Scotch Whisky Association commits £300,000 to curb underage drinking

Scotch Whisky Association commits £300,000 to curb underage drinking

Community Alcohol Partnerships' Edinburgh initiative from November 2019 (credit: Community Alcohol Partnerships)

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has unveiled a new partnership with Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) to combat underage drinking in key regions across Scotland.

The SWA, through its Scotch Whisky Action Fund, will contribute £300,000 over the next three years to establish CAPs in high-harm areas identified throughout Scotland.

CAPs are tailored to address local requirements, with a focus on three key pillars of activity to support an overall reduction in alcohol harm. These include the provision of positive activity for children and young people; creating retail signage and conducting training to prevent underage sales and proxy purchase; and providing alcohol education in schools and for parents.

This new SWA funding will help establish CAPs in areas of high harm that have been identified throughout Scotland. The results of future work in these areas will be regularly monitored, evaluated, and reported on.

CAP has a robust evaluation framework and proven track record with consistent evidence of significant impact. To date, more than 250 CAPs have been established across the UK. Evaluation shows that they achieved an average of 62% reduction in regular drinking among 13-16 year olds; a 42% reduction in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour; and 77% of reductions in proxy purchases.

Mark Kent, chief executive of the SWA, said: “The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to promoting safe, responsible consumption of alcohol, and tackling underage drinking.

“Our new partnership with Community Alcohol Partnerships will help to support delivery of this targeted intervention, marking an important and valuable development in the industry’s wider commitment to tackling alcohol harm.

“Our work with CAP will ensure that the funding provided by the industry is directed in the best and most effective way to address underage drinking in Scotland. We look forward to collaborating with the team at CAP and seeing the results of our new partnership.”

Derek Lewis, chair of CAP, said: “Although alcohol consumption by children has declined for many years, more recent data has shown an increase and Scotland still has one of the highest rates of alcohol harm among children and young people internationally.

“The existing Scottish CAPs have already demonstrated real success in reducing these harms by helping local communities introduce action plans tailored to their own needs.

“We aim to accelerate the establishment of CAPs in other high harm areas of Scotland and so help our children grow up with well-informed and responsible attitudes to alcohol. We welcome the support and financial commitment of the SWA and its members as we pursue this ambition.”

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