Today GrogWatch hears from Kath Knott who has been working with young people on a local project to reduce alcohol related violence in rural Victoria.
The Whenever You’re Likely to Drink (WYLD) project was funded by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency as part of the National Binge Drinking Strategy Community Level Initiatives.
WYLD is a youth-led initiative, delivered by Nexus Primary Health working with 16 – 24 year olds within the Mitchell and Murrindindi Shires in rural Victoria. It aims to raise awareness of the health risks caused by binge drinking and reduce alcohol related violence.
It is a partnership-based project that works with local sports clubs, licensed venues, local government, Victoria Police and other key organisations to provide healthy, supportive and safe environments for all community members.
WYLD worked with local government to conduct a local laws and policy review, and provided recommendations for improvement. Recommendations were made on behalf of young people and project partners, and resulted in changes to local bylaws in relation to alcohol; successfully reducing the hours of alcohol consumption in reserves and prohibiting alcohol consumption in townships.
In collaboration with over 250 young people from community groups, sports clubs and youth groups the project designed, developed and implemented a prevention and education campaign utilising social media.
Young people were involved in all aspects of the project, from logo design to the leading faces of the campaign. WYLD also secured ambassador Melbourne Vixen netballer Tegan Caldwell to join local sports club captains in being champions of the ‘Don’t Let it Get Ugly’ message.
Sporting clubs play a significant role in rural communities as a hub where many people from the community gather in official and unofficial roles. Therefore it was important to support the clubs to recognise their potential to contribute to the health, wellbeing and safety of the residents and visitors, by promoting the responsible service, sale and consumption of alcohol and encouraging high standards of behaviour in the community.
Working collaboratively with sports clubs to reduce the harms caused by binge drinking, WYLD encouraged them to engage with the Good Sports program and/or the Healthy Sporting Environments program (both coordinated locally by project partner Valley Sport).
They will continue to have an impact on the community through lasting long-term contributions achieved by the project including:
- local alcohol bylaws changes,
- the inclusion of alcohol related policies in local health planning including local youth, health and wellbeing and health promotion plans and strategies,
- volunteers and players in sports clubs have been trained in Responsible Service of Alcohol,
- local sports clubs have joined the Good Sports/Healthy Sporting Environment Programs and adopted policies to enable culture change,
- a local Facebook page has been developed and is being maintained so community engagement can continue.
Kath Knott, Project Worker, WYLD, Nexus Primary Health.
GrogWatch wants to hear your stories- are you working on a project to reduce alcohol-related harm in your community?
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The Australian Drug Foundation has recently produced a 6 Step to planning community alcohol and drug projects and you can read some other great examples of community prevention in action in Preventing alcohol and drug problems in your community.