Big Lottery Fund seek lead partner to manage £25 million programme

The Big Lottery Fund is today seeking a lead partner to manage and deliver a new £25 million UK-wide programme, Rethink Good Health, to tackle late onset of alcohol misuse amongst older people.

It is estimated that over 1.4 million or over 14% of older men and women in the UK drink over safe limits.

In England in 2012/13 there were more admissions to hospital of pensioners for alcohol-related injuries and illness than of 16 to 24 year olds.

Alcohol misuse amongst older people is a growing concern amongst health professionals placing increasing demands on relationships, community services and the NHS.

In March this year Dr Tony Rao, a consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust found between 2002 and 2012 hospital admissions in people aged 60-74 for mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol had risen by 150% from 3,247 to 8,120.

Dr Sarah Wadd, programme director substance misuse and ageing research, Tilda Goldberg Centre, Institute of Applied Social Research, University Bedfordshire said: “Evidence suggests that the UK may be facing an epidemic of alcohol-related harm amongst older people.

"An estimated 1.4 million people aged 65 and over currently exceed recommended drinking limits and the large number of people born in the post-World War II economic boom period, the so-called ‘baby-boomers’, are moving into old age drinking relatively high levels of alcohol compared to previous generations.

"Despite the increasing levels of alcohol-related harm in older people, alcohol prevention, screening and treatments remain geared toward younger people.

"The huge boost that the Big Lottery Fund will give to this area has the potential to lead to a significant reduction in alcohol-related harm in older people, enable them to live healthier, more active and independent lives and reduce distress to families and carers.”

Rethink Good Health aims to inform policy and practice about preventing alcohol dependency in later life; improve health and wellbeing of people aged 50 and over who are at risk of developing alcohol dependency and finally; inform more effective service delivery to prevent alcohol dependency amongst an ageing population.

The Big Lottery Fund will make a £25 million award to one partnership to develop a portfolio of projects which will also generate learning to influence and inform policy and practice in preventing alcohol misuse amongst older people aged 50 and over.

The scale and scope of the investment means that the award will be made to a partnership of voluntary and community organisations that can work together, drawing upon wide ranging expertise to deliver projects and interventions that provide a wider evidence base of what works for policy makers and practitioners.

Potential UK leads have until 24 October 2013 to submit their first stage application.

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund chair, said: “Most older people drink moderately and nobody is suggesting for a moment that older people should be discouraged from enjoying a well earned pint or a glass of wine relaxing with family or friends. There is a lot said about young people and binge drinking, but evidence is emerging about the problems of older people as they experience life changing events such as retirement, redundancy or bereavement.

“Today’s Big Lottery Fund £25 million investment will help call time on this trend by supporting evidence based preventative approaches to alcohol misuse amongst older people.”

The successful UK lead partner will be expected to develop an overall strategy and manage a portfolio of around 15-20 individual projects across the UK that either replicate existing projects that have demonstrated impact or are new projects which demonstrate innovation in this area.

This article was taken from Charity Times – http://www.charitytimes.com/ct/Big_Lottery_Fund_lead_partner_25_million_programme.php%20.php