COA Week

COA Week boy

Nacoa celebrated the 5th Children of Alcoholics Week in the UK, raising awareness of the millions of children being affected by their parents’ alcohol problems. COA Week is an international campaign held annually during the week in which Valentine’s day falls. We want children to know they are not alone and support is available.

“Without help these children become lost in the system; they grow up feeling un-noticed at best and abused at worst. Nacoa’s work is all about planning for a positive future – helping them to transform their negative beliefs about themselves into an ‘I can do’ attitude.” COA Week supporter and Nacoa Patron, Elle Macpherson

Craig Revel Horwood, Calum Best, Marco Pierre White and Kim Woodburn are also among the many celebrity supporters of COA Week.

The messages of support were joined this year by these kind words from the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby:

“Members of a family that has been infected by the misuse of alcohol walk a hard road. They are innocent but hurt all the same. To care for these injuries to the spirit is fine and admirable work. I experienced the impact of alcohol abuse over many years and know the complexity of responses one feels, but I also know of the capacity for healing and hope that God has brought.”

This year, Nacoa wanted to see COA Week reach even more people. Media agencies, businesses, charities and the general public were all invited to get involved.

Nacoa co-founder and chief executive, Hilary Henriques, and volunteer Martin helped COA Week 2013 hit the headlines by being interviewed for Sky News.


Hilary explains: “For many children a Nacoa volunteer will be the first person they tell about a parent’s drinking. The fear of being “taken away” or “betraying” their family means that they keep it a secret. Our work is crucial because as a first point of contact our trained volunteers can help children to make healthy decisions for themselves, regardless of whether their parents continue to drink or not. We would like to invite other charities and organisations to work with us in promoting COA Week so that we can overcome the stigma surrounding this issue and break the cycle of addiction.”

Simply being there and understanding can help people turn their lives around.

“I rang your line last year, when I could not take it any longer and I will never forget the lady who chatted to me for two hours and calmed me down by actually understanding where I was coming from in a way my friends and family never did.” Jane, age 17

To celebrate COA Week 2013, actress Cheri Lunghi spoke at Nacoa’s annual David Stafford Memorial Lecture in London on 12 February. Read more about the event here. Fellow COA Week supporters and friends of Nacoa, COAP, hosted ‘Saying the Unsaid’, an evening of talks and discussion on 15 February, also in London.

Visit www.coaweek.org.uk for more details and ideas of how to be involved in the future. Together we can dismantle the stigma that surrounds alcoholism and let people know there is help.

Put next year’s event in your diary now:

COA Week 9-15 February 2014