A WOMAN whose alcohol addiction left her close to death will help pilot a scheme supporting people to reduce drinking.

The Radcliffe resident, known as Sharon, is one of 10 alcohol health champions recruited for the Greater Manchester-wide programme.

The long-term aim of the Communities in Charge of Alcohol (CICA) programme is to have 30 'champions' in every borough across the city.

Sharon said: "I was addicted to alcohol for many years.

"I underwent a liver transplant in March 2014 due to my addiction. I was very poorly and I was told I had an hour to live when they took me down to theatre."

Sharon now volunteers at One Recovery Bury (ORB), a free service helping people to abstain from substance abuse, and found out about CICA through manager Nikki Allison.

She has joined a network of champions who have received trainin to help people take charge of their own health.

Champions have been given Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Level 2 training to have informal conversations about alcohol and health with family, friends and colleagues.

They will also support people to reduce drinking by giving brief advice or signposting them to specialist services.

Champions will also attend community events to speak on the issue, and support communities to raise alcohol licensing issues with their Council.

Sharon said: "I found the training for the alcohol health champions very fulfilling. An alcohol health champion means, to me, giving something back to the community, sharing awareness, and pointing people to the right professionals.

"It also enables me to listen and understand people's views and if I can help one person to take the right path then it is very rewarding."

As the programme grows, it is hoped there will be 30 champions in each of Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs.

Councillor Andrea Simpson, Bury Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "The social and health harms associated with alcohol hit Greater Manchester harder than in most areas of England, as they do for most of the North West.

"For example, rates of alcohol specific hospital admissions and mortality are significantly higher in all GM boroughs than the England average.

"It is vital that we help communities to take charge of their own health and they are also best placed to have a positive influence on their friends and families."

The project has stemmed from a partnership between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, all 10 Greater Manchester councils, the Royal Society for Public Health, the University of Salford and Public Health England North West.