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Guest blog: Drinkaware venue schemes and campaigns for safer, more positive student nights out

Grabbing, groping, offensive comments, taking photos without permission: unfortunately these are all behaviours that 18 – 24 year olds told Drinkaware are common place – even expected – on nights out in clubs and bars.

Over the last three years, Drinkaware have been working to address this via advertising campaigns which challenge drunken sexual harassment, and by helping venues integrate customer welfare into their operating structure via the Drinkaware Crew scheme.

Supporting student welfare with Drinkaware Crew

Drinkaware Crew are trained staff working in clubs and venues to support the welfare and wellbeing of young adults on nights out. Working in pairs, they mingle with customers to promote a positive social atmosphere and help people who may be vulnerable as a result of alcohol consumption. This can include supporting people who have been harassed, helping lone customers to get taxis at the end of the night, and escalating serious issues to venue security and first aid.

Now active in 14 internal and affiliated Students' Union venues across the UK, educational and student bodies have been key partners in the growth of Drinkaware Crew, leading the way in customer care in the evening and night time economy.

Plymouth SU were the first student body to take up the scheme as a part of a pilot project in late 2015 and, based on its successes, are preparing for their fourth academic year with Drinkaware Crew supporting students on the busiest nights.

A regional project funded by South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has seen five Students' Unions across South Wales, including Cardiff and Swansea SUs, operate Drinkaware Crew since September 2016. Introduced as part of region-wide initiative to improve student safety, Crew teams have supported almost 1,000 students since they were introduced.

On the back of successes in Plymouth and South Wales, Drinkaware Crew teams have also been introduced in Students' Unions across Leicestershire, Nottingham, Coventry and Derby.

You can hear our partners in South Wales and other areas talk about the benefits of having Drinkaware Crew in a venue in the following video: