Spotlight on Alcohol Awareness

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Spotlight on Alcohol Awareness

This newsletter is for everyone working with children and adults in Waltham Forest.

Please share with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up to get it regularly

Get involved in Dry January

drink safely

This year, many are looking forward to socialising and mixing with friends and family over Christmas and New Year. While there will be a temptation to make up for lost time following last year's festive restrictions, it is crucial to look after our health and safety while drinking.

There are resources available to support residents who might be struggling with drink and alcohol, or who might just want some helpful tips to drink safely at Christmas.

How to drink safely 


Staying sober during festive period

Dry January marks the end of the festive period each year and presents a golden opportunity to reflect on drinking habits and to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol consumption.

Many people are able to recognise when their drinking is becoming excessive and Dry January presents an opportunity to reset drinking habits. During this, month people can take a break from drinking and build healthier coping mechanisms for day-to-day difficulties and celebrations, empowering them to reserve drinking for rare occasions and rein in the desire for a drink when situations become difficult.

What are the benefits of not drinking for the month?

  • A month of no drinking can help reduce alcohol-induced inflammation of the liver
  • People report being able to manage their alcohol intake better after a month off, and drink less in the long term
  • Better sleep and more energy
  • Improved mental health and concentration
  • Weight loss and less bloating 
  • Saving money

Residents who are struggling with substance abuse can be referred to Change Grow Live, a Walthamstow-based service that provides a range of confidential support and treatment options for adults and young people affected by alcohol misuse.

Change Grow Live

Drinkcoach is a free online confidential app to help monitor drinking and provides advice from an alcohol treatment specialist. Residents can take a quick online test to see how risky their drinking is and receive help via a video consultation.


If you would like to receive printed or digital resources on alcohol awareness, or if you are interested in hosting a Dry January awareness-raising stall, please contact Shazda Ahmed.

Email Shazda

Support for Safer Sleeping

safer sleeping

It is crucial to underline to new parents the importance of never sleeping with a baby after consuming drugs or alcohol, as this increases the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The resources provide information and guidance for parents on reducing the risk of SIDS, and support health professionals to have effective conversations about safer sleep.

Caring for your baby at night 


Safer sleep advice


Reduce the risk of SIDS


Safer sleep site

In other news...

Strategic Partnerships

What is Making Every Contact Count?

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that uses the
many day-to-day interactions that organisations and individuals have with other
people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health
and wellbeing.

Many long-terms diseases in our population are closely linked to known behavioural risk factors. Around 40 per cent of the UK’s disability adjusted life years lost are attributable to tobacco, hypertension, alcohol, being overweight or being physically inactive.

Making changes such as stopping smoking, improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption can help people to reduce their risk of poor health significantly.

The fundamental idea underpinning the MECC approach is simple. It recognises that
staff across health, local authority and voluntary sectors have thousands of contacts
every day with individuals and are ideally placed to promote health and healthy lifestyles.
MECC focuses on the lifestyle issues that, when addressed, can make the greatest
improvement to an individual’s health.

Sign up to MECC training  

After completing the training, you will be able to:

  • Understand the range of factors that influence residents’ health and wellbeing
  • Be ready to engage residents in short conversations about these issues
  • Draw on a range of talking skills that help a good conversation
  • Be able to find information, tools and services to help people improve their health and wellbeing

    Learn more about MECC

Each session covers the following modules:

  • What is MECC?
  • Issues affecting people
  • Good conversations
  • Skill areas and practical tips
  • 3As: Ask–Assist–Act
  • Resources to help you

Find out what other services are available across the borough:

Waltham Forest Wellbeing Directory

Do you need help this winter? Cost of living support available at

This newsletter is brought to you by the Strategic Partnership Boards, which is made up of Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children’s Board, Safeguarding Adults Board, Health & Wellbeing Board and SafetyNet (our Community Safety Partnership).

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