Alcohol Concern

Young people and alcohol peer support programme

This project will train young people to support other young people who have, or who are at risk of developing, alcohol misuse problems.

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It ran from to




  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



Young people are drinking more and drinking more often. 11-15 year olds who admit to drinking consumed twice as much in 2000 as they did in 1990. Despite the dangers of excessive drinking, there are few services dedicated to helping young problem drinkers or those most at risk of developing alcohol misuse problems. This project aims to increase the support available to these young people. Alcohol Concern will run a 15 month pilot peer support programme to help young people with alcohol problems. Peer support can be a very effective way of helping young people to overcome the problems in their lives. Young people seeking information or advice often feel more comfortable with someone of a similar age who may have experienced some of the difficulties that they themselves are trying to overcome. In partnership with the National Youth Agency we will train at least 30 young people to become peer supporters at three pilot sites in England. They will learn listening skills, how to provide safe drinking messages and how to help others to appropriate support services. Each peer supporter will meet regularly with a young person who has, or who is at risk of developing, alcohol problems to discuss issues and develop coping strategies, take them on visits to local services and participate in social and leisure activities, with the aim of enabling the young person to discuss their problems and start to access support. We will also train youth workers and alcohol service staff at each site to work together to establish and support the project in their area. Building the capacity of local staff to facilitate the work will help ensure that the peer support can continue beyond the lifetime of the project. We expect the project to achieve the following outcomes: • Young people who receive peer support will be better able to address their problems and will be more aware of the help available to them • Young people who are trained to be peer supporters will gain new skills and experiences • Practitioners working with the peer supporters will have increased knowledge and understanding of alcohol issues and will be able to deliver brief interventions to young people • Youth and alcohol practitioners across England will have a better understanding of the impact of alcohol-focused peer support and how to deliver this work The impact of the pilot project and the achievement of these outcomes will be evaluated and best practice guidance written up and disseminated. This will enable providers and commissioners of young people’s services and central government to learn from our experiences.