What we do

There is no silver bullet when it comes to addressing alcohol harms. However, learning from tobacco control and the evidence-base around public health, there needs to be a multi-strand approach to alcohol harm reduction.

Balance has worked on this evidence-based approach since the programme’s launch in 2009. We highlight and address the unprecedented harms of alcohol and outline workable and tangible solutions.

Highlighting how alcohol harms our region and what we need to do to reduce consumption are key parts of Balance’s work.

With partners we shine a light on the impact of alcohol on the NHS and health, social care, inequalities, crime, community safety and the economy.

We strive to keep abreast of the international evidence base including developments from the World Health Organisation and other key organisations, such as Eurocare (of which Balance is a member) and the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance.

The problems are clear. Alcohol is too cheap, too heavily promoted and too available. We are calling for an evidence-based national alcohol strategy which addresses the rising alcohol harm we see and outlines workable and tangible solutions.

We also need clear information on alcohol products and for people to be informed of the health risks as alcohol is one of the primary commercial determinants of ill health.

Balance has developed regional media campaigns which have been seen by millions and achieved international recognition. We have seen evidence of behaviour change with nearly half of North East drinkers trying to take steps to cut down and support for policies rising along with awareness of the risks of alcohol.

We have a strong advocacy focus and work with real life champions whose lives have been affected by alcohol and frontline professionals from health and emergency services to make the case for action. We ensure that the North East has a strong voice to call on the national government to introduce the type of legislation we know reduces alcohol harms. See our Advocacy page.

Key Strands

Local engagement and support

Balance works in partnership across the region with local government and partners in the NHS and emergency services to promote effective and evidence-based approaches to alcohol harm reduction.

Advocacy

Highlighting how alcohol harms our communities and giving a voice to people affected are pivotal parts of Balance’s work.

Media and communications

Balance has extensive experience in delivering messages to millions, having run a variety of award winning campaigns since our launch in 2009.

Social norms around alcohol and challenging the industry

Marketing over many decades has positioned drinking as desirable, attractive, something to make us feel more fun, more alive and more popular.

Data, research and public opinion

If we are to reduce alcohol harm it is vital to know how people in our region drink, how much, why people drink above the limits and how aware people really are about alcohol.

Reducing exposure of children to alcohol

Alcohol has a massive impact on children and families. Evidence is now clear alcohol advertising encourages children to drink at earlier ages and in greater quantities.

Alcohol regulation and licensing

As with tobacco, evidence shows that harm reduction at a population level relies on effective regulation.

Alcohol is driving harm across the North East

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead and Alcohol Policy Lead for the Association of Directors of Public Health, explains how regi0nal working at population level is addressing alcohol harm in the North East.