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12 January 2021

Research project launched to assess the link between alcohol and a sense of belonging

Academics at Sheffield Hallam University are set to begin a £48,000 research project exploring how alcohol affects people’s experience of belonging to marginalised groups in the North of England

Press contact: Greg Mattocks-Evans | g.mattocks-evans@shu.ac.uk

A man in silhouette drinking an alcoholic drink in a bar.

Academics at Sheffield Hallam University are set to begin a two-year research project exploring how alcohol affects people’s experience of belonging to marginalised groups in the North of England.

Funded by a £48,000 grant from UK alcohol charity Alcohol Change and supported by Public Health England and local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber, the project will be run as a partnership between Sheffield Hallam University, ARC Research and Consultancy Ltd, and Leeds, Hull, Doncaster, North Lincolnshire local authorities and delivery organisations in Doncaster and Kirkless.

Researchers will explore the notion of ‘a community of belonging’ around drinking, focussing on stories of belonging within marginalised groups where alcohol may play a part in the group identity, either as social glue or source of stigma.

The team will train local community researchers from the communities involved to work on the project including LGBT+, South Asian, and Eastern European communities in both rural and urban settings. 

How does the community you belong to impact on health attitudes?

Pete Nelson, research lead for social work at Sheffield Hallam University said: “What is exiting about this project is that it brings together the University, private sector, Public Health England, local authorities, and community members to work together with groups that are often described as hard to reach but also easy to ignore in terms of service provision that meet their needs.

Dr Sharon Tabberer, Director of Arc Research and Consultancy Ltd said: “How does the community you belong to impact on health attitudes, culture and beliefs in relation to alcohol? How do health attitudes, culture and beliefs in relation to alcohol impact on the community you belong to?

“By working with different communities, in particular LGBT+, South Asian, and Eastern European communities, we hope to shed light on the link between a community of belonging and alcohol that will impact in terms of service provision and how we think about engagement with marginalised groups.”

Lucy Holmes, Director of Research and Policy at Alcohol Change UK said: "We chose the theme of 'Groups, Communities and Alcohol Harm' for our New Horizons funding programme because we recognise harmful drinking doesn’t only affect individuals but can also play a part in specific group identities.

“This study aims to provide important insights - in Yorkshire and the Humber and beyond - for anyone supporting those who need help with their drinking. We are particularly pleased that the multidisciplinary research team will work with community members and civil society partners to ensure any new discoveries and insights lead to real change in their communities."

The research runs until March 2023.

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