CHURCHES Together in Winchester is to promote a series of events aimed at tackling addiction.

Nigel Hemming, chairman of the umbrella group for Christians, and leader of the Vineyard Church, said: “Addiction is something which many people have to grapple with at some point, whether it affects themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.

"Too often, people struggle on their own; we want to point them to the most effective support.”

It will champion an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at Winchester Cathedral at 7.30pm on Thursday August 16. This follows a presentation by an AA representative at the Churches Together AGM, where she outlined how people from all backgrounds transform their lives through the AA programme.

On August 25, the cathedral will follow this up with a ‘Celebration of Recovery’ in the Outer Close.

Representatives Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon (for families and friends of alcoholics), the Night Shelter and the Samaritans will be on hand to discuss how they help those recovering from drug and alcohol dependency and those struggling with mental illness.

Finally, in September, Churches Together in Winchester will launch its own Recovery Course. The free 15-session course takes place at Winchester Vineyard Church in Bar End and will aid individuals struggling with a range of addictions; including eating, alcohol, drugs, pornography, shopping, medication, exercise, relationships, technology, sex, and gambling.

It will run weekly on Tuesday evening from September 18. Confidential booking can be arranged by contacting quoting just a first name.

Mr Hemming said: “We are delighted to host this successful course again which is confidential and helps people to find freedom from their addictions. We hope people will share this information as far and wide as they can, because sometimes those who could most benefit from help may find it hardest to share their need with those around them.”

The government estimates the social and economic cost of drug supply in England and Wales at £10.7 billion and 2.7 million people aged 16-59 reported using a drug in the past year.

The NHS estimated 1.1 million hospital appointments in 2015-16 were related to alcohol consumption.