Charities set alcohol challenge

As party-goers prepare to nurse their New Year hangovers, health charities are urging people to consider staying off alcohol for the rest of the month.

8d78d558-7166-11e3-8a9a-0a0c0223000020131231T063542
Two charities are encouraging people to give up alcohol for January

As party-goers prepare to nurse their New Year hangovers, health charities are urging people to consider staying off alcohol for the rest of the month.

Both Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research UK are encouraging people to go without drink throughout January.

The charities each run fundraising campaigns which see participants sponsored for staying sober.

Alcohol Concern's Dry January 2014 encourages people to avoid alcohol for 31 days and aims to " get people talking and thinking about their drinking".

People who take part could " lose weight, feel better, save money and make a difference", the charity said.

A spokeswoman said thousands have already signed up to the challenge.

She said that the campaign is aimed at social drinkers whose alcohol consumption may have "crept up on them".

Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern, said: "Many of us think the way we drink isn't a problem, but even having just a few beers after work or a few glasses of wine at home too often can take you over safe limits and store up problems for the future.

"We're challenging people to take part in Dry January and try giving up booze for 31 days, and if it sounds like a big ask you're exactly the person we want to join us and have a go.

"It's not about never drinking again, it's just the perfect opportunity for all of us to take a breather and get thinking about our drinking."

She added: "We think people will feel better, sleep better, save money and they may also lose weight.

"In 2013, more than 80% of the people we surveyed who took part in Dry January said they would drink less during the rest of the year as a result of their experience."

Cancer Research UK's campaign, Dryathlon, is encouraging participants to become "dryathletes" by staying off booze for 31 days while receiving sponsorship from friends and family members.

The 2013 Dryathlon campaign saw 35,000 "dryathletes" raise in excess of £4 million for the charity.

Anthony Newman, director of marketing at Cancer Research UK, said: "We know giving up alcohol and taking part in Dryathlon will really test some people's willpower, but we also know it's something lots of people already do successfully.

"So, whether you're already planning to give up alcohol for January or looking to take on an extra challenge in the New Year, why not sign up to Dryathlon and swap your lager for a latte, safe in the knowledge that the money you raise will be helping us to beat cancer sooner."