Wakefield BID in evening economy Yorkshire first

Tuesday 19th June 2018

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Wakefield BID launches Drinkaware Crew in Yorkshire first

Wakefield Business Improvement District (BID) has become the first partner to launch Drinkaware Crew in Yorkshire as part of the city’s drive to secure Purple Flag status.

The aim of the BID is to support and promote Wakefield city centre by making it a better place to visit, shop, relax, work and live. The introduction of Drinkaware Crew, with the support of West Yorkshire Police and city centre bars and nightclubs, is seen as a major step in bringing the BID’s plans to life.

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware introduced its Crew programme, which helps to keep young people safe during nights out, in Nottingham in 2014 and implementation in Wakefield – a Yorkshire first – takes the number of operating areas around the country to 18 in a total of 38 venues.

As part of the initiative, Drinkaware delivered specialist staff training for Drinkaware Crew members in city centre venues with Kooky being the first site to implement it. Drinkaware Crew are additional members of the venue’s staff team who support young people who may be vulnerable as a result of drinking too much.

They mingle in pairs around the venue, wearing branded Drinkaware Crew clothing for easy identification, and offer assistance where needed, from helping vulnerable people get a taxi home and reuniting them with their friends to handing out bottles of water. As well as reactive support, they proactively promote a positive atmosphere, by talking to customers queuing to enter the venue, and engaging with them during the evening.

Elizabeth Murphy, Wakefield BID’s Manager said: “One of the key drivers behind the Wakefield BID was the development of the city’s evening economy. We want to attract more evening visitors into the city through better marketing and promotion, increasing footfall and revenue while also helping to make it an even safer, fun experience.

“Operators in other parts of the country have been positive about the impact of Drinkaware Crew on their venues, reporting that it improves safety and wellbeing of customers as well as freeing up time for other team members to focus on their jobs to improve the overall experience of customers.

“Venues also report improved relationships with their local community and it’s a great tribute to everyone involved that Wakefield BID with our fabulous businesses and partners are the first to introduce the scheme in Yorkshire. Billy Muirhead, who runs several venues here, has been a great supporter of this in helping us roll it out.

“Our ultimate aim is for Wakefield’s evening economy to be known for its variety, quality and it become a must-visit experience. We are well on the way and this is another step towards that aim.”

Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said:“We’re thrilled that Wakefield BID has become our first partner to introduce Drinkaware Crew into venues in Yorkshire, which gives us a presence in nearly all parts of the UK.

“The scheme has been a great success in other areas where it operates, delivering clear benefits to customers, venues and the local area. We are confident that Drinkaware Crew will prove to be an effective tool in Wakefield BID’s drive to improve the safety and enjoyment of young people on a night out and will contribute to them securing Purple Flag status.”

Sergeant Mark Thorold, of Wakefield District Licencing Team, said: “It’s great to see that this idea that my licensing team at Wakefield introduced has taken off and been funded by Wakefield BID and in support of partnership agencies. As a Force, we regularly look to warn and educate people about staying safe on a night out and our advice includes never leaving your drinks unattended, always stay with friends and never walk home alone and ensure you have a taxi booked for your journey home. It’s clear to see our work is making a big difference protecting the community of Wakefield and ensuring that the city centre remains a safe place for residents and visitors to go out and enjoy themselves.”

The Purple Flag standard, launched in 2012, is an accreditation process similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag for beaches. It allows members of the public to quickly identify town & city centres that offer an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.

Drinkaware Crew is designed for venues with a 500+ capacity and is currently running in: Bolton, Cheltenham, Glasgow, Plymouth, Shoreditch, Cardiff, Swansea, Nottingham, Bristol, Derby, Coventry, Leicester, Birmingham and Exeter. Venues interested in operating Drinkaware Crew should contact drinkawarecrew@drinkaware.co.uk.

Smaller venues can benefit from the Drinkaware Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course, based on the Drinkaware Crew training programme. This gives customer-facing staff the skills and knowledge to identify alcohol-related vulnerability and support customers at risk from harm.For more information: elearning@drinkaware.co.uk