Underage drinking project getting results

A Derry project which aims to tackle underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in the city says some alcohol-related incidents have been reduced by 50%.

The Challenging Underage Drinking Initiative was launched last year to tackle the problems caused by youths using alcohol in the Creggan, Rosemount, Beechwood and Glen areas of the city.

An interim report showed that reports of rowdiness in the areas dropped by more than one third between May to September 2011, compared to the same period in 2010, and there was also a 50% drop in people being referred to youth diversion officers.

Last week, community champion Baroness Newlove, whose husband Gary was murdered by three youths in Warrington in 2007, visited Derry in her role as chair of Community Alcohol Partnerships.

As the British Government’s Champion for Active Safer Communities, Baroness Newlove was invited to Northern Ireland to discuss a report she penned, which aims to tackle anti-social behaviour through community action.

She said she wanted to visit Derry to see for herself the effect the Challenging Underage Drinking Initiative was having on the area.

“This initiative is an excellent model for how local communities can pull together and tackle the serious issues they face, such as underage drinking and anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“I applaud the energy and determination of the public, to help solve their problems by coming up with a local solution.

“It’s clear that the project is really making a difference to the local people here and we can learn a lot from its success as we look to roll out Community Alcohol Partnerships further across the province.”

Karen Philips, the Project Manager from Derry City Council, welcomed the visit.

“The interim report shows that the Partnership in Derry is making real progress. We recognise that there is still much to do in order to tackle this important issue and will continue to work together in order to progress the project.”