New Horizons grant awards announced, exploring new areas of alcohol harm

Lucy Holmes | January 2021 | 10 minutes

We are thrilled to announce the four research studies funded under our New Horizons grant programme, following our open call for applications in May 2020.

Our New Horizons grants programme for academic research is focused on developing a greater understanding of 'Groups, Communities and Alcohol Harm'.

The New Horizons Programme

With a focus on new topics, new areas, new theories and domains, and challenging orthodoxies, the New Horizons grants programme for academic research will push forward new horizons in alcohol harm research. 

We chose the theme of ‘Groups, Communities and Alcohol Harm’ because, at Alcohol Change UK, we see first-hand how identity formation and re-formation is a consistent theme in discussions about drinking. Culture, identity and meaning are universal themes in people’s descriptions of their attempts to change their drinking. We need to understand more about drinking practices, norms, discourses and frames in different groups, about the role of personal and group identities, and the socio-psychological and cultural processes at play. Crucially, we need to understand how all of these help or hinder change towards healthier drinking practices.

The New Horizons funded projects

The four projects we will be funding from April 2021 are:

1. Supporting solutions for South Asian women: Developing models for substance use support

This study will explore how culture, religion and gender help or hinder women’s access to support, as well as practitioners’ perspectives on current service provision. Focussing on London and Birmingham, the study will collaborate with South Asian women to produce a good practice model of support, including a service self-assessment so alcohol services can monitor how they support South Asian women, and potentially, other marginalised groups.

The research team is:

  • Dr Sarah Fox, Research Associate, Substance Use and Associated Behaviours Research Group, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Sarah Galvani, Professor of Substance Use and Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Ms Naima Iqbal, independent peer researcher

2. Exploring communities of belonging around drink

This project will explore how alcohol affects people’s experience of belonging to marginalised groups in the North of England.

The researchers will explore the notion of ‘a community of belonging’ around drinking. They will focus on stories of belonging with members of marginalised groups where alcohol may play a part in the group identity, either as social glue or source of stigma. Their research will work with LGBT+, South Asian, and Eastern European communities in both rural and urban settings. The team will train local community researchers from the communities involved to work on the project.

The research team is:

  • Mr Pete Nelson, Principal Lecturer, Department of Social Work Social Care and Community Studies, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Dr Sharon Tabberer, Director, Arc Research and Consultancy Ltd, Sheffield 
  • Mr Andy Maddison, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager (Alcohol, Drugs & Homelessness), Public Health England, Leeds
  • Dr Marelize Joubert, Principal Lecturer, Department of Social Work Social Care and Community Studies, Sheffield Hallam University 
  • Ms Ruth Bastin, Practice Consultant, Sheffield Hallam University and Social Work Consultant, Sheffield City Council

3. Telling our own stories: an exploratory study of alcohol use and harm by people who identify as Roma, Gypsies and Travellers

This is a peer research project exploring experiences of alcohol harm among people of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. This project is important because Gypsies and Travellers are one of the largest and most long-established minority ethnic groups in the UK, who experience extreme discrimination and poor health outcomes. Peer researchers will work with the academic research team in beginning the process of exploring cultural norms of drinking, and recorded digital studies will provide a resource to inform health promotion.

The research team is:

  • Professor Louise Condon, Professor of Nursing, Swansea University and Swansea Bay University Health Board
  • Dr Filiz Celik, Tutor of Psychology at Swansea University and Systemic and Family Psychotherapist (UKCP accredited) for Hywel Dda University Health Board
  • Ms Suzy Hargreaves, Public Health Researcher at University of Salford and PhD candidate at Liverpool John Moores University
  • Ms Sam Worrall, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller advocacy worker.

4. Understanding the association between mental health and alcohol use in Black, Asian and Minority ethnic groups

This mixed-methods study will look at drinking patterns and motivations among people from different Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds with mental health problems. The researchers will analyse population level data to i) determine how the relationship between alcohol and mental health may differ across ethnic groups and ii) investigate differences between ethnic groups in the number of people with a mental disorder who drink harmfully. They will then conduct interviews with specific groups (selected based upon the findings from the population data) to understand how alcohol may be been used to cope with their mental health difficulties, how these behaviours may have changed as a result of the level of mental health treatment experienced, and how discrimination and racism may be linked to how much they drink.

The research team is:

  • Dr Laura Goodwin, Senior Lecturer in the Epidemiology of Mental Health and Addiction and Lead for the Addiction Research Group, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, King’s College London
  • Professor Ross Coomber, Professor of Criminology & Sociology, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Juliana Onwumere, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, King’s College London
  • Dr Suzanne Gage, Senior Lecturer in Psychology – Epidemiology, Health Behaviours and Genetic Factors, University of Liverpool
  • Ms Jo-Anne Puddephatt, PhD student, Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool

How will the research be used?

We intend for the New Horizons programme to deliver fresh, innovative and future-facing research. We aim to create impact in two ways: 

  1. We will actively support the research teams to share their results with people who can act on the findings, changing policy or practice in response. 
  2. We will support the research teams to work together and will curate a programme-wide output that brings together common themes and collective learning. 

We will bring the research teams together throughout the programme to share ideas, inform one another’s research designs, share emerging findings, and scrutinise and challenge each other’s work. This will allow the New Horizons programme to achieve collective impact across the programme in addition to the impact of individual projects. 

We will invite research teams to provide regular updates and news for our supporters throughout the lifetime of their New Horizons grants.

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