newsitemFollowing the success of last year’s ABI 100 Event at the Shire Hall in Monmouth GDAS decided to host a similar event this summer. On July 2nd 2015 a full house of 70 delegates filled the Haybarn at the Greenmeadow Community Farm to enjoy a day of training and networking. Tom Damsell and Lucy Clare trained delegates to deliver Alcohol Brief Interventions with a group whose alcohol use has been hidden for too long; the over 65 population.

( Left: Speakers L-R: Andrew Misell, Dr EfiMantzourani, Tom Damsell, Dr Julia Lewis, Lucy Clare )

We know that this group are susceptible to hiding their alcohol use and therefore not accessing services to get the help they need to make changes. The event was designed to help delegates feel more confident about using ABIs with the older people with whom they come into contact. Delegates ranged from social workers, to support workers at care homes, to community nurses, to commissioners through to volunteers in recovery. The delegates were also treated to fascinating talks from speakers on a range of topics. Andrew Misell from Alcohol Concern kicked off by looking at the confusing and contradictory relationship we have with alcohol in Wales. Dr EfiMantzourani from the Cardiff Pharmacy School then followed by discussing theoften harmful relationship between prescription and over the counter medication and alcohol. Finally, Dr Julia Lewis ended with an engaging presentation (with props) on how alcohol affects the brain. Feedback on every aspect of the morning was very positive

newsitem2Following a delicious lunch the Older People’s Outreach Campaign was launched by Dan Rowley from the GDAS Outreach Team. It started with a touching short film entitled ‘Just One Step’ direct

by GDAS Worker Ben Mawdsley. The film focused on Howard; a 68 year old man from Cwmbran who decided to make changes to his drinking later in life. Dan then announced our campaign target; 100 service users over 60 in alcohol treatment with GDAS by the end of 2015. We currently have 62. Leaflets have been designed, services are being targeted and networking is taking place to try and reveal and reduce some of the hidden damage that is being caused by alcohol misuse in the over 60s. A working group consisting of GDAS staff and older service users, chaired by Howard will meet monthly between now and the end of the year to ensure we are on course to meet our target. On the day delegates were asked to write down their own ideas on what GDAS can do to make their services more accessible for Older People. This feedback will be collated at the first meeting of the Working Group in August. We hope that this will be the first of many successful campaigns that will be run by the GDAS Outreach Team to try and engage hard to reach groups in Gwent.

Finally, Tom and Lucy would like to thank everyone who contributed to the event for their help and support; they are looking forward to the next one in 2016.