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Ministry of Cheer visits Bristol students to spread safer drinking messages

One of the Ministry of Cheer's posters urging sensible drinking during the festive period

One of the Ministry of Cheer's posters urging sensible drinking during the festive period NHS Bristol

Press release issued: 15 December 2011

A new campaign is urging students at Bristol University to keep their festive frivolities under control this Christmas. The Ministry of Cheer is touring local universities and colleges in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, aiming to help students make safer choices when indulging this winter.

The campaign was prompted by an annual rise in the number of people aged 18 to 30 going to hospital from November onwards because of alcohol-related accidents and many of these will be local students.

The Ministry of Cheer is part of NHS Bristol Public Health’s campaign to keep people out of hospital this winter through chatting to students about simple ways they can protect themselves from harm when drinking.

As part of the tour, which is also visiting UWE, Filton College and the City of Bristol College, students will be able to try on ‘beer goggles’ to experience what it is like to be drunk when sober. The tour will finish at the end of term when most students will be looking forward to enjoying the festive season without having to go to lectures or classes.

Sophie Bennett, Welfare and Equality Officer at the University of Bristol’s Students’ Union, said: “It has been fantastic working with the Ministry of Cheer here at the University of Bristol. The campaign is a really great way of highlighting the problems with excessive drinking, providing students with simple and effective ways to drink responsibly and all without attempting to tell people what they can or cannot do. It was great fun.”

Dr Emma Webb, lead GP on drug and alcohol problems at the Students' Health Service, said: “It is important that we support students to make sensible decisions about alcohol. A healthy attitude to drinking will prevent accidental injuries and significantly improve overall health.”

Hugh Annett, Bristol’s Director of Public Health for Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol, said: “The Ministry of Cheer is not about telling people what they can and can’t do, but about giving them all of the information they need to make their own decisions about when and how much alcohol they drink.

“We must trust people to drink responsibly.  We all know it is easy to get carried away over the festive season, but things can rapidly take a turn for the worse and, in some cases, an unnecessary trip to hospital might be on the cards.”