Our strategy in summary

At the end of 2018, Drinkaware applied the Theory of Change to the development of the charity’s new Strategic Plan 2019-2021, building on the achievements of its first strategic plan (2016-2018).

This process started with the critical question, what is the change we want to see? For Drinkaware this is, as it always was, an Ireland where alcohol is not misused. Our vision and mission are our driving force, continually prompting us to reflect on how we can use our resources and expertise to meaningfully contribute to this ambitious societal change.

Through our Strategic Plan 2019-2021, our contribution to change is focused on delivering five identified Levers of Change:

  1. An understanding of misuse

If people are not aware of what constitutes alcohol misuse, they cannot know that they are drinking to a level that may cause harm to their health. Our research tells us that knowledge of the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines among adults in Ireland remains critically low. There is much work to do to improve this understanding but without this baseline knowledge, unintentional alcohol-related harm in Ireland will continue.

  1. A desire and willingness to change

Positive societal change requires a checklist of traits to be sustainable and achievable. Drinkaware will facilitate an inclusive movement that can bring people along the journey towards change together, informed by our data which shows that a consistent 1 in 3 adults have already made positive changes their drinking habits.

  1. The know-how to change

Change must also be accessible. The language we use is relatable and personable, not scaremongering or didactic. The practical, evidence-informed tools we produce are easy to use and free to access to individuals, organisations and communities nationwide. We constantly strive to work collaboratively and share our information, research and tools to support wider reach, access and engagement.

  1. The incentive (reward) to change

It is Drinkaware’s role to ignite and nurture a willingness to change by demonstrating the benefits that can be gained from drinking within the guidelines or cutting out alcohol to protect health and wellbeing. Crucial to this is conveying the message that the benefits can extend beyond the individual person making the change, to communities, society at large and future generations.

  1. Push-back on the age of first drink

It is widely accepted in Ireland that most young people will drink alcohol before the legal age of 18 years. Drinkaware does not accept this and we are resolute that it cannot continue. The health and wellbeing of future generations depends on a shift in public narrative that challenges Irish society, parents, guardians, siblings and all adults to rethink the normalisation of providing alcohol to under 18s under supervision.