Public health researchers Professor John Wiggers and Dr Luke Wolfenden have received $515,000 from the Australian Research Council to develop a web-based tool that will help community sports clubs improve their alcohol management programs.
The University of Newcastle study, in partnership with Hunter New England Health and the Australian Drug Foundation, will be conducted over the next three years.
“There is some evidence that sports people and those involved with sports, drink alcohol at increased levels than the general community,” Professor Wiggers said.
“The study is designed to work with sports clubs that serve alcohol responsibly to decrease the risk of alcohol-related incidents such as violence and abusive behaviour in their clubs.”
The program is based on the Australian Drugs Foundation’s Good Sports program. Good Sports has been successful in reducing the amount of alcohol consumed at clubs and sports grounds. It has also decreased the risk of members having alcohol related problems.
There are currently 38 clubs in the Newcastle area and 5000 clubs Australia-wide signed up to the program
The difference with Professor Wiggers’ study is that the program will be enhanced by providing internet links to assist and support sports club staff.
“The staff at the clubs have told club committees that they want better tools and resources to assist their patrons. They are now provided with tips, checklists and resources to conduct an audit so that they can see how they are going.”
If the study is successful, the Australian Drug Foundation will modify their program for the benefit of all clubs Australia wide.
Professor Wiggers’ project is one of six University of Newcastle projects awarded highly prestigious Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grants worth a total of $1.8 million.