Alcohol education charity Drinkaware is to expand its Drinkaware Crew initiative this autumn, to coincide with Freshers Week.

The Drinkaware Crew are additional members of a venue's team who receive specialist training in how to support young people who may be vulnerable as a result of drinking too much.

This September they will launch in Derby, Coventry and Leicester, and expand into new venues in Nottingham, across a total of 10 new sites including Student Union bars. Following the expansion, the Drinkaware Crew will be operating in 14 UK cities.

Thekla in Bristol has been using the Drinkaware Crew since October last year. Security team member Grayson Underhill said:

"Before Drinkaware Crew arrived last autumn, the security team was under pressure to look after the safety of the public as well as assisting with customers who had drunk too much, which meant members of the team were pulled away at times when we needed them. Now we work alongside Drinkaware Crew it's all more efficient; they're a real asset to Thekla."

The Crew work in pairs within venues, wearing branded Drinkaware Crew clothing for easy identification, and offer assistance where needed, from helping vulnerable people get a taxi home and reuniting them with their friends to handing out water bottles.

As well as reactive support, they proactively promote a positive atmosphere, by talking to customers queuing to enter the venue, and engaging with them during the evening, says the charity.