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Report from the Drinkaware Roadshow

On 27/03/15 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Last week, Daisy Blench and I attended the new Drinkaware London Roadshow and the opening of the organisation’s new offices. Following successful conferences in previous years, Drinkaware decided to go for a new and different format with the events moving on to Birmingham and Edinburgh. It was a real opportunity to hear about their progress, campaigns and meet the team. Here are a few highlights.

Sir Leigh Lewis, the Chairman of Drinkaware, was delighted that all their key supporters had reconfirmed their funding and this year they will receive a little more than £5 million from some 70 funders, including some who are new. Last year they also received some external income for the first time, from the Nottingham Alcohol Partnership.
We heard about the 8 million unique visitors to the Drinkaware website, including almost one million in December. This is up 40 per cent since 2013. Slightly more women than men visit the site; they are predominately under the age of 35; 27 per cent come from London, but otherwise it is an even spread across the UK. They have now reached a quarter of the UK adult population over the last five years.

The new app they have developed has attracted 100,000 downloads and allows people to keep a drinking diary and set themselves goals to moderate their alcohol intake. They continue to undertake research to find out who the different types of drinker are as well as what people are drinking, how, why and whether they are interested in moderating their drinking. There were many different drinking motivations, but overall young people were drinking less and those over 45, more.

Drinkaware is looking to broaden its reach, through media buys, marketing and partnership activity. The organisation work with eBay, MSN, Mail Online and Spa to name but a few. The Twitter community has doubled from 6,000 to 12,000 and Facebook from 20,000 to 23,000. They have undertaken research which shows that small changes in messaging make a big difference as to whether visitors to a site take the next step.

In Nottingham, Drinkaware has developed a new pilot project with the Nottingham Alcohol Partnership and a commercial operator to tackle the harmful behaviours that are a feature of ‘drunken nights out’. It was very much based on raising awareness that if it certain behaviour is unacceptable when you are sober then it is unacceptable when you are drunk. It focused on drunken sexual harassment specifically. There was a clear lack of awareness of some young men in particular that sexual harassment was a problem. As part of the project, ‘club hosts’ were trained to offer support and help to potentially vulnerable customers and alongside this, Drinkaware developed a cinema and social media advertising campaign to raise awareness of the issue The evaluation of the pilot showed that there was an increase in the number of young people who understood that certain behaviour was unacceptable.

It was all good to hear and understand and very impressive, with a clear focus on going beyond providing people with information and seeking to bring about real behavioural change to reduce harmful drinking. At the end of the afternoon Derek Lewis, the former chairman, officially opened the new Drinkaware offices. The Lewis and Lewis show you might presume!


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