Published Thursday 9 October 2014 at 9:27
An initiative giving local people a say on the subject of alcohol has been a success.
The Blackburn with Darwen Alcohol Inquiry, put together by the Council working with Our Life, brought together 22 local residents to sit on a panel over a nine week period from May to July 2014.
Weekly sessions were held at The Bank Top Neighbourhood Learning Centre with the group aiming to answer the overarching question: ‘What are the things that make it difficult for people to have a healthier relationship with alcohol?’
Sessions involved expert commentators ranging from representatives from Drink Wise, Lancashire Police, the alcohol industry and Blackburn with Darwen Public Health speaking to the panel members about different issues related to alcohol.
After several weeks of ongoing discussions and sharing of ideas, the last few meetings of the panel members involved them formulating a series of recommendations for change.
These included: further work towards the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, improving education around alcohol and awareness of support services, further work with licensees to promote responsible drinking and more work to tackle anti-social behaviour and street drinking.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“The inquiry was about listening to our residents on the alcohol issues affecting them and their communities to provide a grassroots impetus for change locally and nationally.
“Already we’re taking some of the recommendations forward locally by supporting various initiatives to raise awareness of the impact of alcohol on children, young people and their families; community events to promote sensible drinking and providing online support for people with alcohol issues.
“The inquiry members have given some fantastic feedback on their experience and have expressed an interest in working with us on a continued basis as local alcohol champions.”
The recommendations were presented at a launch event at Blackburn Museum in September, which was captured in the following short film: