New Funding Helps Stop Underage Drinking

Binge Drinking10 communities will receive funding to help fight binge drinking and underage drinking over the next two years.

Ten communities around the UK will be receiving a share of £1 million to help reduce underage and binge drinking. The money, which is provided by Baroness Newlove and the Government Champion for Active Safer Communities, will be given out over the next two years to fund a number of local initiatives. These include:

•    The City of Lincoln’s proposal to develop social media to links between evening safety wardens, street pastors and local police to better address weekday problem drinking and anti-social behaviour in the city centre. They will tackle the repercussion of the rapid expansion of students and visitors to the city centre.

•    The local community in Moseley, Birmingham wants to establish a lasting solution to the stubborn issue of street drinking and its associated problems of begging, littering and rough sleeping by giving local people a direct say in deciding how their project develops and how the budget is spent.

•    Newcastle wants to work with young people and their families to address crime and anti-social behaviour in two inner suburbs: Elswick; and Benwell and Scotswood, where local surveys suggest that a third of people polled, consider drunk and rowdy behaviour to be a problem.

•    Shropshire, whose project will focus on five of the county's public parks which experience seasonal summertime issues around underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. The Shropshire Safer Stronger Communities Board will work with local police, trading standards and retailers to confiscate alcohol from minors, tackle proxy buying and work with young people on developing positive park-based activities.

The effectiveness of these programs will be measured in several different ways including, any reductions in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents involving alcohol, the number of A&E admissions and ambulance call outs involving drinking, the alcohol consumption levels of young people and the amount of alcohol purchased on behalf of people under 18. To insure these criteria are met, Baroness Newlove has promised to work closely with each of the 10 areas.

"I am delighted that the Fund was 10-times oversubscribed, but not really surprised. I have always believed there is a seam of active citizens prepared and willing to work at creating safer, happier communities together with the agencies there to help them. This response proves it. We shall mine these wonderful examples of fresh ideas and local solutions to tackle alcohol misuse and the crime and blight that follows. In two years these areas will be transformed. I intend to support them all the way and ensure others follow their trail blazing progress."

The 10 communities selected to receive funding are Bury, Greater Manchester, Chelmsford, Essex, Cornwall, County Durham, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, Maidstone, Kent, Moseley, Birmingham, Newcastle, Shropshire and Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Each of these projects will receive around £45,000 per year for two years. The projects will also have the backing of local authorities, police and retailers to help make this two year plan a success.

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