Edinburgh start up offers support for those who need help in taking a break from alcohol for free during pandemic

An Edinburgh start up has sacrificed salaries to ensure a free services to support NHS Staff, frontline support workers, all key workers, the unemployed and anyone who needs additional help in taking a break from alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 5:00 pm
Ruari Fairbairns, founder and CEO of One Year No Beer.

The bold decision by One Year No Beer, which was created to transform individuals’ relationship with alcohol, follows reports that confirm alcohol sales in the UK are up 22 per cent in March.

Ruari Fairbairns, founder and CEO of One Year No Beer comments: “We are currently experiencing the worst global pandemic of our lifetime, which has caused two-thirds, if not more, of adults across the UK to experience anxiety. The major problem here is that people are using alcohol as a coping mechanism and this is probably the worst thing that they could do because it is a depressant. We want to help people to look after their mental health and live a better life.”

The brand’s plea follows a recent statement from a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert who warned that alcohol is an “unhelpful coping strategy” for the possible stress and isolation of coronavirus lockdown.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

She added: “The NHS is under increased pressure and this is only set to worsen in the next few weeks as we hit the peak, so in addition to this, the last thing we want people to do is incur any other alcohol-related health issues resulting in an urgent trip to hospital.

“Reducing your alcohol intake and making positive decisions about your health are both great ways to help keep the NHS safe and protect others, all from the safety of your home.”

Recent research has also revealed that there has been a huge rise in mental health calls, as well as GP's highlighting an increase in domestic violence and according to step counters, steps are down 50-100 per cent in Europe, suggesting that as a result of COVID-19, people are exercising less and drinking more.

Professor Kevin Moore, one of London's leading and most reputable liver specialists with more than 35 years of experience comments: “There is so much positive research and work going on right now in the fight against COVID-19, but it’s vital that people don’t overlook the hugely negative impact that alcohol could have during these challenging times.

“It is well known that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease and various cancers. What is less well known is that people who drink excess alcohol are more likely to develop pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

“That makes it almost certain that if you drink too much alcohol, you are more likely to develop COVID-19 and complications. Further since, alcohol impairs your immune system, if you develop COVID-19 infection, the chronic use of alcohol will impair your ability to recover from infection.”

One Year No Beer will offer its 28-day intervention programme free for all support staff, all key workers, all unemployed and anyone else who needs additional help during these challenging times.

The digital network, which has been designed to transform behaviour and support mental health, will also include full access to the Challenge Group community, offering daily support as well as online meetings.

Mr Fairbairns concludes: “We are giving away our 28-day challenge for free over the coming weeks because we genuinely believe that this is the right thing to do. We strongly believe that NOW, during this pandemic, is more important than ever to look after ourselves and one of the ways we can do this is by reducing our alcohol intake.

“Like most businesses right now, we are having to adjust to the current situation. Our team is working tirelessly to deliver this offering and I feel so grateful that all of our staff have agreed to take a salary sacrifice so that together, we can continue to support everyone in this time of need.”