Poster campaign to persuade Blackpool expectant mums to give up the booze

Rachel Rossie
Rachel Rossie
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A team of super-heroes is set to pop up across Blackpool in a bid to persuade expectant mums to ditch all alcohol during their pregnancy.

A team of super-heroes is set to pop up across Blackpool in a bid to persuade expectant mums to ditch all alcohol during their pregnancy.

Paul Barraclough

Paul Barraclough

Four Blackpool residents have been chosen to appear in a public health campaign, 'Be Your Baby’s Hero, Keep Alcohol to Zero’, which will be launched on Saturday.

They include a mum, a dad, a nan and a best friend dressed as super-heroes, and representing the people who play a key role in the health of the child.

They will appear throughout the town on billboards, poster sites, phone kiosks and buses, as well as on social media to raise awareness of the message no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.

The campaign is the first to be being spearheaded by Blackpool Better Start, the 10-year Lottery funded project to improve the lives of pre-school children living in the town's most deprived areas.

Super-mum Rachel Rossie, from North Shore, who is expecting her third child, said: “When I realised what the campaign was about I wanted to do it because it’s an important message.

“It will be strange to see myself on posters around town, and I’m sure I will soon hear from friends when they start spotting me."

Super-dad Paul Barraclough, from Grange Park, said: “Like most people, I enjoy a drink now and again but I think it’s very important to support your partner not to drink during pregnancy.

"It’s an important message to get across and anything that benefits children is a good thing, so I’m glad I’ve been involved.”

The 12 month campaign has been created after research showed harm caused by alcohol in Blackpool is among the highest in the country.

Figures for 2015/16 show hospital admissions due to alcohol harm in Blackpool were just under 1,200 per 100,000 of the population, compared to just over 600 for England as a whole.

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health at Blackpool Council which is a partner in Blackpool Better Start, said: "We know in the past messages surrounding ‘safe’ alcohol limits during pregnancy have been confusing, and this campaign has been created to clarify that there is no safe amount.

“We now know drinking during pregnancy can lead to learning difficulties, heart problems and permanent damage to a developing baby’s brain.

"We must be explicit in explaining to families that the only way to guarantee your baby is not exposed to alcohol harm is to avoid alcohol completely.”

Merle Davies, director of Blackpool’s Centre for Early Child Development, said: “We hope it has the intended impact of changing behaviour and that using local people to champion the message of zero alcohol will resonate with the community and drive the message home more effectively.

"It is not just the responsibility of pregnant women to reduce alcohol intake, it is also the responsibility of partners, grandparents, extended family and friends. "

The campaign will be launched by a dancing flashmob in Houndshill Shopping Centre on Saturday at 11am outside Debenhams.