First blog ever on Care2! Excited and hope everyone checks in as often as possible because this is such an important issue but unfortunatly not many people seem to care. My name is Danielle and I have just started my new job in AddictionNI.
I thought it would be good to blog from the perspective of a very underfunded charity. The hardest part about my job is that drugs and alcohol are not really seen as a charitable cause but that is starting to change. Addiction is seen as shameful and is often hidden away and the results of abuse, self harm, suicide, crime, unemployment and health implications are ignored.
Addiction NI is an alcohol and drug treatment charity based in Northern Ireland, one in four families here are affected by addiction. Alcohol abuse is a serious issue in Northern Ireland, some say its the legacy of The Troubles, others say its unemployment in certain communitities-whatever the reason alcohol alone costs Northern Ireland 900Million every year. Let's be honest thats money we really don't have!
November 14-20 was Alcohol Awareness Week in the Uk so I decided to try and get some PR and do some activities. I put out a few good press releases to the local media with different takes on alcohol i.e. the cost to employers, affects on the health system. Whatever I can think of While the news wasn't picked up it got the attention of some journalists anyway and I got the Director-my boss on the local news station, so snaps for me. http://www.u.tv/utvplayer/video/140666/115212. I was really pleased when the Health Minister of Northern Ireland agreed to come in and see Addiction NI Director, Dr Claire Armstrong. He could only stay for 10mins but it gave us the photo you can see with this blog. Unfortunatly other stories broke in the news and it wasn't featured in anything!
For a charity it is important to have good political contacts and one of my objectives is to increase the political profile of Addiction NI. So I organised an Alcohol Information Seminar to conclude Alcohol Awareness Week. Just my luck that Stormont-the local parliment here announces their new plan for governance and everyone who had RSVP's to my event didn't show up! Two local councillors came and were very attentive and sympathetic to the cause but I was disapointed more didn't come.
Overall a fairly good effort. Addiction NI is a really small charity and my role covers fundraising, PR, marketing and event and volunteer management. All on my own, so call back to hear more about my endeavors!