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09 November 2020

Distillers Provide Over £46,000 to Support Grassroots Projects Tackling Alcohol Misuse

One of the projects being supported by the Scotch Whisky Action Fund in 2020-21
The Scotch Whisky Action Fund has announced its support for five projects in Scotland working to tackle the impact of alcohol misuse.

Five organisations in Scotland working to tackle alcohol misuse and promote responsible drinking have been awarded more than £46,000 by the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.

Three of the projects are based in Edinburgh: Rowan Alba, Edinburgh Young Carers and Fast Forward.  The Scottish Professional Football League Trust, based in Glasgow but covering all of Scotland, also received funding, as well as The Brock in West Lothian. Each project demonstrated that they are using innovative approaches to tackling alcohol-related harm, with many adapting to the difficulties caused COVID-19.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund was established in 2013 by the Scotch Whisky industry.  It has made over 50 awards to projects across Scotland working to reduce alcohol-related harm and has disbursed £750,000 in funding to date. The Fund primarily supports small, grassroots projects to help them scale into larger initiatives. The Fund is managed by Foundation Scotland and awards are decided by an independent panel.

The projects granted funding in this year’s awards aim to ensure that the effects of alcohol misuse can continue to be addressed in a supportive setting. They recognise that this support is all the more important because of the pressures on everyone’s lives caused by COVID-19.  The projects have adapted how they deliver support during the current restrictions, so they can operate in COVID-secure ways, including embracing virtual platforms.

Dame Joan Stringer, Chair of the decision-making panel for the Scotch Whisky Action Fund, said, “Supporting the work of the projects selected to receive the Scotch Whisky Action Fund for 2020 is more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19. The applications we received demonstrate a breadth of targeted support for different demographics. We look forward to working with these projects and seeing their positive impact to address alcohol related harm over the coming year.”

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to tackling alcohol misuse and supporting the organisations receiving awards this year is very important to us.  It’s particularly important at a time when COVID-19 is putting enormous pressure on individuals, families and communities across Scotland.  These projects represent part of the industry’s broader commitment to tackling alcohol misuse.”

More information on the Scotch Whisky Action Fund awardees can be found below.

The Brock is a social enterprise in Broxburn which welcomes people with chronic mental health conditions to socialise with others and volunteer with gardening, woodwork and other outdoor crafts. The Sharing Lived Experiences initiative, supported by the Scotch Whisky Action Fund, will host students from West Lothian college in outdoor activity sessions run by service users of the Brock. The purpose of the initiative will be to facilitate conversations and questions on the impact of alcohol misuse in a safe, supportive setting.

Edinburgh Young Carers (EYC) is Scotland’s largest independent young carers’ service, providing respite and support to young people aged 5-25 who have caring responsibilities for an adult they live with. Edinburgh Young Carers is receiving funding from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund for a dedicated project aimed at tackling the impact of COVID-19 on its service users. The SWAF funding will be used to support the work of the Health Opportunities Team, helping to give young carers the quality time to take a break, talk about what is affecting them, and the opportunity to learn coping techniques.

Fast Forward is based in Edinburgh and supports young people to make informed choices around risk-taking behaviours, including knife crime, substance misuse, gambling and gaming and alcohol related harm. The SWAF funding will contribute towards the ‘Own It!’ project, created by Fast Forward’s Arts-Based Project Director Kai Peacock, which uses a virtual platform designed to teach young people that they have the power and autonomy to make good decisions around the use of alcohol.

Rowan Alba is a local Edinburgh homeless charity based in Leith which also provides support on tackling alcohol misuse to people in the community. The SWAF funding will build upon their pilot work providing training for Edinburgh pub staff on recognising and engaging with older people in the community living in extreme isolation and at high risk of alcohol related harm.

The Scottish Professional Football League Trust (SPFL Trust) works with associated community trusts and SPFL clubs across Scotland. The SPFL Trust’s UNITs project will work in partnership with Drinkaware to help develop digital and physical resources to build participants’ understanding of alcohol consumption. The UNITs project will be delivered by 33 associated community trusts and clubs: Airdrieonians FC, Alloa Athletic FC, Arbroath FC, Brechin City FC, Clyde FC, Dundee FC, Dundee Utd FC, East Fife FC, Falkirk FC, Heart of Midlothian FC, Hibernian FC, Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, Livingston FC, Montrose FC, Motherwell FC, Peterhead FC, Queen of the South FC, Queens Park FC, Raith Rovers FC, Rangers FC, Ross County FC, Stirling Albion FC, Stranraer FC, St Mirren FC