Alcohol research study wins charity grant support

A Swansea University project has won funding to investigate the use of alcohol among people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds.

The Swansea team’s project was one of four selected to receive backing under charity Alcohol Change UK’s New Horizons grant programme which is supporting academic research to develop a greater understanding of groups, communities and alcohol harm.

Entitled Telling our own stories: an exploratory study of alcohol use and harm by people who identify as Roma, Gypsies and Travellers, the study will receive funding from April 2021.

Louise Condon, Professor of Nursing in the College of Human and Health Sciences, said: “This project is important because Gypsies and Travellers are one of the longest established minority ethnic groups in the UK but have the worst health outcomes. 

“Peer researchers will work with the academic research team in beginning the process of exploring cultural norms of drinking and recorded digital studies will provide a resource to inform health promotion.”

Working alongside Professor Condon will be Dr Filiz Celik, tutor of psychology at Swansea University and systemic and family psychotherapist for Hywel Dda University Health Board, public health researcher and PhD student Suzannah Hargreaves from the University of Salford, and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller advocacy worker Sam Worrall.

Alcohol Change UK formed from the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK. It chose the theme of groups, communities and alcohol Harm for research grant applications because culture, identity and meaning are consistent issues in discussions about drinking.

The other successful projects to receive funding are:

  • Supporting solutions for South Asian women: Developing models for substance use support which will explore how culture, religion and gender help or hinder women’s access to support, as well as practitioners’ perspectives on current service provision;
  • Exploring communities of belonging around drink which will examine how alcohol affects people’s experience of belonging to marginalised groups in the North of England. Their research will work with LGBT+, South Asian, and Eastern European communities in both rural and urban settings; and,
  • Understanding the association between mental health and alcohol use in Black, Asian and Minority ethnic groups which will look at drinking patterns and motivations among people from different Black, Asian and Minority ethnic backgrounds with mental health problems.

The charity says the New Horizons programme sets out to deliver fresh, innovative and future-facing research.

It aims to create impact by actively supporting the research teams to share their results with people who can act on the findings, changing policy or practice in response. It will also enable research teams to work together to share ideas, inform each other’s research and curate a programme-wide output bringing together common themes and collective learning.

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