Vicky Pattison has said she is a “belly nerve” for appearing in parliament as part of her new role as patron of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa).
The 35-year-old reality TV star, who rose to fame on MTV’s Geordie Shore, previously fronted a Channel 4 documentary – Alcohol, Dad And Me – in which she explored the impact of alcohol on her father’s life.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain about becoming a patron of Nacoa, which supports children whose lives are impacted by their parents’ relationship with alcohol, Pattison said she is particularly nervous at the prospect of speaking in parliament .
“I’m a bunch of nerves, to be honest. When I started Geordie Shore years ago, I didn’t think this is exactly where it would take us.”
Turning to GMB presenter and former cabinet minister Ed Balls, she added: “So if you have any tips for us, Ed, I’m happy to take them on because I’m already shaking.”
Balls praised Pattison for her efforts and recommended that she speak to Labor MPs Liam Byrne and Jonathan Ashworth who, the former politician said, “have both spoken publicly about their struggles with alcoholic fathers and the impact it has had on their lives, and maybe the people to give you some tips”.
He added, “They should show you around, make you relaxed, get you in the zone, maybe even write your speech!”
Pattison, whose father John struggles with alcoholism, went on to describe the consequences of living with an alcoholic parent.
“First of all, it’s extremely important to mention that my dad is a really nice guy, who happened to be sick, and our relationship is great,” she told Balls and co-host Susanna Reid.
“It is wonderful to have been able to do this with him, and my father is in a good place right now.
And I think what everyone needs to understand about alcoholism is that the recovery isn’t linear. There are good days and bad days.
“Regardless of how much control you think you have over the situation, it eventually has a grip on you.”
Asked by Balls what she hopes to put on the government’s “agenda”, Pattison said: “I don’t know if people know this, but children of alcoholics are more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect. They are considering suicide, more likely to have eating disorders, more likely to come into contact with the police.The list is endless.
“And despite this, and despite the fact that the number of calls to the Nacoa helpline has increased, in 2021 the government has still reduced funding.
“We need money. We need education. People need to understand this, and I’m going to say that in government.”