The council’s public health team is supporting Alcohol Concern’s annual Dry January campaign and encouraging businesses across the city to get involved.
Health experts know that taking part in Dry January is good for your liver - as well as your bank balance and waistline - and people who try it also often report getting a better night’s sleep. Evidence shows that taking part could have long lasting positive effects, with some people still drinking less six months on.
This year’s challenge coincides with Bristol’s Big Drink Debate which is a survey of attitudes to alcohol in the city. More than 1,000 people have already responded and you can have your say until the end of January.
Councillor Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for city health and wellbeing, said: “With a new year often comes new resolutions, and for some of us that includes cutting down on the booze for Dry January. This year we’re supporting businesses to get involved so that staff can feel the benefits of cutting down on alcohol for a month. The campaign lends itself well to team challenges and employees can support one another and compare progress. It’s great to see Dry January becoming an annual fixture in the health calendar.”
Support on offer for businesses from the public health team includes informative lunchtime talks as well as training to support their staff.
Research shows that up to 17 million working days are lost each year due to alcohol-related sickness, which costs employers up for £1.7 billion pounds each year in sick days. The total annual cost to the economy is estimated to be £7.3bn (2009/10 prices). In Bristol alone, that could equate to around £60m per year.
One of the businesses encouraging staff to take part in Dry January this year is Icon Films. Tracy Patfield, Operations Manager, said: “Here at Icon Films, health and wellbeing is really important to us. With tight schedules, strict deadlines and multiple demands – we work hard to support staff in being happy and healthy whilst they work with us.
“As part of our ongoing wellbeing programme, January is a good time to think and revaluate healthy living, and as part of that we invited Bristol City Council’s public health team to talk to us about alcohol.
“The talk was great and gave us a good balance of information, including the latest news and changes and interesting facts and figures. It’s important that staff feel informed but aren’t patronised and I would recommend it to other businesses.”
There are some simple ways for businesses to get involved such as printing off resources for their staff from http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/dry-january-workplace.
Visit http://www.bristol.gov.uk/bristolsbigdrinkdebate to have your say in the Big Drink Debate. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @bccpublichealth and using the hashtag #BristolDrinkDebate.
 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (June 2010), 'Business case: Alcohol-use disorders:
preventing harmful drinking', p. 13. Referenced here: http://www.ias.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Factsheets/Alcohol%20in%20the%20workplace%20factsheet%20March%202014.pdf
 Home Office (November 2012), 'Impact Assessment on a minimum unit price for alcohol', p. 5
 This figure is calculated using the the employed population of the UK in 2014 (30,726,000 (ONS, 2015) and the employed population of Bristol in 2014 (217,300 – State of Bristol, key facts 2015, BCC) Using the BoE inflation calculator to account for 2009/10 prices on which the £7.3bn figure is calculated. http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/resources/inflationtools/calculator/index1.aspx)