On Thursday 14th February I was invited to the annual David Stafford Memorial Lecture at the House of Commons as part of the Nacoa (National Association of Children of Alcoholics) charity.
Nacoa was founded in 1990 to address the needs of children growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcoholism or a similar addictive problem. This includes children of all ages, many of whose problems only become apparent in adulthood.
The aim of the annual lecture is to update the fundraisers and supports of the charity as to what has been going on over the past year and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, in line with Nacoa’s four main aims: To offer information, advice and support to children of alcohol-dependent parents; To reach professionals who work with them; To raise their profile in the public consciousness; To promote research into the problems they face and the prevention of alcoholism developing in this vulnerable group.
Amongst the patrons of the charity are actor Elle Macpherson, footballer Tony Adams, TV personality Calum Best, actor Cherie Lunghi and rugby player Olly Barkley, and has thousands of supports and fundraisers worldwide.
The 2019 annual lecture was the highest attended in the charity’s history and they had to hire the largest committee room in the House of Commons to accommodate the many hundred attendees.
Special Guest Attendees at the 2019 Lecture:
Hilary Henriques MBE, CEO & co-founder Nacoa
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP
Tony Adams MBE (Former England & Arsenal footballer)
Calum Best (Son of football legend George Best)
Some key facts and figures from the day:
1 in 5 children in the UK are affected by their parents’ drinking;
There are an estimated 2.6 million children of adults suffering from alcohol misuse in the UK;
There are an estimated 1.6 million adults suffering from alcohol related illness in the UK;
Children of alcoholic parents are three times more likely to commit or attempt suicide;
There were 35,000 more hospital admissions for alcohol related incidents in the UK in 2018 compared to 2017.