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Funding awarded to 23 projects to help those affected by alcohol

Local authorities across the country will use £6 million funding to increase access to alcohol treatments, with a focus on helping parents and rough sleepers.

A £6 million capital fund has today, Friday 22 March 2019, been awarded to 23 projects across the country enabling local authorities to invest in improving services and facilities for people with alcohol problems.

This is the fourth time Public Health England (PHE) has led a programme of supporting alcohol and drug treatment and recovery through capital funding. Alcohol misuse costs society £21 billion each year, and effective alcohol treatment can help to reduce the burden placed on health and social care services.

By providing capital funding, local authorities can prioritise alcohol treatment, invest in equipment and facilities and ensure that treatment expertise is enhanced to better meet the needs of people with alcohol problems.

The call for bids this year particularly focused on improving access to alcohol treatment and meeting the needs of parents, or people experiencing rough sleeping, who have alcohol problems.

Last year over 2,000 adults in treatment for alcohol had urgent housing problems, and 43% of those sleeping rough in London during 2017 to 2018 were found to have alcohol misuse problems.

Several winning bids focused on improving the quality and availability of services for people sleeping rough. Lancashire will provide dedicated treatment spaces in Preston, Lancaster and East Lancashire and Oxfordshire will develop a dedicated alcohol centre within the ‘Oxford Homeless Hub’ as well as a clinical space in the Salvation Army Homelessness Hub to help boost more successful interventions.

Bids from Portsmouth, Derby, Nottingham and South Gloucestershire will provide additional beds for those sleeping rough in need of alcohol treatment to improve the rate of successful recovery.

PHE’s treatment figures show that there are 34,000 parents in treatment for alcohol problems, 16,000 of whom live with 28,000 children. Current estimates predict that 120,000 parents with alcohol problems have 200,000 children living with them.

Winning bids focussing on parents came from Brent, Croydon, Oxfordshire, Newcastle, and Wolverhampton. In Newcastle, an existing family centre will be re-developed and co-located with a Barnardo’s family support team to improve integrated care.

Whereas in Croydon, the funding will be used to build an alcohol assessment centre at a new Family Centre to target vulnerable families - and in Wolverhampton, the existing alcohol services building will be redeveloped into a multiple-agency families hub that can act as a ‘home from home’ for vulnerable families.

In addition to projects focusing on those most vulnerable in our society, some winning bids had a wider focus on improving the availability and removing the stigma around alcohol treatment services to increase the number of people entering and succeeding in alcohol treatment.

Birmingham will establish new accessible alcohol support services in the heart of communities and Stoke-on-Trent will introduce new points of access, such as breakfast clubs, in community venues and hospitals with the aim of 1000 people getting into treatment by 2021.

Seven winning projects across the country will be using the grant to purchase FibroScan machines to allow for rapid identification of those with existing liver disease. and provide additional motivation for patients to engage with treatment services.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister said:

We are determined to protect the most vulnerable in society from harm that can be caused by alcohol addiction and abuse. That’s why I’m pleased to be awarding these government funded grants today, which will fund innovative, locally led solutions to alcohol addiction up and down the country.

This work will make a real difference to those most at risk - from people sleeping rough on our streets, to the thousands of children affected by their parents’ alcohol problems.

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco at PHE, said:

Alcohol misuse causes significant harm to society and can tear people’s lives apart. The outstanding range of exciting and innovative local projects that we are funding will make a real difference to communities, across the country, with an important focus on helping those that are most vulnerable in our society.

We want to encourage more people, particularly parents and people sleeping rough, to access treatment by making facilities more suitable for their needs and removing the stigma around receiving treatment.

For further information contact Georgia Featherston at PHE press office


The winning bids to be granted funding are:

Capital fund

This fund has been running since 2013 to 2014 and has allowed PHE to support 158 projects (at an average of £200 to 250k per project) supporting the recovery of people dependent on alcohol and drugs.

Eastern England

  • Peterborough: purchasing a bespoke, multi-purpose vehicle that can increase provisions to high risk and hard to engage groups

East Midlands

  • Derby: increasing the number of beds available for alcohol-using rough sleepers, and providing a place where they can engage with treatment services
  • Nottingham: creating a dedicated space in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, funding a mobile FibroScan machine and the development of 8 ‘Housing First’ accommodation for homeless people with a primary alcohol problem


  • Brent: improving their facilities by redesigning waiting areas and providing a separate space for alcohol-using parents attending appointments with children, purchasing a FibroScan machine and providing an online resource providing remote support for employed alcohol users
  • Croydon: building a new Alcohol Assessment and Treatment Clinic at a new, multi-agency Family Centre which will target vulnerable families
  • Hillingdon: refurbishing a welfare room, providing access to ICT for homeless and rough sleeping clients that are alcohol dependent and purchasing a FibroScan machine

North East

  • Newcastle: redeveloping existing family centre, providing substance misuse services to be co-located with existing Barnado’s family support team to allow for integrated care
  • North Tyneside: relocating current integrated alcohol and drug treatment service to a refurbished bespoke facility in a more mainstream location, to reduce the stigma associated with receiving treatment and increase the number of people seeking treatment by 10%
  • Middlesbrough: refurbishing existing ‘Middlesbrough Alcohol Centre of Excellence’ (MACE) to make it fit for purpose and procuring a vehicle to provide outreach and transportation to and from the MACE centre as required

North West

  • Cheshire and Merseyside: purchasing 5 FibroScan machines to be used in primary care, community and acute settings to increase the identification of problematic drinkers and improve access to treatment
  • Lancashire: providing clinical and therapeutic spaces for homeless people experiencing multiple disadvantages at Preston, Lancaster and East Lancashire, refurbishing identified spaces in Lancaster, Academy Burnley and Blackburn and purchasing a mobile vehicle to increase engagement and access to treatment
  • Manchester: adding a Fibroscan machine to an existing clinical van to take testing and intervention services into local communities

South East

  • Oxfordshire: developing a dedicated alcohol centre within the existing ‘Oxford Homeless Hub’, providing a dedicated stand-alone alcohol service, developing alcohol resources within family-focused community venues across the county and developing a dedicated clinical space for alcohol interventions within the Salvation Army Homelessness Hub in Bicester
  • Portsmouth: purchasing a shop front building and flats to provide counselling and treatment rooms and single rooms in shared accommodation to increase the number of high-risk individuals accessing treatment and improving the rate of successful alcohol treatment completions
  • West Sussex: redeveloping a resource hub in Bognor Regis for rough sleepers or those vulnerably housed within Bognor and the surrounding areas and funding IT equipment and database software to enable the recording and tracking of this population

South West

  • Bath and North East Somerset: securing and refurbishing a new treatment facility to complement existing facility and enable a systems redesign and targeted approach to increase the number of alcohol clients by 40%
  • South Gloucestershire: purchasing a 4 bedroom house to be used as a dry house with one room used for community detoxes

West Midlands

  • Birmingham: refurbishing and setting-up 4 new locally based family friendly recovery hubs to deliver improved access to alcohol treatment and reduce the significant unmet alcohol need in Birmingham
  • Stoke-on-Trent: setting up a separate entrance, waiting room, and clinical area within the hospital for people with alcohol problems, setting up a breakfast club for rough sleepers to make them more familiar with available alcohol services and developing online support and mobile pods for use in GPsurgeries
  • Wolverhampton: improving facilities and access to alcohol treatment by modernising treatment rooms and making it a multi-agency families hub for families experiencing alcohol dependency with multiple and complex needs to come together

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Bradford: buying and refurbishing new premises to set up a safe and non-stigmatising environment for over 150 alcohol and drug users each year
  • Hull: refurbishing existing ‘Alcohol Hub’ to increase effectiveness in responding to the need of alcohol users, upgrading the current health and wellbeing van to enable assessments and treatment across all localities and acquiring relevant equipment for GP practices
  • Leeds: extending the existing programme of alcoholic liver disease testing through the purchase of 3 FibroScan machines
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