Community Action on Alcohol is a £300k learning programme that funds and evaluates community-led approaches to address local alcohol concerns.
The programme was launched in Blackburn, West Lothian in 2008 and following the success of that project, the model was extended to Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig in Argyll and Neilston in East Renfrewshire in 2011.
To date, the programme has supported the development of multi-component, community action models within three communities across Scotland in order to better understand ‘what works’, ‘what doesn’t work’ and ‘why’ in addressing alcohol related harm.
This briefing highlights the emerging learning from the 3 Community Action on Alcohol pilots. This includes:
- Community Action approaches can be effective in bringing communities together to identify and address alcohol related harm at a local level.
- To be successful, these approaches should proactively engage with a wide range of individuals and organisations across the community. This should include both adults and young people from the local area, as well as other key stakeholders such as schools, Councils and local employers.
- Through focussing initial discussions on the issues that affect the community’s everyday lives and their aspirations for the future, community action approaches will be more likely to engage a wide range of groups and identify a programme of positive activities that meet all of the community’s needs instead of those that exclusively relate to alcohol misuse.
- Creating community steering groups can be effective in building alliances and ensuring the community and other key stakeholders are actively involved in and feel a sense of ownership over the design and delivery of the project. It is important that these steering groups include individuals who have the power to make decisions and affect strategy.
- Identifying key individuals who live and work in the local community and have the time, skills and energy to drive the work forward can be influential in ensuring the community engage with the project and have the capacity to sustain the work in the long term.
The briefing is available to read here.