A number of reported statistics show that ca. 100 people per month were entering accident and emergency (A&E) as a result of drinkrelated violence. Countless more were requiring surgery for liver, heart, stroke and cancer-related problems linked to alcohol misuse. Anti-social behaviour, social isolation, violence in schools, debt, teenage pregnancy, road deaths and risk taking behaviour were all on the increase.
In 2004 the Civic Alcohol Forum (CAF) was set up: a unique group of statutory, community and business organisations mobilising the community by collaborating to tackle a negative image and culture of alcohol-related harm in the Derry City Council area. It has delivered a number of action-orientated initiatives resulting in a safer area that has engaged all key stakeholders to achieve cultural change on alcohol. The CAF seeks to develop best practice in a partnership approach to address the misuse of alcohol. An Action Plan has been developed which focused on delivering objectives in a practical way. A steering group of representatives from key agencies meets ten times per year to ensure Action Plan delivery. The CAF vision is ‘a clean, safe and vibrant region with a responsible attitude to alcohol that protects future generations from alcohol-related harm’. Its aims are to raise awareness of the need to change alcohol culture, to create a responsible position for alcohol use within society, and to initiate cultural change. The objectives are, inter alia, to create a collective approach harnessing the support, commitment and enthusiasm of all stakeholders, to reduce and eradicate access by children to alcohol, to provide alternative entertainment, treatment and support services, as well as maintaining and monitoring standards for best practice in the operation of licensed premises.
The CAF has delivered a number of initiatives tackling alcohol harm, e.g. Off Licence Code of practice - the CAF worked with off licences to introduce a code of practice on responsible retailing. More than 98% of off licences, including national supermarkets have signed up to the code and the initiative has been adopted by other Councils in Northern Ireland. A scheme to ensure that only five types of identification are accepted in alcohol sales to reduce underage drinking has been established. This has successfully led to improved management of licensed premises. A ‘Respect the Shamrock’ initiative to encourage responsible drinking around the national feast of St. Patrick has led to a significant decrease in disorder throughout the City Centre during the event. A ‘Just add Water’ campaign has been introduced in restaurants to provide free water when alcohol is ordered to encourage responsible drinking, as well as a Charter of Commitment to ensure stakeholder engagement in the project. A Responsible Server initiative for those selling alcohol is being linked to a Gold Standard Award scheme for licensed premises.
Furthermore, a Bluetooth messaging system has been introduced to target community awareness in alcohol. In addition to these initiatives the project has received recognition by winning the William Johnson Memorial Award in 2006 and by presenting at the European Alcohol Conference in Barcelona in 2008.
|Award category:||partnership working|
|Sector:||Public health and social welfare/affairs|
|Type of activity:||community and stakeholder participation|
|Keywords:||Alcohol abuse prevention, alcohol culture change, young people|
|Short English description:||Its aims are to raise awareness of the need to change alcohol culture, to create a responsible position for alcohol use within society, and to initiate cultural change|
|Organisation:||Derry City Council|
|Other applicants:||Derry Healthy Cities, PSNI, WHSSB, WHSCT, PBNI, DSD, WELB, CRJ, NIHE, Divert, ILEX, (a wide range of NGOs)|
|Level of government:||local level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|