Booze buster toast of the govt

Chris Raine is founder of Hello Sunday Morning and 2012 Young Australian of the Year.
Chris Raine is founder of Hello Sunday Morning and 2012 Young Australian of the Year. Lee Constable

A HEALTH initiative started on the Sunshine Coast to help young people avoid alcohol abuse has scored a $100,000 windfall from the State Government.

Hello Sunday Morning, created by former Coast man Chris Raine, works to reshape the country's drinking culture by encouraging people to give up drinking for a set period.

It has earnt Mr Raine, who now lives in Melbourne, the title of 2012 Young Australian of the Year.

He said the grant followed months of negotiations and would help the organisation achieve its goal of having 10,000 members by the end of this year.

"It's great to see government invest in something that actually works," he said.

The organisation doesn't preach permanent abstinence but focuses on helping people understand why they drink.

"A lot of the programs around now focus on the way we drink," Mr Raine said.

"It's (Hello Sunday Morning) a brief break to really understand why you drink. I want to see Australia's drinking culture become more like Italy or France where we can enjoy alcohol without just getting drunk every night."

Health Minister Geoff Wilson agreed.

"We want to make it easier for Queenslanders to discover the benefits of drinking healthily," he said.

Hello Sunday Morning began life as a personal blog when Chris was living on the Sunshine Coast, as he documented his quest to stay off the grog for a whole year.

He says participants "blogging" was an important part of the program as it provided support and another layer of accountability.

Hello Sunday Morning has gone from 10 participants when it started three years ago to almost 3500 now.

As part of the new push, people are encouraged to sign up even if they don't think they can last the full three months.

"Even if they just give up for a weekend, hopefully once they see all the positive stories on the blog they'll be inspired to continue."

Topics:  chris raine, health, hello sunday morning



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