RESIDENTS are being encouraged to give up drinking for January to save money and keep fit.

Southampton City Council is encouraging residents to give alcohol a break in January with community partners including Southampton and Solent universities and the Society of St James.

Run by Alcohol Change UK, participants sign up for Dry January via a website and a free app.

Julia Sinclair, Professor of addiction psychiatry at the University of Southampton said: “In my role as clinical lead for the alcohol team at UHS, we see hundreds of people a year whose dependence on alcohol results in them becoming physically and mentally unwell and needing hospital care.

“One in five people in Southampton don’t drink alcohol at all, so let’s join them.”

A YouGov poll released recently revealed that one in ten people who drink - an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK – are already planning to do Dry January in 2019.

Experts say that by quitting alcohol and drinking less throughout the year, people can improve their overall health, lose weight and save money.

The health problems and costs associated with alcohol misuse are rising year-on-year.

In 2017 to 2018, there were 2,358 alcohol-related admissions to hospitals in Southampton compared to 2,132 for 2016 to 2017.

This problem increases over the festive period when we tend to socialise more.

Councillor David Shields, cabinet member for health and community wellbeing, said: “I’d like to encourage everyone to sign up for Dry January for 2019.

“You’ll feel better and save a few quid after all the money you’ve spent during the holidays.

“The New Year is a perfect opportunity to reconsider how we would like to improve ourselves in the year ahead.”