Drinkers in South Tyneside are challenged to ditch the booze for 31 days

People are encouraged to give up alcohol for 31 days.

People are encouraged to give up alcohol for 31 days.

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Drinkers in South Tyneside are being challenged 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 South Tyneside Council and partners around the region, Balance is promoting the many alcohol-free local activities and attractions that the borough has to offer.

As well as all the hidden gems you can discover, anyone accepting the Dry January challenge can 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 the rate 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, with around 70,000 of these coming from the North East. Balance is now calling on people across South Tyneside to 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 alcohol 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.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: “Long-term alcohol misuse is a major risk factor for a wide range of serious conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer. As well as health problems, it can lead to social problems such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse and homelessness.

“We hope that as many people as possible take up the Dry January challenge and make the most of feeling great by visiting the numerous attractions that South Tyneside has to offer. The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, which is a new state-of-the-art cultural venue at the town’s Market Place has lots of exciting things going on and I would urge people to pay it a visit.

"We also have our beautiful coastline, green spaces and parks as well as our leisure centres such as Haven Point and Hebburn Central so there’s plenty to keep people busy when taking part in the challenge.”

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 www.dryjanuary.org.uk