A year more mindful

For the last year Blenheim has been working with our partners at Club Soda to challenge people to think mindfully about their drinking. Club Soda are a community and movement pioneering a behavioural change approach to helping those looking to cut down their drinking or stop altogether. And so the Club Soda Guide was created – it’s a pub and bar Guide focused on venues in Hackney and the City but with listings across the country.

As a charity providing support to people Mindfulexperiencing alcohol or drugs problems, Blenheim are proud to support this initiative which encourages people to think
more carefully about what they are drinking.

There are a huge number of benefits to cutting down or giving up alcohol altogether. You can find information about alcohol in our website factsheets and guidance on where you can get help if you are concerned about your drinking our services page.

The Club Soda Guide identifies venues that have a good low/no alcohol drinks and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Venues’ profiles show a score out of 5 as well as a break down on the drinks of their menu to allow customers to choose where suits them best. This is a large range in what venues offer, some places with barely any alcohol-free options to some with well over a hundred – this is reflected in a good spread across the scorings used with 21% scoring 5* while 10% on 0*.

The project was a success. We visited more than 360 pubs and around three quarters of these were interested by what we’re trying to do with the project. Of these 171 signed up to get a rating and be on the Guide, with more sign ups coming in from venues across the country finding out about the Guide and wanting to be involved.

mindfulAwards are being given to the best pubs and bars listed to show customers where is particularly good and to provide an incentive for venues to improve.

The mindful pub crawls we organised were a good way to get people using the Guide and rating the venues, our launch on the 5th January at the Draft House brought in more than 50 people to celebrate with us (you can read more about the launch here). We even made some mindful pub crawls kit with some tips and games to help people explore the Guide on their own (they proved so popular we had to put together a second batch).

We had a big push through January and February to get the word out, in part to coincide with the emphasis of #DryJanuary. People wanted to hear what we had to say and the Guide made it into articles and features in the Guardian, Metro, Sky News, TimeOut among many others.

Through this project, support with their drinking was offered to over 5000 and over 100 took up with offer.

The project was supported by Hackney Council, the City of London, the Big Lottery Fund, and the RSA. We are now looking at how to use the project as a pilot learning lessons and improving the technology behind the Guide to roll out on a larger scale.

Check out the Guide and nominate your favourite local if it’s not there already – and don’t forget to follow us on social media to see what we’re getting up to!

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