report suggests everyone over 65 should be screened for signs for alcohol misuse.

It increases the chance of a problem being identified earlier and getting help from organisations such as Swanswell to change and be happy.’  

However, the national charity knows that tackling substance misuse in the older generation will take time.

Debbie added: ‘Older people have grown up in a society where more and more people are drinking at home, alcohol is cheap and more accessible than it ever has been.

Therefore, we as a society, need to look at our own attitudes towards drinking because it can affect people for generations to come.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-calls-for-clear-drinking-advice.aspx Wed, 22 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell estimates up to 100,000 patients mistakenly diagnosed with irreversible dementia]]> Swanswell has estimated that up to 100,000 people in the UK could have been misdiagnosed with incurable forms of dementia, when in fact they are suffering from a condition that can potentially be reversed with the right treatment.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug misuse, is launching a campaign to raise awareness of alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI) after publishing research in to the condition1.

ARBI has a range of symptoms similar to other forms of dementia and include memory loss, balance problems and irrational behaviour, making diagnosis difficult. The condition is brought on by prolonged, significant alcohol consumption.

There are 820,000 people with dementia in the UK2, and studies suggest that ARBI accounts for between ten and 12 per cent of cases3. This would suggest 80,000 to 100,000 patients could be affected by ARBI.

Maggie Philbin, science and technology expert and Swanswell Trustee , says the national charity believes many of these patients are mistakenly told they have degenerative dementia conditions.

Not many people are aware that regular drinking can lead to serious brain damage – it’s a frightening prospect.

However, diagnosed early and with the right treatment, the effects can be reversed. Studies show that with treatment a quarter of ARBI cases recover completely and another quarter recover enough to lead independent lives4.

Only a small proportion of ARBI sufferers are what Swanswell would consider to be heavy ‘street’ drinkers.

The charity’s helped people as young as 28, and a growing number of sufferers are women. People need to be aware that this can happen to them, and might already be happening to their loved ones.’

Swanswell’s developed a model of treatment for ARBI, and is currently seeking ethical approval to roll out three pilot studies later this year in the Midlands and South Yorkshire.

References

1. Swanswell (2010). The development of a multi-disciplinary programme for the treatment of alcohol related brain injury. Advances in 
Dual Diagnosis, Volume 3 Issue 2, May 2010: Peer Professional Ltd

2. Alzheimersresearch.org.uk, June 2011

3. Lishman WA (1990) Alcohol and the brain. British Journal of Psychiatry 156 635–644 and Harvey RJ, Rossor MN, Skelton-Robinson
M & Garralda E (1998) Young Onset Dementia: Epidemiology, clinical symptoms, family burden, support and outcome. London:
Imperial College Dementia Research Group.

4. Smith I & Hillman A (1999) Management of alcohol Korsakoff syndrome. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 5 271–278.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-arbi-estimates.aspx Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Parents urged to re-think their own drinking habits]]> Parents need to consider how their attitudes towards alcohol are influencing their children’s drinking behaviour according to Swanswell.

The call from the national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, comes as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveal the results of their Ipsos MORI survey in to 5700 children aged 13 to 16.

Among the findings, it said children who see their mums and dads drunk are twice as likely to regularly get drunk themselves and that poor parental supervision also raises the chances of teenage drinking (BBC News).

Researchers also found that one in five teenagers claimed to have been drunk by the time they were 14 and half of those questioned said they had been drunk by the time they were 16.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘The results of this survey haven’t come as a surprise to us but highlight how young people are easily influenced by the behaviour of their parents, whether they realise it or not.

Therefore it’s vital that parents lead by example and think about how their own actions are perceived by their children – how often they drink alcohol, where they drink it and how they act when they have had a drink.

‘They also need to consider how accessible alcohol is in their home - we’ve found in our own research that this is where many young people will look to get it.

‘At this time of year especially, many parents will be bringing back cheap drink from abroad, so they should consider where the most appropriate place is to store it out of reach of their children.

‘Finally, it’s important to have open and informed conversations about alcohol regularly, to ensure teenagers are fully aware of the impact alcohol can have on their health and wellbeing.’

The research released by the Joseph Research Foundation also states that peer pressure also has a significant impact on drinking behaviour, which backs up Swanswell’s own findings from a recent project called ‘Looking back’.

Swanswell asked 115 adults receiving treatment when they first began having problems with alcohol – 46% said it started under the age of 18 with pressure from friends being the main reason why they drank alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan added: ‘We know that the issue around alcohol misuse is much wider than what’s being highlighted here and ultimately there needs to be clearer thinking from the government and a more joined up approach about the best way to tackle it.

We hear a lot about alcohol pricing being used as a way to curb excessive drinking– but there’s much more to it. How it’s promoted, where it is placed and the product itself are other key aspects that should be considered.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Parents-urged-for-drink-rethink.aspx Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell worker’s appointment with the Queen]]> A Swanswell worker will be spending an afternoon with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh later this month in recognition for her work with carers.

Senior Practitioner Jennifer Upperdine has received a royal invitation to her Majesty’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 29 June after being nominated by Swanswell for her outstanding contribution to the Carers Support Service in Barnsley.

Jeni has played a vital part in the success of the service set up last year by the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – to offer help and advice for families of those affected by alcohol and/or drugs misuse.            

She will be among a number of other invited guests from around the country who will join the Queen and other members of the Royal family to be waited on by around 400 Palace staff, serving some 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake.

Jeni said: ‘I’m humbled to have been invited to have tea with the Queen after being nominated by Swanswell and am really excited about my trip to Buckingham Palace.

It will be a great opportunity to raise awareness of the Carers Support Service in Barnsley and how important it is for the families of people affected by alcohol and/or drug misuse to be supported through their loved one’s treatment.’

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted that Jeni has been invited to Buckingham Palace, and her nomination is testament to her hard work and dedication with the Carers Support Service.

Jeni is a great example of how committed Swanswell’s incredible staff are in helping thousands of people change and be happy. We hope she has a fantastic day.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-workers-appointment-with-queen.aspx Wed, 15 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell cautiously welcomes drinks company plans for Midwives]]> Swanswell’s cautiously welcoming news that a drinks producer is providing around£4 million pounds of funding for a national health initiative around alcohol and pregnancy.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is reacting to Diageo’s plans to pay for 10,000 midwives to be trained to offer advice on the dangers of drinking when pregnant (BBC News).

Training in this instance will be run by the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK (NoFAS).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While we do have some concerns that a drinks company is funding training like this, we welcome the fact that millions of pounds is being used to highlight the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

However, it’s essential that the advice given to expectant mothers is independent from the drinks industry to ensure that a clear and consistent approach is taken with the best interests of mother and child at heart at all times.

Our advice would be to not drink at all during pregnancy to avoid any risk of alcohol-related complications – although expectant mothers shouldn’t panic if they have had small amounts of alcohol before now.’

Swanswell already recognises the importance of midwives and health visitors in providing advice to pregnant mothers.

Earlier this year, the national charity began a training programme in Coventry to help health staff give advice about drinking when pregnant – as well as helping to identify anyone affected by alcohol misuse.

Debbie added: ‘We know that Midwives and health visitors are very good at engaging with pregnant women and our training will help them identify how substance misuse can impact on an individuals’ health and that of their unborn baby.

If it’s identified early in pregnancy, there is a greater chance of improved health for mother and child.

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-cautiously-welcomes-drinks-company-midwife-plans.aspx Mon, 13 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell helps thousands online through Netmums]]> Swanswell’s helping thousands of people online with advice about drugs and alcohol thanks to a unique online partnership with Netmums.

Over the last two years, the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – has been working with the biggest online parenting organisation to provide support to its members through their Coffee House forums.

Up to a thousand ‘mums’ (parents or guardians) are online at any one time and can post questions on various topics such as parenting, relationships or everyday life.

Before approaching Netmums, Swanswell found that many posts were about drug or alcohol use with little or no expert help available to provide suitable answers.

So the national charity suggested working together to offer advice for parents generally, or on an individual basis through private messages, where appropriate.

Posts in the alcohol and drugs forum are regularly monitored and answered by Netmums Parents Supporters and Swanswell’s Substance Misuse workers.

Since the project began in 2009, Swanswell posts have been viewed more than 228,000 times.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘Our partnership with Netmums came about after we spotted a real need for sound, expert advice about alcohol and drugs on the forums.

‘We’ve had much success because not only are we helping thousands of people by giving advice in an informal way but we can also communicate privately for more personal matters, referring them to further support where necessary.

We’re already looking to expand this professional support to other social networks to make it even easier for people to change and be happy.’

If parents have a question about alcohol or drugs and would like more information, visit the Alcohol and Drugs forum on the Netmums Coffee House.]]>
http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-helps-thousands-through-Netmums.aspx Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Maggie Philbin helps Swanswell highlight unsung community heroes]]> Presenter Maggie Philbin is joining Swanswell to raise awareness of unsung community heroes that help loved ones recover from alcohol and/or drugs misuse.

Next week is Carers week (13 to 19 June 2011) and the television star, who is also a trustee of the national charity, is lending her support to recognise and celebrate the contribution that the UK’s six million carers1 make to the lives of millions of people.

It’s also an opportunity to identify hidden carers – those people who may not even realise how important their often unrecognised role is – and to highlight the support available to reduce the impact it has on their own life.

One in eight adults in the UK is a carer and Swanswell knows that people who help friends or relatives affected by drug and/or alcohol misuse are among those unsung heroes within the community.

Caring for someone with a substance misuse problem can be very worrying, isolating and have a profound effect on their own life.

Maggie has personal experience of supporting someone through alcohol misuse.

She  said: ‘Having lived with someone who was affected by alcohol misuse, I know how isolating and emotionally difficult an experience it is to deal with – not knowing where to turn or who to talk to.

However, it’s given me a helpful insight that I’ve been able to put to good use in recent years by supporting friends who’ve been affected in the same way.

Carers week is not only a great opportunity to recognise the work of millions of people who support friends and family with substance misuse problems but also to make them aware of the help available to them, so their life isn’t adversely affected as well.

Swanswell’s carers support service in Barnsley is one of many services that provide much needed help and advice that really can make a difference to people’s lives.’

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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-highlights-unsung-community-heroes.aspx Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell’s reducing drug-related offending programme shortlisted for national award]]> Swanswell’s innovative ‘reducing drug-related offending’ programme has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - has been recognised by the Howard League for Penal Reform for the pilot it ran in Birmingham.

It involved 360 people with drug misuse problems, including prolific offenders (those who commit the most significant level of crime), who had been referred in to treatment through the Criminal Justice system.

The structured one-to-one sessions covered a range of topics such as triggers of offending, how to avoid a risky situation, drug education and harm reduction – with the aim to reduce drug use and related offending behaviour.

The pilot has seen some impressive results. The amount of money participants spent on illegal drugs fell by 71% compared to before they had treatment. In addition, just over 15% of people completed the treatment drug free.

With estimated annual costs of drug-related crime in England and Wales totalling £15.4 billion (Gordon, L., et al. 2006) (1), Swanswell’s programme has the potential to reduce those costs by up to £2.4 billion (2), if these figures were mirrored nationally.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s fantastic news that our reducing drug-related offending project has been shortlisted for a national award that recognises efforts to tackle substance misuse in the community.

We think our programme has the potential to save billions of pounds for the nation and most importantly, could help improve the lives of thousands of people who may not otherwise have received the necessary support to change and be happy.’

Swanswell’s shortlisted in the Adult category of the Community Programme Awards 2011 with the winners announced at the Howard League for Penal Reform’s national one-day conference, ‘Community Sentences Cut Crime’, on Wednesday 6 July 2011.

References

  1. Gordon, L., Tinsley, L., Godfrey, C. And Parrott, S. 2006. The economic and social costs of Class A drug use in England and Wales 2003/04. In Singleton, N., Murray, R. And Tinsley, L (eds), Measuring different aspects of problem drug use: methodological developments. Home Office Online Report 16/06
  2. A simple estimate of cost savings is based on Swanswell’s pilot result of 15.3% of people completing the programme, case closed, drug free. It is assumed here that all of the 15.3% will not commit drug-related crime again. 15.3% of £15.4 billion = £2.4 billion.
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http://www.swanswell.org/news/Swanswell-reducing-drug-offending-shortlisted.aspx Thu, 02 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT en
<![CDATA[Swanswell calls for carer support volunteers]]> Swanswell’s searching for a team of volunteers to help family members and friends affected by someone’s drug and/or alcohol misuse.

During Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June 2011), the national charity – which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use – is raising awareness of the vital work of those people looking after family members and friends, without thinking about the impact this often unrecognised role has on their own life.

In Barnsley, Swanswell operates the carers support service as part of the integrated treatment system. It offers emotional and practical support for carers ranging from financial advice regarding carers allowance applications to emotional support and help with understanding their loved one’s treatment and recovery.

The charity is currently recruiting volunteers who have the desire and ability to help people in the community cope with their situation and be happy.

Vicky Loveridge, Swanswell’s Operations Manager for Barnsley, said: ‘For every person with a drug and/or alcohol problem, there’s usually at least one carer.