29 November 2004
BRUSSELS – Youngsters in the town of Aywaille near Liege are being given tips on safe drinking in a bid to protect them from the worst consequences of alcohol.
Fourteen bars have signed up to a charter called Cafe fute (smart cafe), promising to keep an eye out for underage drinkers and for young people drinking excessively and to keep their music at a level which is acceptable to the neighbours.
Barmen and women have been offering young customers who are already drunk a soft drink or encouraging the young people’s friends to give them a soft drink and pretend it is alcoholic.
The scheme was the brainwave of the town’s councillor for social affairs Dominique Germain and the Liberal mayor Philippe Dodrimont and will run for the next six months.
Social workers are handing out information folders and condoms to young people.
The idea is to encourage the young to drink moderately, with the emphasis on education rather than repression.
Teignouse, the youth group that is implementing the project, says it took a lot of effort to convince the police and schools in the town that the strategy was a good idea.
“We’ve come from a situation where schools and the police wanted to ban drinking and the commune and ourselves used to put the emphasis on prevention,” said Teignouse´s Ariste Wouters.
“The goal is for young people to respect themselves and feel happy about themselves,” Wouters added.
On 21 December, Teignouse is organising a rally at the youth centre on Comblain-au-Pont street.
Teams from the 14 different bars which are part of the project will go head to head against each other in a series of games and competitions including karaoke, darts and quizzes.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news