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05 December 2022

Scotch Whisky Action Fund Commits Over £115k of Support to Projects Across Scotland

Scotch Whisky Action Fund Commits Over £115k of Support to Projects Across Scotland
The Scotch Whisky Action Fund has committed over £115k of support to projects tackling alcohol harm throughout Scotland, from Inverness to Galashiels.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund (SWAF) has announced the list of nine projects that it will be supporting over the coming year as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to promoting responsible consumption and tackle harmful drinking.  Five projects have been awarded funding for the first time; four projects are receiving their second or third year of funding to support ongoing work.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund was launched in 2013 and is administered by Foundation Scotland. Funding is given to projects taking an innovative approach to addressing the issues around alcohol misuse within a community or section of society. To date the fund has provided £1million of support to over 80 projects throughout Scotland. The SWAF also holds an annual learning event, bringing project representatives together to network, share learnings and identify and discuss common issues.

The projects, which range in location from Inverness to Galashiels, are committed to reducing alcohol harm by improving awareness and exploring key issues through activity sessions and workshops for youth workers and young people in schools, youth clubs and sports clubs. Some of the selected projects also provide counselling and support for families who have been impacted by the misuse of alcohol by a family member.

Dame Joan Stringer, who chaired the awards panel, said “Tackling harmful alcohol consumption is a key issue for Scotland.  These projects are undertaking important work, and we look forward to supporting them over the coming year.”

Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to tackling alcohol misuse and raising awareness of the harm that it can do. The breadth of support provided by the projects chosen by the Scotch Whisky Action Fund is vital and inspiring, and we look forward to seeing their progress and learning more from their results next year."

Hear from the funding recipients:

Eildon West Youth Hub – TD1 Streetwork (Galashiels): £7,300
Eildon West Youth Hub is supports and works with young people aged 11-25 in Galashiels. This funding will help deliver twice-weekly, street-based outreach sessions with young people at risk, targeting those at risk of alcohol-related harm and subsequent violence, anti-social, criminal, and potential drug behaviours. Two experienced staff will offer positive alternative interventions around local sports, outdoor activities, access to TD1 youth space, group work and group planned activities and will enable young people to reflect and understand through an ‘Alcohol Brief Intervention’ model of practice on the impact and effect of their risk-taking. By building positive relationships, informing, educating, and providing alternative activities, this aims to encourage positive change in the future behaviours. A total of 85 young people annually will benefit.

Glasgow Girls FC – Tackled (Glasgow): £19,700
Glasgow Girls FC run football coaching schemes for girls in the East End of Glasgow. The project will develop and deliver a peer-led alcohol education and awareness mentoring programme to young people aged 11-16 in the communities of the Shettleston ward of Glasgow city and adjacent communities of Budhill, Springboig and Greenfield. The aim is to improve young people’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of the potential dangers and implications of the misuse of alcohol and to engage them in the range of diversionary activities offered by the applicants, so supporting their inclusion, health, and well-being by steering them away from risk taking, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. The project estimates that 1,000 young people could potentially benefit over the course of the year.

David McDermott, Head of Club Funding at Glasgow Girls FC said: “We are delighted with funding support from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund. This will enable us to engage with, work with and support young people in our community to develop peer mentoring and leadership skills, to work across our community to raise young peoples’ awareness of alcohol misuse and its associated harms”

Home Start Garioch – Family Counselling Project (Inverurie): £8,000
Home Start Garioch provides friendly, informal and confidential support to those in Garioch, Formartine and across Aberdeenshire bringing up young families. This project will provide counselling to families whose lives and mental health have been impacted by a family member’s alcohol dependency. With this funding, they will organise 200 hours’ worth of counselling, which equates to approximately 25-33 individuals receiving 6-8 counselling sessions each. The sessions will take place at the project’s office in Inverurie.

Mhairi Philip, Scheme Manager at Home Start Garioch, said: "We are seeing first-hand the lasting impact the pandemic has had on families, parents who are struggling to cope, have turned to alcohol to make things more bearable. For the other parent and the children, the reliance on alcohol is yet another trauma for them to deal with and the ripple effect that it has. As an organisation we can provide support to the family members impacted by a parents alcohol dependence. The money awarded will provide one to one counselling for those family members. A safe space when they can share and be listened to. Being able to speak, being listened to and being heard goes a long way towards their recovery and improved family relationships.”

LAYC – Alcohol Awareness for Youth Workers (Edinburgh and Lothians): £13,525
LAYC is a charity supporting community-based youth and children’s work in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Funding will allow the organisation to engage youth and children's workers in a programme to increase their skills, knowledge, and confidence to provide a range of alcohol awareness activities, information, and support. LAYC will provide six similarly themed alcohol awareness workshops, with each focusing on the dangers of alcohol use and the impact it can have on young people. Each workshop will have 15 participant places available, meaning up to 90 individuals can attend across the whole programme.

Laurene Edgar, Director at LAYC, said: “LAYC were delighted to receive the funding from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund: this fund will benefit our network of over 2000 youth workers and volunteers, we will be able to provide alcohol awareness sessions focusing on topics such parental alcohol use and impact on children, trends in alcohol use and engaging with young people on alcohol awareness. The fund will also provide support and resource for delivery of diversionary activities within local communities and through the LAYC network, offering young people the opportunity for alternative activities away from alcohol use, through local youth work provision with trusted adults in safe spaces with their peers.”

Parkhead Youth Project – Choices for Change (Glasgow): £11,928
Parkhead Youth Project supports children and young people aged 8-24yrs residing in Parkhead and surrounding communities. This project will provide a diversionary and education programme for young people aged 12-18, promoting healthier choices and increase physical health and well-being. They plan to utilise a programme of bi-weekly workshops and monthly activity sessions to explore alcohol and substance abuse, as well as other issues that can be the root cause of this behaviour, helping young people to feel more confident to make informed choices about their lifestyles. The project estimates that around 25 young people will directly benefit from this project.

Diane McKendrick, Youth Development Worker at Parkhead Youth Project, said “We are delighted to be working with the Scotch Whisky Action Fund to offer a diversionary project for local young people age 12-18 years. The fund will enable us to offer new opportunities that will increase physical health and well-being and support us to promote responsible attitudes towards alcohol related harm.”

Barnardo’s – CHOICES (Scotland-wide): £6,625, second year of funding
Barnardo’s is a charity which supports children who have been abused, across the UK. The funding will be used to continue their alcohol misuse programme known as CHOICES, extending it to be delivered to all remaining year 6 and 7 pupils in the ten schools currently working in partnership with Barnardo’s. The areas covered within the programme include understanding the impact of alcohol on behaviour, the risk of alcohol misuse, healthy lifestyles and peer pressure to misuse alcohol. A training element has been developed for teachers within the programme to build their skills, confidence, and resilience to enable them to identify children at risk of or affected by alcohol misuse and provide the support they need.

Linda Nisbet, Children’s Service Manager for the Barnardo’s Scotland East Ayrshire Children & Family Service, said: “The funding we have received from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund will enable our Project Workers to plug a gap in services and meet the needs of children and young people living in East Ayrshire. We are fortunate to be able to educate children on healthy lifestyles and the risks of alcohol misuse, social pressures to misuse alcohol and understanding the impact of alcohol on behaviours.”

Fast Forward Positive Lifestyles – Own It! (Edinburgh-based): £20,301, second year of funding
Fast Forward Positive Lifestyles is a youth work charity aimed at enabling young people to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing. Own It! will work with 10-12 groups of young people, aged 14-24 to deliver six hours of direct training in alcohol related harm, other risk-taking behaviours, and peer education. Initial awareness raising sessions will be followed by asking the group members to draw on their lived-experience to develop an individual storyline. Each storyline is then collated into a single script / storyboard which will form the basis of the finished Own It! resource, in which the young people involved will be able to clearly identify their contributions.

Allie Cherry-Byrnes, Chief Executive, said: “Fast Forward is delighted to have received continuation funding for our Own It! programme, which sits with our Going Forward Project.  This funding will enable us to further develop the programme, allowing us to inform how we work with young people with additional support needs, through development of an Own It! in partnership with the Donaldson Trust, as well as developing the model with 10–14 year-olds in our newly established going Forward Junior programme in Edinburgh.”

Absafe – Pro-social behaviour & Alcohol Awareness (Aberdeen): £15,381, third year of funding
Absafe is a safety education charity based in Aberdeen. Their project will tackle the portrayal of alcohol in the media by talking with young people about TV shows and films and discussing how alcohol is portrayed in them, as well as exploring and giving them strategies with ways they might handle peer pressure and other difficult situations which involve drinking. Absafe will deliver interactive sessions from their facility The Safe, allowing young people to explore risk in a safe environment. Absafe estimates that 2,500 young people will benefit from the project.

Kairn McKee, Project Manager at Absafe, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supported by the Scotch Whisky Action Fund for another year. Without the support of SWAF we would not have been able to continue running our life saving educational sets with groups of young people from our local area. With the continued funding, we plan to update the content within the set to stay on top of current issues, which are always changing among young people, and to offer our service to a wider range of users such as youth clubs and out of school groups, as well as continuing to run our educational sessions for groups of school children.”

Addictions Counselling Inverness – Family Counselling (Inverness): £13,125, third year of funding
Addictions Counselling Inverness provides addiction recovery support to those impacted by addiction in Inverness. The funding will continue to deliver a free counselling service to individuals who are affected by the alcohol use of a close family member. They will offer counselling sessions to 18 individuals (12 sessions) totalling 216 counselling sessions between July 2022 and March 2023. The counselling sessions will continue to take place at ACI premises in Inverness (5 Counselling Rooms) for those who live in Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey and Ross-shire/Sutherland and those who are unable to travel to Inverness will be offered appointments in a community venue in their locality or via telephone or video calls.

Sharan Brown, Development Manager at Addictions Counselling Inverness said: “SWAF funding has given ACI the scope to create multi pathways within our service. Our one to one counselling service has grown to group therapy and recovery capital opportunities for loved ones. We facilitate monthly family support gatherings inhouse which has increased the love, care and esteem of people who were previously incredibly isolated dealing with traumatic events. During times of such uncertainty, ACI has been incredibly grateful for the funding we received. We know our work saves lives and plays an important role in keeping our families together in our struggling communities during the most challenging of times.”