Alcohol plays a significant role in our social lives and in our economy.  It provides enjoyment, employment, generates tax revenue and stimulates the night-time economy.

Although the majority of people who drink do so moderately, alcohol consumption has doubled over the past 40 years. As a result, alcohol is the leading risk factor for deaths among men and women aged 15–49 years in the UK, and there are more than one million alcohol-related hospital admissions every year.

The harm from alcohol goes far beyond individual health affecting families, friends and communities; it contributes to violent crime, domestic violence and absence from work.

Know your units

The current UK guidelines advise limiting alcohol intake to 14 units a week for women and men. This is equivalent to drinking no more than 6 pints of average-strength beer (4% ABV) or 7 medium-sized glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV) a week.

You can find out more fact on alcohol units and a helpful unit calculator

Health risks of drinking too much

By making changes to our drinking behaviour we can become healthier and reduce our risk for many serious health conditions including cancer, mental health problems, and liver disease.

For more facts on the health risks associated with drinking alcohol:

Young people and alcohol: a guide for parents and carers

Many parents know drinking increases the risks of accidents, injuries, smoking and drug taking. But many are less aware of the damage alcohol can do to children’s developing brains, liver, bones and hormones, affecting their mood, their mental health and risking them falling behind at school.

Parents are encouraged to visit ‘whatstheharm’ campaign to find out about the facts and the myths about children and alcohol, and how best to have a conversation about alcohol with their child.

What are we doing?

We're committed to reducing alcohol-related harms and supporting a sensible drinking culture throughout the borough.

We're working together with a number of different organisations and have formed a Barnsley Alcohol Alliance. We have an Alcohol Plan in place, with seven priorities and a number of outcomes we want to achieve, including the following:

  • reducing the amount of people diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease;
  • reducing the amount of alcohol related hospital admissions,
  • reducing the amount of alcohol related crime and disorder;
  • reducing the amount of dependent drinkers;
  • increasing awareness and understanding of alcohol related harm across the Barnsley population

Minimum unit pricing

We're joining civic leaders across England in the call for an urgent introduction of a minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol. Evidence has shown that this could save almost 8,000 lives across the north of the country over the next 20 years.

MUP is designed to reduce the availability of very cheap, strong alcohol by setting a price below which a unit of alcohol can't be sold - 50p. The scheme has now been introduced in Wales, almost two years since it started in Scotland and weeks after England saw hospital admissions caused by alcohol reach a record level.

Research from the University of Sheffield has shown that a 50p MUP in England would see alcohol consumption in some areas in the north falling by almost twice the national average, leading to greater reductions in alcohol-related deaths, hospital admissions and crimes.

Find out more about MUP in Barnsley.

Where to get help for alcohol problems

Your GP is a good place to start if you're concerned about the amount of alcohol you're drinking.

Support is also available from our Alcohol and Drug service which can be accessed via self or professional referral. 

You can also get more information at Alcohol Change UK.

Night time economy

Barnsley’s night time economy keeps people flocking to the town and is a huge source of social and cultural capital; providing a number of licensed venues, and a space where you can socialise, unwind and relax. However, it is not simply the venues, the music and the infrastructure that keeps our night time environment vibrant, varied and an exciting place to be; it is the people that go out and enjoy it. Your health, wellbeing and safety remains a top priority for us. 

We aim to support your health, wellbeing and safety whilst out in the town centre at night and our work in this area was recognized in 2019 when we were awarded Purple Flag status. Purple Flag is an accreditation process similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag for beaches and is given to town and city centres that meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy.

Best Bar None (BBN) scheme

One successful scheme we’ve adopted in Barnsley; which helped us to achieve the Purple Flag status; is the National Best Bar None (BBN) scheme.

The BBN scheme is designed to promote good practice, leading to a better customer experience. BBN maintains and raises standards and rewards good management of those venues that attain the award. This scheme is delivered at a local level by active partnerships between the night time economy industry, Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police.

The BBN awards are based on core national standards with flexibility to ensure they address local needs and assessments of licensed premises are carried out by trained assessors to ensure consistency of approach.

The 2018 local scheme created a ‘buzz’ among town centre venues following the awards ceremony and the launch of the 2019 scheme saw 32 town centre venues express an interest in applying and engaging in the assessment process. In 2019, 23 venues went through the assessment process and gained accreditation; a 69% participation and accreditation increase on 2018. The 2020 scheme was launched January with a target of increasing participation in the scheme further; with an aim of 70% of town centre licenced premises becoming accredited.