Dashing together to raise awareness for Alcohol Change UK

February 2023 | 8 minutes

When Paul McIntyre, the organiser of a monthly 5k in Nantwich, joined forces with Sarah Horton, one of Alcohol Change UK’s amazing new Community Champions, there was only ever going to be one winner…..Alcohol Change UK!

Each month the Dabbers Dash, a (not) ParkRun event, chooses and promotes a different charity to the local community and the participants. The January 2023 Dash was all about encouraging sign ups to Dry January® the campaign brought to you by Alcohol Change UK. They gave out leaflets and badges and free alcohol-free beer samples.

Paul, chair Nantwich Triathlon Club, is keen to show how sports clubs and communities are supporting Dry January® and to inspire others to raise awareness of Alcohol Change UK’s flagship behaviour change programme to increase participation.

“I have a big desire to get people in my community as active as I can for their health and our club has won regional awards off the national governing body for this.”

“I hold a monthly community run where run in the local park and invite anyone in my town to come and run with me. I've been doing this for 11 months this January. To encourage people to come out and run during winter, I've been engaging with events and causes which impact people in the cost-of-living crisis, post covid and health in general.”

Sarah, in her role as Community Champion, is a local in Nantwich and posted on social media that she wanted to get a better understanding of what alcohol-free things there are to do in the local area, and that how she found Paul. He said, “It's a small but growing market town and most shops close by 5-6pm. After that lots of evening leisure involves pubs with a sprinkling of other things here and there. So, we used this run to publicise what other alcohol-free activities there are. So far we found a table tennis club, a film club and other bits and pieces are coming out by the day.”

Sarah wanted to use her new voluntary role with Alcohol Change UK to use Dry January® as a springboard to challenge other parts of Nantwich to support alcohol free activity.

On her reason for becoming involved with Alcohol Change UK, she said:

“In 2020 I decided to try 28 days off the booze, because as much I loved a bottle of Prosecco and being a ‘happy, fun, wants to be pals with everyone’ drunk, I suffered from the worst hangover anxiety and beer fear. The last time I drank I kept bursting into tears for days afterwards because I just felt so down and that horrible pit of the stomach, cold sweats, anxiety. In lockdown especially, everything had become an excuse for a drink and so I was in an almost constant state of ‘hangxiety' - the way I felt after drinking eventually outweighed the fun.

After 28 days alcohol-free, I felt so much better that I decided to keep going. I’ve now been alcohol free for two and a half years.

It’s changed my life in so many ways. I hadn’t realised how much time, energy, money and mental health it was taking from me. In December I started a Sober Social group for those of us seeking events and friendships that don't involve alcohol - we’ve recently done an aerial yoga session and in February will be hosting a painting event. Paul reached out to let me know that his running group were promoting Dry January® by Alcohol Change UK so it seemed a great way to collaborate. We all had some brilliant conversations after the run about drinking, how it impacts fitness levels, and I was happy to share my experiences. Hopefully our group will join the runners on a regular basis!”

You can find the Facebook group for the Dabbers Dash here.

A massive thank you to Paul and Sarah, as well as all those that took on the Dash in January 2023 for your amazing support of Alcohol Change UK.

If you’re an individual or sports club/organisation, like Paul, that would like to fundraise for Alcohol Change UK, please contact the team to discuss how we can support you.

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If, like Sarah, you’d like to become a Community Champion you can reads more about how to get involved on our website.

Become a Community Champion