Alcohol Change UK

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Alcohol Change UK
Legal statusRegistered charity
PurposeAlcohol harm reduction in the UK
Region served
United Kingdom
Chief Executive
Richard Piper
Trustee Board Chair
Richard Sumray
£1 million p.a.

Alcohol Change UK is a British charity and campaign group founded in 1984 whose aim is to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. It is best known for its flagship awareness programs Alcohol Awareness Week and Dry January.

History and organisation[edit]

Alcohol Concern was founded in 1984. In 2007 it became one of the 24 founding member organisations of Alcohol Health Alliance UK, a coalition of medical, charity and campaign organisations related to alcohol.[1] In April 2017, Alcohol Concern merged with Alcohol Research UK,[2] and in November 2018 the merged group was named Alcohol Change UK.[3] It is now recognised as a national agency on alcohol misuse for England and Wales.[4]

Since September 2017, the charity has been led by Chief Executive Officer Dr Richard Piper, previously of Roald Dahl's Marvellous Medicine Children's Charity.[5] Richard Sumray is chair of the trustees.[6]


Annual campaigns[edit]

In May 2012, Alcohol Concern began promoting Dry January, a national campaign in the UK for people to give up drinking alcohol for the month of January each year. The first Dry January was in 2013.[7] The idea came from Emily Robinson, who gave up alcohol for January 2011 in preparation for a half marathon and joined Alcohol Concern in January 2012 while abstaining again.[8] Public Health England began promoting the campaign in December 2014.[9] In January 2018, a YouGov survey estimated that 3.1 million people in Britain were attempting Dry January.[10][11]

The Charity also organises Alcohol Awareness Week each year. Alcohol Awareness Week 2017 was 13–19 November and had the theme "Alcohol and Families". It was arranged in partnership with substance abuse charity Adfam.[12][13]


Alcohol Concern runs Drinkline (0300 123 1110), a drink helpline.[14] It also provides training and education for businesses about alcohol use.[15]

Its three-year project Communities Together, from 2014 to 2017, was a National Lottery-funded project encouraging healthy alcohol use in Fishguard and Goodwick in Wales, intended to develop harm-reduction approaches that can be expanded to other communities.[16][17] Initiatives forming part of the project included an "alcohol-free" beer festival, held on Saint David's Day at Fishguard and Goodwick Rugby Club.[18]

The Blue Light Project, supported by Public Health England, aims to reduce the financial burden caused by alcohol on public services, focusing on users of alcohol who have been resistant to the usual methods of treatment provision.[19]


Alcohol Concern campaigns for the prohibition of or tight restriction of alcohol advertising and co-ordinates the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council which advocates enforcement of existing regulations.[20][21][22] It also campaigns for a legal minimum price of alcohol per unit[23] and other restrictions on alcohol promotion within stores,[24] as well as a reduction of the legal drink driving limit.[25]

Alcohol Concern acts as the secretariat and public enquiry point for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, which exists to discuss alcohol-related issues and make related recommendations to government. As of July 2015 the chair of the group was Fiona Bruce MP.[26]


Alcohol Concern receives funding from donations and from funding bodies including the Big Lottery Fund.[27] In the financial year to 31 March 2016 it had a combined income of £953,100 and spending of £1,000,000. It had £417,300 total assets and £213,000 total liabilities.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Launch of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance: a new coalition calling for tougher measures on alcohol". Eurocare. European Alcohol Policy Alliance. 23 November 2007. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ Sharman, Alice (25 July 2017). "Chief executive appointed to lead newly merged alcohol charity". Civil Society. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Alcohol Change UK launched as new national charity to reduce alcohol harm". Alcohol Policy UK.
  4. ^ "Alcohol support services". Drinkaware. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  5. ^ Haghpanah, Nusha (19 July 2017). "Dr Richard Piper appointed new CEO of Alcohol Research UK". Alcohol Concern. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Alcohol Concern". Charity Commission. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  7. ^ Crane, Helen (9 January 2015). "Digital Campaign of the Week: Alcohol Concern's Dry January". Third Sector. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Dry January - Our Story". Alcohol Concern. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  9. ^ "PHE encourages people to sign up to Dry January". 19 December 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  10. ^ Pettier, Olivia (2 January 2018). "Dry January Sees More Than Three Million People Giving Up Alcohol". Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Are you having a Dry January? How to get through the month without drinking, and how it could help your health". The Daily Telegraph. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  12. ^ Morris, James (20 September 2017). "Alcohol Awareness Week 2017, 13-19 November: 'Alcohol and Families'". Alcohol Policy UK. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Alcohol Awareness Week". National Awareness Days. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Alcohol misuse". NHS Choices. Retrieved 10 January 2018. Alcohol Concern – runs the national drink helpline, Drinkline
  15. ^ "Workplace services - what we do". Alcohol Concern. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Community work". Alcohol Concern. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  17. ^ Hotchin, Becky (27 March 2017). "Spirit of Fishguard and Goodwick Communities Together project to continue". Western Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  18. ^ Smith, Mark (22 February 2017). "Wales is hosting its first ever alcohol-free beer festival". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Alcohol Concern's Blue Light project. Working with change-resistant drinkers". National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. ^ Sweeney, Mark (19 October 2010). "Charity calls for ban on alcohol ads on pre-watershed TV and online". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Charity Calls For Ban On Alcohol Advertising". Sky News. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  22. ^ Cassidy, Sarah (16 May 2012). "Alcohol adverts 'target teenagers' despite strict code". The Independent. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  23. ^ Boyle, Danny (26 March 2016). "Britain's love of gin sees number of UK distilleries double". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Alcohol Concern wants supermarket drink restrictions". BBC News. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Drink-driving: Doctors' alliance calls for cut to limit". BBC News. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Register Of All-Party Groups | Alcohol Harm". 30 July 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Alcohol Concern". Big Lottery Fund | Projects funded. Retrieved 10 January 2018.

External links[edit]