Sports networks to tackle alcohol attitudes

The Luke Adams Foundation will partner with the WA Sports Federation to deliver a new program Changing Attitudes to Alcohol Through Sport.

On Saturday, Minster for Sport & Recreation Terry Waldron MLA announced the new initiative with the Government to invest $1 million over 3 years.

Sport has represented a key platform from the day the foundation was established to incorporate our awareness and education strategies. This is a direct result of the Adams’ families association in community sport and the role they believe it can play in shaping the social fabric of communities.

Another reason for utilising sport as a platform is the sheer reach that it can provide – there are currently over 5000 registered sporting clubs in Western Australia. Each of these clubs we believe, has a vital role to play in positively shaping our communities , promoting health and well being and more importantly reducing and preventing alcohol related harm and anti social behaviour.

Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Waldron said the Changing Attitudes to Alcohol Through Sport program would use the unparalleled community networks sporting clubs provide to change attitudes and reinforce the responsible service and consumption of alcohol message.

“Sport has had enormous success in tackling social issues like racism and religious discrimination and supporting the less privileged and most at risk in our society,” he said.

 “This has been achieved by utilising the social networks sporting clubs and associations create in our community and there is no doubt we can use that blueprint to tackle the culture of alcohol abuse in our society.”

 The program will work with club leaders such as presidents, captains and coaches to develop a positive environment within their club that supports young people making responsible decisions in regards to alcohol.

 “The Dockers hired Ross Lyon and Hockey Australia hired Ric Charlesworth … because it is the leader that sets the culture within a club, not policies and procedures but the words and behaviours of key leaders,” Mr Waldron said.

 The Minister said while Responsible Service of Alcohol requirements and laws to reduce anti-social drinking were already in place, grassroots sporting clubs were perfectly placed to help deliver the cultural change needed to support those regulations.

 “If we look at issues like binge drinking, it is obvious we have to change the culture of alcohol use and we need to use cultural drivers to do that.  Our sporting networks are key cultural drivers,” he said.

 “This program is not about eliminating alcohol; it is about improving the capacity of clubs and local communities to take responsibility for reducing alcohol-related harm in their communities.”

 The strategy will equip clubs and associations with a broad range of tools, training and resources to manage alcohol responsibly, and promote behavioural and cultural changes within their local communities.

Seven major State Sporting Associations (SSAs) have committed to the project, including Basketball WA, Football West, Hockey WA, Rugby WA, Surf Life Saving WA, WA Cricket Association and the WA Football Commission.