The aim of the Scottish Drugs Challenge Fund is to unite the public, private and voluntary sectors in addressing the problems of drug misuse in Scotland at a grassroots level, encouraging local communities to produce their own solutions to their own unique drug-related problems, says Scotland Against Drugs director Alistair Ramsay.
Since its launch in 1996, the Fund has approved 118 bids around Scotland, totalling almost pound;1.75 million. The private and publicvoluntary sectors have contributed pound;1.5 million and pound;325,000 respectively. Proposals must show that local concerns are being addressed and that there is significant community involvement. They must also show private sector commitment (a third of project costs). Thirty-two bids have been successful this year, representing a diverse array of projects.
In Lanarkshire, Rosehall High School, Coatbridge, is implementing a healthy lifestyle programme, in partnership with Universal Sports, Monklands Youth Rugby Club, Forsyth's Fresh Fruit, Wayside Drumpellier RFC, Lanarkshire Health Board, Strathclyde Police and North Lanarkshire Council Education Department.
Stirling Council has organised a drug awareness music event, involving 400 young people, with support from local companies, voluntary organisations and Forth Valley Health Board.
East Lothian Drug Action Team arranged for Junk, a play about drug addiction based on Melvin Burgess's novel, to tour local secondary schools this month, followed by interactive workshops and drug misuse discussions, in partnership with the Bank of Scotland, Brunton Theatre Trust, Scottish Power and East Lothian.
In the Western Isles, a series of educational and sports events has been organised by Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with private firms, Stornoway Round Table, Lewis and Harris Sports Festival, Pointers Drop In and Western Isles Health Board.
Meanwhile, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Scotland is setting up drug awareness training sessions targeting 17,000 youngsters through their 200 clubs, in partnership with Hyway Pennington and Lothian Health Board.
"As far as projects involving young people are concerned, the Fund recognises that schools are generally good at drugs education and so encourages bids to build on the work being done in school, by focusing on the eight-ninths of the time youngsters spend outside school," says Mr Ramsay.
SAD: 0141 331 6150