Scotch Whisky Action Fund announces further support to projects across Scotland

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund (SWAF) has announced its ongoing support to four initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol misuse in Scotland.

Bright Light’s Families in Recovery project and Waverley Care’s SX National Alcohol Harm Reduction initiatives have received their third year of funding.

Addictions Counselling Inverness’ Family project and West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services’ (CVS) Men Befriending project have been awarded funding for the second year.

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund was established in 2013 by the Scotch Whisky Association and has made over 50 awards to initiatives across Scotland working to reduce alcohol-related harm. By 2023, the Fund will have provided £1m of support to charities.

The Fund is just one element of the Scotch Whisky industry’s commitment to addressing alcohol misuse and promoting responsible drinking.  It is managed by Foundation Scotland.

Bright Light’s ‘Families in Recovery’ project was created three years ago thanks to funding from the SWAF and provides counselling sessions for children and young people in Edinburgh and the Lothians adjusting to life with a parent or guardian recovering from alcohol addiction. The funding has allowed the project to grow and help more families each year.

Julie Hogg-Wild, Chief Executive of Bright Light, said: “We provide a safe space for families to heal from alcohol-related issues and move on with their lives. This is beneficial to the person recovering from alcohol addiction, but it is also incredibly helpful for the whole family. People have a better chance of staying in recovery if they have a strong network around them. Without the funding from the SWAF we would not have been able to pilot this project and build on it each year, providing fundamental support to so many families.”

Waverley Care’s SX Alcohol Harm Reduction initiative provides a variety of sessions and campaigns aimed at promoting safer alcohol consumption and harm reduction among gay and bisexual men. The continued funding will allow the project to build on the progress made to date and will help them to reach more marginalised communities who are currently missed by mainstream service provision, such as older men and those living with HIV, with a particular focus on regional areas across Scotland.

Alastair Rose, National Manager of Waverley Care’s SX project, said: “The funding from the SWAF is integral in our efforts to help gay and bisexual mean have the confidence to access mainstream services to assist with problematic drinking. Research has found that this section of society is disproportionately affected by alcohol related harm and the funding allows us to try creative and nuanced ways of reaching and engaging with these individuals right across Scotland.”

Continued funding has been pledged to Addictions Counselling Inverness’ Family project which offers free counselling to the partner or loved one of an individual receiving support for alcohol related issues and was established last year thanks to the initial SWAF grant.

Sharan Brown, Development Manager at Addictions Counselling Inverness said: “We are very grateful to the SWAF, without the funding our Family project wouldn’t be able to operate and it is a vital service to so many families across Inverness-shire. We have made a real difference to the lives of so many who are incredibly appreciative of the support we offer and the partner organisations we work with believe our two-pronged approach to counselling is important in the overall efforts to tackle alcohol addiction.”

West Dunbartonshire CVS’ Men Befriending project, which aims to reduce isolation and related alcohol abuse among men, has been given continued funding which will help it to become an organisation in its own right.

Selina Ross, Chief Officer of West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the SWAF for its funding and support, the Men Befriending project has the capacity to be a really positive addition to the lives of men across West Dunbartonshire. Funding is so important to help innovative projects get off the ground and the SWAF were willing to take a chance on something that we believed would work well. This additional funding provides the six months buffer the group needs to establish itself as an independent entity and get off to the best start.”

Dame Joan Stringer, Chair of the decision-making panel for ongoing SWAF funding, said: “Each of these projects have achieved very positive results since first being awarded this funding, making measurable difference to the communities and the groups they work with. Continuation funding is vital to ensure that their impact is ongoing amid unprecedented circumstances, and we look forward to seeing their progress over the coming year.”

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the SWA, said: “Now more than ever, it is hugely important to the Scotch Whisky industry to continue to support projects that help to tackle alcohol misuse. It’s great to work with these projects once again, and it’s very inspiring to see the impact that each one is having.”

The SWAF is now open for applications for funding in 2020-21, the deadline is 2nd July. To apply, please visit the Foundation Scotland website.