NHS North of TyneNational Social Marketing CentreNHS North of Tyne and The National Social Marketing Centre:

Sub 21 - Reducing underage street drinking
(Dept Health UK Demonstration Site)

Sub 21


To reduce underage kerbside drinking in North Tyneside and build local social marketing capacity and skills.


North Tyneside has one of the highest rates of alcohol related incidents and hospital admissions in under 18s in the country. The project was one of 10 UK Learning Demonstration Sites for the Department of Health.

Target Audiance

  • 13 – 17 year olds
  • Local retailers


Primary and secondary research including interviews, youth workshops, comparative review, service mapping and a feasibility study, pre and post questionnaire to 3000 students.

Partnership recruitment and stakeholder engagement programme

Dedicated youth engagement programme to co-create the campaign

Media, PR, and community events


Primary research identified three main drivers for underage street drinking;

  • a lack of attractive, affordable activities for young people in the area
  • easy availability and low cost of alcohol
  • proxy alcohol purchasing by 18 – 21 year olds


Young people and retailers were placed at the heart of the development process to create a two pronged approach;

  • A rolling programme of youth activities designed by and for local youths combined with a Retailer’s campaign providing new tools to help them reduce illegal and
    proxy purchases.
  • Retailer’s campaign providing new tools to help them reduce illegal and proxy purchases including a voluntary ban on alcohol sales to under 21s.


35 partners including the PCT, Council, Trading Standards, Licensing, Northumbria Police, Positive Futures, Wallsend Boys Club, Youth Services, Extended Schools, local retailers, Aida, Northumbrian Water, Voluntary Organisation Development Agency, arts and leisure organisations.


  • The project reached over 3000 young people and resulted in a 30% decrease in anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents
  • A decrease in illegal and proxy purchasing of alcohol
  • A reduction in binge drinking, especially young females

The project has gone from strength to strength and is now in its second year, with almost 400 young people taking part each week, and 24 retailers signed up. It has been rolled out to other areas and has recently been awarded £150,000 to
continue development.

Youth Poster

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