Street drinkers offered help to stop

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Help is being offered to those struggling on the streets of Liverpool © Rann Lea

Help is being offered to those struggling on the streets of Liverpool © Rann Lea

Street drinkers in Liverpool are being offered help to turn their lives around.

Outreach workers contacted more than 180 people in the city centre and Kensington, offering advice and support about reducing drinking levels in a new project which aims to identify street drinkers and their needs.

The objective is to build working relationships and trust, while encouraging street drinkers to think about changing their lives and make them aware of the solutions and options available.

This potential life-saving project comes at a time when cheap alcohol prices are been banned across England and Wales. The ban, which will come into force on April 6th, aims to stop the worst instances of discounting alcohol, which in the past has resulted in cans of larger being sold more cheaply than water in some supermarkets.

David, a 46-year-old man with a long history of rough sleeping and street drinking, has changed his life around by the help of Outreach workers.

During the course of the project, David was seen by the ‘out of hours’ street drinker team on 67 occasions, each time building a relationship with the workers who managed to get him into accommodation and also encouraged to fast track him into an alcohol detox residential rehabilitation, where he has remained alcohol-free since December 16.

A spokesperson for Transforming Choice said “David is a joy to work with and will join our peer mentor programme to help others in a similar situation.”

David’s success story is sure to boost more people who are sleeping rough and street drinking to turn their lives around.

Councillor Peter Brennan, Mayoral Lead on Community Safety and Citysafe Board Chair, said: “The value of this project can be seen in the effect it has had on the lives of people like David. Many other people have been supported in reducing the levels of their drinking.”

Councillor Roz Gladden, Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “This project shows what can be achieved when agencies work together along with the work carried out by organisations like Transforming Choice… they are making a real difference to the lives of very many people.”

The results of the project are now being evaluated to consider the best way forward in engaging with and supporting street drinkers to change their lives for the better.

About Gemma Brezinski, JMU Journalism