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Responsible drinking programmes
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• “The Bottle Project”
COUNTRY United Kingdom
TIMING 2015 > Ongoing
THEME
Underage drinking

CONTRIBUTOR

  • Diageo
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PARTNER(S)

  • Mentor
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OBJECTIVE

  • To build resilience to risky and harmful behaviour, including misusing alcohol, and to foster instead healthy ambition, determination and a sense of community.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE INITIATIVE

  • Working in Oxgangs, an area of high social deprivation in Edinburgh, Mentor makes peer-led alcohol and health workshops available to vulnerable and hard to reach young people living locally.  The project aims to build resilience to risky and harmful behaviour, including misusing alcohol, and to foster instead healthy ambition, determination and a sense of community.  
  • The Bottle Project is a development of the Breaking Out project, that Mentor is currently conducting at Polmont HM Young Offenders Institution, with funding from Comic Relief.  Breaking Out has been described by the Prison Governor as one of the most exciting and hopeful projects she has ever seen.  The idea is to take this learning to the local community, to influence young people before they become young offenders.  Many young people in the area are only loosely attached to school and their home life may be chaotic.  Peer-led learning is particularly useful for vulnerable and socially excluded young people who will not engage with formal education.  
  • The Bottle workshops and training discuss alcohol and the body, sexual health, risk taking behaviour and ways to reduce harm.  Discussion is non-judgmental but clear, led by young people themselves.  Most importantly, the project builds confidence, self-esteem and resilience so that young people feel empowered to take wise decisions even though they may perhaps unpopular with some of their friends.  Workshops last six-weeks and are aimed at young people aged 14-17.  After the first six weeks, participants have the opportunity to continue their development by undertaking a further four-week programme, which focuses on developing the knowledge, skills and confidence to become Peer Educators.  During the project, Mentors and Peer Educators will have the opportunity to gain accreditation through the Dynamic Youth Awards (DYA).  
  • In the final year of the project, the Development Group will use their learning to create a toolkit for delivering alcohol education in youth settings.  The toolkit will be piloted and evaluated in Oxgangs, before being made available to practitioners on Mentor’s website and through partner organisations.
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IMPACT

  • The aim is to train 16 Mentors and 32 Peer Educators, engaging a minimum of 250 young people in peer-led alcohol and health education workshops in the first year. 
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EVALUATION

  • All training and workshops are evaluated using tools developed by an independent evaluator during the Breaking Out project.
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