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Funding boost for NI health campaigns

Londonderry has received almost £2m in lottery money to tackle alcohol abuse and binge drinking, which is affecting children as young as 11.

The Big Lottery Fund's "Safe and Well" programme is donating £17m to 18 projects across Northern Ireland to help people of all ages work together to promote wellbeing and tackle health and safety issues.

Of this, £1m will be used to help the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum develop the Neighbourhood Alcohol Safety Partnership project.

The project aims to promote the safe sale and consumption of alcohol in the area and it works alongside local bar and off licence owners to tackle problems related to excess consumption.

Project manager, Tony Doherty, said: "Prolonged drinking and binge drinking have become more common than ever in the city.

"Alcohol causes major damage to the social fabric of the city, has a close link to domestic violence and suicide and is generally considered to be a situation that is out of control."

The funding comes after research found that children in the city start drinking at around 11 or 12 years of age.

It is hoped that the forum can develop education and training programmes highlighting the physical, mental, domestic and community damage caused by alcohol abuse.

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Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum