I was really encouraged to see a Public Health England report this week which praised our efforts in reducing alcohol related hospital admissions, writes leader of Peterborough City Council, cllr John Holdich.
Every town and city in the country has problems with people drinking alcohol to excess – you only have to watch the television to know this. I remember a few years back regularly reading reports in this newspaper about individuals causing chaos on a Friday and Saturday night at A&E whilst intoxicated, threatening staff and other patients.
Reducing the number of alcohol related hospital admissions was the number one goal within the 2016-19 Peterborough Health and Wellbeing strategy, a document that partners across the city signed up to.
The figures in the Public Health England report that landed on my desk this week, show we have gone from being one of the worst performing cities for hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions to in-line with the national average.
There has been a big reduction in both men and women being treated for such conditions, so much so that the 622 admissions observed by staff at Peterborough City Hospital in 2017/18 was the lowest seen in the city since 2009/10.
This is a huge success and is the result of partners across the city working together with one goal in mind.
In recent years, a significant amount of work has taken place to ensure those drinking high-risk levels of alcohol are offered the support and intervention they need to avoid repeated visits to hospital, and long-term health issues.
That good work continues and has been boosted this year thanks to two successful funding bids totalling almost £100,000.
We’ve secured £72,000 from Public Health England which will, amongst other things, pay for a drug and alcohol outreach van to support hard-to-reach communities to reduce their substance dependency.
And following a successful bid to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, the specialist substance misuse treatment service CGL Aspire has been awarded £19,307 to provide a part-time drug and alcohol outreach worker to work with rough sleepers.
Around a quarter of rough sleepers have a substance misuse issue which makes it harder for them to leave the streets and build a better life, so this money will allow us to better support them.
Although we are clearly heading in the right direction and the efforts of our public health team and our partners are paying off, there is still much work to be done to be able to support more of our residents to improve their lives.
Only this week it was reported by this newspaper online that there has been a rise in the diagnosis of alcohol related cancers.
With the work we are doing to tackle alcohol abuse we should see these diagnoses reduce in time.
It’s a nervous time for young people who are awaiting their GCSE or A-Level results. Many will already know their next steps, but there will be others who need a helping hand.
If that’s you, pay a visit to our Youth Access Hub at 49 Lincoln Road. Staff there offer free independent help and support to 16 to 19 year-olds who are searching for jobs or want to improve their interview skills or boost their CVs. They can also give advice on things like applying for benefits and housing.
The hub is open Monday to Friday between 1pm – 4.30pm until August 23 and from Monday to Wednesday 1pm – 4.30pm from August 26 onwards. You can simply pop in or give them a call on 01733 864500.
If you’re ready to study for an apprenticeship, then a good place to start is the website for young people managed by The Skills Service – www.theskillsservice.co.uk/stand-out
You can find out about the many opportunities available, as well as volunteering roles and post-16 study options.
On that note, I’d like to congratulate eight of our Prevention and Enforcement Officers who have successfully completed an apprenticeship course with City College Peterborough.
The college offers a whole range of qualifications and learning opportunities to adult learners, which can help residents to gain confidence, employment or even just a new hobby.
Their autumn prospectus is now available online at www.citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk
A rare treat will be on display in our city from Monday – a giant 3D scale model of our planet.
Gaia is a seven metre diameter sphere, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface.
The man behind the creation is Luke Jerram who brought Museum Of The Moon to the city last year.
If you’d like to pay a visit, it will be on display at Peterborough Cathedral from Monday until 15 September.