Alcohol education charity Drinkaware is continuing to expand its scheme sending people into bars and clubs to help young people stay safe on a night out.
After supporting more than 4,000 people in 13 areas last year, Drinkaware Crew teams have now spread to Wakefield in West Yorkshire, where specialist staff have been trained for five city centre venues.
The latest scheme takes the total number of areas around the country in which Drinkaware Crew teams have been trained to 18. They are additional members of a venue’s team who support young people who may be vulnerable as a result of drinking too much.
They mingle in pairs around the venue, wearing branded Drinkaware Crew clothing for easy identification, and offer assistance where needed, from helping vulnerable people get a taxi home and reuniting them with their friends through to handing out bottles of water.
As well as reactive support, they proactively promote a positive atmosphere by talking to customers queuing to enter the venue and engaging with them during the evening.
Bar and club operators around the country have been positive about the impact of Drinkaware Crew on their venues, reporting that it improves the safety and wellbeing of customers as well as freeing up time for other team members to focus on their jobs. Venues also report improved relationships with their local community.
The scheme in Wakefield was launched last month by Wakefield Business Improvement District (BID) with the support of West Yorkshire Police as part of the city’s drive to secure Purple Flag status which accredits town and city centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
Elizabeth Murphy, Wakefield BID manager, said: “We’re absolutely determined to change people’s perception of what represents a good night out in Wakefield and working with Drinkaware gets us off to the best possible start.
“Launching Drinkaware Crew will have an immediate visual impact and the support they offer will create a safer and more hospitable environment for everyone.
“Our ultimate aim is for Wakefield’s evening economy to be known for its variety, quality and become a must-visit experience. We are well on the way and this is another step towards that aim.”
Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal added: “We are delighted to be introducing Drinkaware Crew into its first venues in Yorkshire, which gives us a presence in nearly all parts of the UK.
“The scheme has been a great success in other areas where it operates, delivering clear benefits to customers, venues and the local area.
“We are confident that Drinkaware Crew will prove to be an effective tool in Wakefield BID’s drive to improve the safety and enjoyment of young people on a night out and will contribute to them securing Purple Flag status.”
Drinkaware Crew is designed for venues with a capacity of over 500. Training has also been delivered in Bolton, Cheltenham, Glasgow, Plymouth, Shoreditch, Cardiff, Swansea, Nottingham, Bristol, Derby, Coventry, Leicester, Birmingham, Loughborough, Stalybridge, Pontypridd and Exeter. Venues interested in operating Drinkaware Crew should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Smaller venues can tap into the Drinkaware Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course, based on the Drinkaware Crew training programme. This gives customer-facing staff the skills and knowledge to identify alcohol-related vulnerability and support customers at risk from harm.