2019 was a landmark year for Drinkaware. We ramped up our activities and successes: reaching and engaging with more members of the general public than ever before; partnering with like-minded organisations that align with our mission to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol; and of particular significance, securing charity status, thus ratifying our charitable purpose and the public benefit we have continuously championed since formation. All of this and more achieved in just the first year of our 2019-2021 Strategy.
Our vision of an Ireland where alcohol is not misused is ambitious but also unwavering. Delivering it requires a commitment to research so that we can understand the extent of the issue of alcohol misuse in Irish society. This is not just about data, but is about people – what they think, why they behave as they do and critically, which populations are most at risk of experiencing harm and how behaviour change regarding alcohol can be enabled.
In 2019 we applied the evidence to effect progress, and we measured that progress by not just the outputs, but by the impacts. At Drinkaware we know that to deliver meaningful change, impacts must be sustained. Our sustainability is therefore reflected by our increasingly collaborative work with public and private sector organisations who share our vision. And who also believe that now is the time to shift the dial on Ireland’s long-standing complacent and complicit attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol misuse and harm once and for all.
The need for multi-faceted and widespread alcohol education is evident in national and international research and in 2019 Drinkaware evolved our parent, school, workplace and consumer resources to strengthen their ability to enable lasting behaviour change. Our national engagement is unrivalled in Ireland and with a small team of three full-time and three part-time staff, we had a presence at more than 20 public events, distributed tens of thousands of health promotion resources and reached millions online.
2019 has above all else highlighted the power of collaborative working and the strength of the charity sector, of which we are proud to be part, who continually champion this best practice approach towards positive change for a healthier Ireland.