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14 November 2019

Scotch Whisky Action Fund Commits Support to Six New Projects in Scotland

Absafe, one of the SWAF recipients
The Scotch Whisky Action Fund has announced the six projects across Scotland that it will be supporting in the coming year.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund (SWAF) has today announced the list of six projects that it will be supporting over the coming year as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to tackling alcohol misuse.

The announcement, which comes during Alcohol Awareness Week (11 to 17 November 2019), is an outcome of the decision made by the independent awards panel chaired by Dame Joan Stringer.  Applications were received from initiatives across Scotland who are helping to address the problems caused by the misuse of alcohol.

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.

By 2023, the Fund will have provided £1million of support, and today’s announcement brings the number of individual initiatives awarded funding to 48. The SWAF also holds an annual learning event, bringing project representatives together to network, share learnings and identify and discuss common issues.

Margaret Murphy, Chief Executive at Edinburgh Young Carers, said: "The funding support received from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund is very much appreciated and will make a huge difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable young carers.  This will enable us to build on our well-being service for young carers and achieve our overarching aim which is to ensure that young carers caring for a parent(s) with alcohol addiction issues are safe, better able to cope at home and to lower the risk of them developing alcohol abuse issues”

Darran Gillan, Youth Programme & Development Manager at Paisley YMCA said: “Thanks to the Scotch Whisky Action Fund young people have the opportunity to develop an interactive platform to engage in a deeper conversation on the impact of youth culture and its relationship with alcohol, using immersive technology called TouchCast with Virtual Reality content. 

“This innovative project would not have been possible without the support of the SWAF who are supporting this peer lead programme. Young people will co-develop all aspects of the VR scenarios and Touchcast content to showcase through schools and youth clubs across Renfrewshire.”

Kim Woolner, Interim Chief Executive at Absafe, said: “We were thrilled to learn that SWAF would be supporting Absafe's new Alcohol Safety Set. The Set will allow us to educate school children, in Aberdeen City and Shire, on alcohol-related issues, meaning that we will be able to spread the message wide, to their families and communities, on the potential risks and dangers of alcohol misuse and abuse, encouraging more responsible behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol safety.”

Jim Malcolmson, Programme Coordinator at Menself, said "This award from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund will enable us to deliver the DRUMBEAT programme in Scotland for the first time. This programme is hugely successful in developing resilience in people and has a proven track record in making a real impact to people's lifestyles. We are confident that we will soon be helping males from the East End of Glasgow to replicate the successes of this interactive programme to enable them to affect and manage an improved quality of life that is not reliant on alcohol."

Dame Joan Stringer, who chaired the awards panel, said: “The six projects that the SWAF will be supporting over the coming year will be deploying innovative ways to help combat the problems caused by alcohol misuse. We are greatly looking forward to seeing the progress they make.”

Douglas Meikle, Head of Alcohol Policy at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The Scotch Whisky Action Fund is an important keystone of a responsible industry. The varied selection of projects that are awarded funding have demonstrated incredible ingenuity in their approaches to addressing alcohol abuse. We look forward to seeing the results of these initiatives over the coming year and beyond.”

For further information, please contact the Scotch Whisky Association Press Office on or call 0131 222 9200

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund was developed by the Scotch Whisky industry and is managed by Foundation Scotland. It was launched in 2013 as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to combat the misuse of alcohol in Scotland.

The full list of projects awarded support from the 2019 SWAF funding round are:

U-evolve (Edinburgh) exists to provide direct support to young people aged 11 to 18 who are facing mental health challenges and are disengaged from education. Their project 'TALK" will work directly with young people who have experienced a family history of alcohol misuse or are at-risk of alcohol misuse.

Absafe(Aberdeen) exists to ensure that young people in the North East can lead a healthy life free from unintentional injury and harm. Absafe is building an extension to create a new classroom dedicated to the delivery of alcohol safety education in a bespoke and engaging interactive environment due to the local need identified by both Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Community Planning teams.

Edinburgh Young Carers provide person-centred, individual and group work support to young carers (aged 9-14) who care for a family member with alcohol addiction issues. Edinburgh Young Carers will employ a professional in-house youth counsellor who will deliver a series of early intervention therapeutic group work counselling to young carers. The young people know this as SE+, (Social Education Plus) and it is a specific programme designed to meet the needs of young carers living with a parent who misuses alcohol.

Paisley YMCA is a digital youth organisation with the aim to support young people reach their full potential through digitally based cultural and educational projects. Paisley YMCA will through use of TouchCast technology provide digital based workshops to 700 young people aged 12-15 which will explore issues and themes around alcohol

MENSELF + (Men Encouraging & Nurturing Self Efficacy to Live Life Fully) (Glasgow) provides health and wellbeing information sessions to young men and men aged 14+, using innovate techniques such as ‘MOT 4 MEN’ health checks, enabling the group to reach out to men, which can be a harder health demographic to reach. Menself will run an inter-generational DRUMBEAT group to young men and men aged 14-45.

Govan Youth Information Project (GYIP) is a charitable organisation based in Govan, Glasgow. GYIP offers free support services for children, young people and community members. Govan Youth Information Project will run a series of diversionary activities for young people at risk of alcohol misuse. Diversionary activities will include training young people to deliver interactive diversionary workshops on the dangers of alcohol to their peers and other youth organisations; young people participating in the group’s holiday programme; as well as within secondary schools during their health days.

@ScotchWhiskySWA | #TakeAction

Support for the Scotch Whisky industry as an equal partner in any initiative to combat the misuse of alcohol is included in the SWA's five-point manifesto, which we are asking all candidates to commit to in the lead-up to the 2019 General Election.

Find out more about the SWA's #SupportScotch manifesto here.