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ZM Radio host gets ready for FebFast 2012

Press Release – FebFast

As the country gears up for the festive season, ZM radio breakfast host Polly Gillespie is already thinking ahead to the dry month she’s planning next February.

22 December 2011

ZM Radio host gets ready for FebFast 2012

As the country gears up for the festive season, ZM radio breakfast host Polly Gillespie is already thinking ahead to the dry month she’s planning next February.

She’s taking part in FebFast, which challenges New Zealanders to give up drinking alcohol for a month in February 2012 to raise money for charities working with young people affected by drugs or alcohol.

“I love a good drink or two but FebFast is a chance to take a break from the booze after all the socialising that goes on in December and January,” she says. “And it’s about giving a helping hand to community organisations which are doing some really challenging work with young people.”

Polly is encouraging others to join her in FebFast. Details about how to register can be found at

Nearly a thousand people took part in the first FebFast, which was held in February 2011 and raised more than $100,000 for youth charities in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. People raised money via sponsorship, either individually or in teams of friends, family or workmates.

Polly was an ambassador for FebFast 2011 and says it was a real eye opener seeing people’s reactions when she told them she was giving up alcohol for a month.

“We have a very celebratory culture in New Zealand and we do everything with alcohol. When you don’t drink, people are almost offended by it. It’s like ‘oh, you’re no fun!’.

“I found it really disappointing that nobody I knew personally jumped on board to take part in FebFast with me last time. It’s as if it’s too hard to ask ourselves these questions about how much and how often we’re drinking. I’m hoping it will be different this time round though – I want lots of people to do FebFast with me!”

She says taking part in FebFast made her realise she wanted to be more in control of her drinking.

“It’s about being more aware and being responsible for what you’re doing.”

FebFast Coordinator Catherine Milburn says FebFast is all about participation, having fun and focusing on health and personal reflection.

“It’s about pressing pause on our busy lives and creating some space to think about the year ahead, and about raising money to support the valuable work being done with young people around the country.”

The recipient organisations for 2012 are:

Evolve, a free Wellington service for young people aged 10 to 25 years. Evolve provides a wide range of general health, primary care and social services to assist youth. The funding it receives from FebFast will support a new programme for brief interventions with young people around alcohol and drug use. You can read more about Evolve at

The ADHD Association, which educates, supports and advocates for people affected by ADHD. FebFast funding will support the development of a substance abuse educational resource for young people with ADHD. Research shows that this group are more prone to substance abuse. The DVD/study guide produced from FebFast funding will be a first in New Zealand for ADHD, and will be relevant to the many social agencies involved with this group. You can read more about the ADHD Association at

Rainbow Youth, Auckland. Queer and Transgender youth are more likely to drink often and heavily, more likely to drink alone, and more likely to have had family or friends tell them to reduce their drinking. Rainbow Youth wants to change the way alcohol and drug use is viewed, and will use its FebFast funding to raise awareness of the issues, for example through the use of blogs on the and the sites.

CareNZ, Waikato. Every year CareNZ helps more than 2700 people overcome addiction issues. FebFast funding will support an ongoing project that follows up focus group results collected from 14 schools. This will involve raising awareness of alcohol issues, the availability of help, and the need to diminish the harm caused by youth drinking in schools. You can read more about CareNZ at


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