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Preventing unborn children being harmed by alcohol


Too many children in Greater Manchester are born with health problems that could have been avoided if their mothers had not drunk alcohol while pregnant.

To stop children being affected and challenge misconceptions about drinking when pregnant we’ve invested £1.6m in a new pilot programme, that is now running in four areas of the city-region (Bury, Rochdale, Tameside and Oldham).

The programme will provide guidance and support to women when they are planning to conceive, while pregnant and after giving birth.

Launched on Friday 17 May, the programme will highlight the advice from the Chief Medical Officer for England that pregnant women, or those planning to become pregnant, avoid drinking any alcohol at all.

Unborn children who are exposed to alcohol can face a host of problems. These include damage to their heart, kidneys and bones, learning difficulties, and symptoms similar to autism and attention deficit disorder. Where caused by alcohol, all of these are preventable.

The programme will also highlight Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the impact it has on children. FASD is a range of lifelong disabilities which includes physical, mental, behavioural and learning impairments. It often causes difficulties with speech, language, memory, attention, planning and decision-making.

Look out for the social media campaign running alongside the new services. It calls on would-be parents and the people close to them to go alcohol-free throughout their pregnancy, and ‘make every trimester a #drymester’.

You can learn more about the wide-reaching ambitions of this programme and how we hope to improve the life chances of the city-region's youngest residents in a blog by our chief officer Jon Rouse.

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Pr Sandeep Ranote

“We’re investing £134m in improving mental health services – so where’s it going?”

 Sandeep Ranote explains how mental services are changing in the city-region

This month saw Mental Health Awareness Week take place, giving everyone involved with mental health the chance to talk about an issue that affects so many of us and time to reflect on how those struggling should be supported.

Our young people’s mental health lead Professor Sandeep Ranote has taken the time to explain the improvements being made to mental health services in Greater Manchester and our ambitions for the future.

Sandeep Ranote's blog

Let's kick illegal tobacco out of our neighbourhoods

Illegal smokes

A new campaign is raising awareness of the harms done by illegal tobacco to both young people and the wider community.

Launched on Monday 20 May, Keep It Out is highlighting how illegal tobacco is a major cause of young people starting smoking and how it undermines adults attempting to quit.

Research carried out by Trading Standards North West found that nearly a quarter of young smokers in Greater Manchester bought cigarettes they knew were illegal. 6 in 10 purchases by under-18s of illegal tobacco were made at local shops.

The campaign is running for four weeks - featuring an advertising campaign, public events where trading standards teams will explain their work, visits to tobacco retailers and leaflets targeted at neighbourhoods where it is suspected illegal tobacco is a problem.

The crackdown on illegal tobacco is part of Greater Manchester’s strategy to cut smoking rates by a third by the end of 2021. This is faster than any other major global city and would mean 115,000 fewer smokers.

You can anonymously report information about tobacco being sold illegally to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at


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Join the clean air conversation


Clean air survey

We need to clean up the air we all breathe.

Dirty air from road transport can seriously damage our health and plays a part in thousands of deaths every year. Along with other major cities across the country, Greater Manchester needs to reduce air pollution to legal levels as quickly as possible.

The 10 local councils in Greater Manchester are developing a clean air plan to tackle this major risk to our health. The proposals include a clean air zone, alongside major government funding to clean up the city-region’s most-polluting vehicles.

survey is current being held on the clean air plan proposals, so your views can help shape the plan.

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Take part in the survey

Celebrating those who go above and beyond to improve health and wellbeing

The shortlist for this year’s Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards has been unveiled.

Now in their second year, the awards celebrate and recognise both paid and unwaged workers from the city-region’s public and voluntary sector - who regularly go above and beyond to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our communities.

Whittled down from 400 nominees, 30 individuals and teams have been shortlisted for awards.

The nominees are from across all of Greater Manchester and work in the NHS, local authorities, schools, charities, care home and many other areas.  

The winners will be revealed at a ceremony in July.

The event will also see special recognition bestowed on all unwaged carers – for the time and effort they selflessly dedicate to other.

More information (including the full shortlist)


Shining a light on suicide


Shining a light on suicide

Launched last month, the #shiningalightonsuicide campaign is continuing to raise awareness of suicide and reduce the stigma that stops people talking openly about it.

If you’ve not yet taken the free training about how you could potentially save a life please find the time. It only takes 20 minutes and could mean you have the confidence to broach this difficult subject at a crucial moment for somebody.


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Free 20 minute training on how to save a life