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People of Gateshead challenged to kick start 2017 with a booze-free month

Posted on Monday 19 December 2016

Balance, the North East Alcohol office, has joined forces with Gateshead Council to challenge people to start the New Year by ditching the booze for 31 days.

Alcohol Concern’s Dry January, now in its fifth year, asks people to put the excesses of the festive period behind them and start 2017 with a fresh, healthy approach. 

Alongside Gateshead Council and partners around the region, Balance is promoting the many alcohol-free activities and attractions across the North East that people can enjoy during a hangover free January, including visiting one of the many activities and groups at community hub, Pattinson House in the Nest and Old Ford Estates.

As well as all the making the most of hangover-free weekends, anyone accepting the Dry January challenge can also look forward to starting the year with better sleeping patterns, better skin, more energy, a smaller waistline and more money. 

For the last three years, the North East has led the way in terms of numbers of Dry January sign ups, with the highest proportion of people taking up the challenge, compared to any other region in the country. It’s estimated that around two million people nationally attempted the challenge last year, with around 70,000 of these coming from the North East.

Balance is now calling on people across Gatesheadto accept the Dry January challenge, and help put the North East at the top of the table again for 2017.

Sue Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “At a time when we’ve all overdone it a bit at Christmas and we’re looking to start a fresh in the New Year, Dry January is the perfect way to take some time out from alcohol and feel better all round. 

“Alcohol can make us more tired, anxious and less energised. Drinking above the recommended guidelines also puts us at more risk from around 60 different medical conditions, including at least seven different types of cancer.

“Whatever your motivation for taking part, a break from the drink for even just one month can have positive effects on our health, and, for many people, joining in Dry January encourages them to reassess their drinking habits and make positive long-term changes.

“As this years’ campaign shows, Dry January is also a great opportunity to get out and about with your friends and family, and see all the fantastic places the wider region has to offer. We’ll be providing people with lots of tips and ideas in the run up and throughout January and we want to hear your own ideas for great ways to spend a hangover free month.”

This year’s campaign is again supported by Gateshead Council, who is joining the calls for local people to take on the challenge.

Gateshead Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Mary Foy said: “Quite often we forget to think about how much alcohol we drink. Dry January is a great opportunity for us all to rethink our attitude towards alcohol and to remind ourselves that giving up alcohol, even for a short time, can have many benefits including improved sleep, better skin and weight loss all while saving money. 

“I would encourage everyone to give it a go, maybe with family or friends for support, so they can experience these benefits first hand and maybe consider reducing the amount of alcohol they drink in the future.”

To sign up to Dry January, find out more about the campaign and to access a wealth of support and advice, visit the Dry January website at