The 10 communities that will receive funding for work to tackle binge and underage drinking have been announced by Communities and Local Government. The fund was opened for bids earlier this year by Baroness Newlove, the government's Champion for Active, Safer Communities.
The CLG press release states:
Over the next two years these innovative grassroots projects, backed by local authorities, police and retailers, are expected to deliver real results to end the fallout of problem drinking. Other communities will hopefully be inspired to follow their lead. The projects will address separate issues that are the greatest challenges in their neighbourhoods, with measures of their success that will include:
- a reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents related to alcohol consumption
- fewer A&E admissions to local hospitals or fewer ambulance call outs as a result of drinking
- the consumption of alcohol by young people reducing to safe levels; and
- a reduction in purchasing of alcohol made on behalf of under 18s ("proxy purchasing").
Among the projects that will receive funding are:
The City of Lincoln. Among their proposals is the development of social media to link up 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 that 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 that 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 DCLG report, Building Safe, Active Communities: strong foundations by local people sets out tackling alcohol harms as one of Baroness Newlove's key priorities. A report which captures progress on innovative projects to make communities safer was also released earlier this year.
The fund was included in the recent Government Alcohol Strategy which committed to introducing minimum unit pricing. However the strategy has also been criticised of being overly crime and disorder focused, with insufficient attention to treatment and prevention.