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It’s about the night out, not the hangover


An innovative pilot project is looking for ideas from local residents about how bars and pubs in Hackney could be more welcoming for people who want to drink less alcohol on a night out, or not drink at all.

A recent survey of Hackney residents found that almost 40 per cent say they don’t drink alcohol at all, with younger people aged 16-24 years most likely to abstain (54 per cent). Women, black and minority ethnic (BME) and older people aged 65 years or over are also less likely to drink[1]. A national survey found that one in five people who do drink over the recommended levels want to change their drinking - either to cut down or quit[2].

Club Soda, a start-up company supporting people who want to change their drinking, has partnered with charity Alcohol Concern, to develop the pilot with funding from Hackney Council’s Healthier Hackney Fund. They will work with customers and venue owners in Dalston to design and test ideas, which could include things like soft drink promotions and point-of-sale displays.

The first step is to find out what pub and bar customers in Hackney want. Residents can get involved by sharing their ideas and thoughts with Club Soda through an online survey.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
Hackney is known for its fantastic nightlife, and pubs and bars are an essential part of our night-time economy. But we want to help people avoid the health risks of excessive drinking. This unique project, funded through our Healthier Hackney Fund, aims to bring venue owners and customers together to design new ways of supporting people who want to cut down, or stop drinking, in a way that will benefit local businesses as well as residents.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

Laura Willoughby from Club Soda said: “Pubs are an important part of our social life and culture, and we want to see if they can improve their business by becoming more welcoming for all of their customers, whether they want to drink alcohol or not.”

Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern, said: "Our successful Dry January campaign helps people to feel that it is perfectly OK not to drink alcohol. We are delighted to support this project to encourage pubs and clubs to enable people to have a good night out without booze."

Anyone interested in the project, have an idea and want to take part, can get in touch with Club Soda. Email Laura at laura@joinclubsoda.co.uk.

Find out more about the Healthier Hackney Fund.

Notes to Editors:

What is Club Soda?

Club Soda helps people change their drinking, whether they want to cut down, stop for a bit, quit, or stick. You can set your goals, track your progress, talk with others, and enjoy our social events and inspiring workshops. Find out more at www.joinclubsoda.co.uk.

What is Alcohol Concern?

Alcohol Concern is a small charity working in England and Wales, trying to change the conversations and attitudes people have about alcohol. Find out more at www.alcoholconcern.org.uk.

[1] Ipsos Mori Hackney residents’ health and wellbeing survey 2015. Key findings:

  • Women, BME respondents, younger residents and older people are more likely to abstain from alcohol:
  • 43% of women (vs 34% of men)
  • 54% of those aged 16-24 and 44% of those aged 65+ (compared with 35% of those aged 25-64)
  • 79% of Asian and 47% of Black residents (compared 26% of White residents).

[2] Ipsos Mori research into drinking behaviour and attitudes of 25-44 year olds 2013 conducted for Drinkaware.