Monday, 3 June 2013

The (lottery) funding of fussbucketry...


You'll recall a fuss over how old folk are getting drunk and fall over rather too much for the liking of the public health fanatics. Indeed, it is one particular set of fussbuckets - the Royal College of Psychiatrists - who are leading the charge on this one:

A group of experts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists says there is a growing problem with substance abuse among older people, who they describe as society's "invisible addicts".

The report says a third those who experience problems with alcohol abuse do so later on in life, often as a result of big changes like retirement, bereavement or feelings of boredom, loneliness and depression.

But the extent of the drinking is hidden because unlike younger drinkers, more older people drink in their own homes, the report suggests.

Far be it for me to say that these older folk a drinking because, hell, they like getting sloshed and, since they've retired they now see absolutely no reason not to do so.

Any way these fussbuckets have persuaded the National Lottery to stump up a load of cash (£25 million to be precise) to:

The Big Lottery Fund will make a £25 million award to one partnership to develop a portfolio of projects which will also generate learning to influence and inform policy and practice in preventing alcohol misuse amongst older people aged 50 and over. The scale and scope of the investment means that the award will be made to a partnership of voluntary and community organisations that can work together, drawing upon wide ranging expertise to deliver projects and interventions that provide a wider evidence base of what works for policy makers and practitioners. Potential UK leads have until 24 October 2013 to submit their first stage application. 

Essentially the lottery are stumping up the cash for Alcohol Concern and others of that ilk to polish their lobbying skills and thereby to persuade government that old folk getting a little tipsy is a major public health crisis. Doubtless this money will fund campaigns to ban drinking in old folks homes, to develop new ways of 'screening' for drunken wrinklies (drunken in this context seems to be having drunk a couple of small sherries or one large whiskey) so that doctors can find yet another thing to hector and stress at said old folk.

When I think of all those cricket clubs wanting pavilions, those village halls that need fixing and those befriending services for lonely people that could use a bob or two, I can't help but think that all those people's lottery money is being misused to prosecute an ideological obsession of the public health business. Quite frankly I'm inclined more towards the Leg Iron attitude to old age and retirement:

I’m getting old too, I have seven years until my little pension kicks in and by then it’ll be just enough. I plan to spend most of it on booze and along with some other old scientists I know, maybe try class A drugs. Can’t touch them now, I need my brain to make money but at the end of life hey, get those experiences in while you can.

The lottery's there to help good causes and, however hard I try, I can make out lecturing old folk about drinking to be a good cause. This is just £25 million of unwanted, annoying and unhelpful nannying fussbucketry.


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