Pubs are being urged to check they have a safe environment for freshers this September.

While many students enjoy alcohol responsibly during Freshers' Week without causing themselves, or anyone else any harm, freshers are "particularly vulnerable" as they are away from home perhaps for the first time with a new group of friends.

"In this period of adjustment, it's easy for things to go wrong," says Rommel Moseley, Drinkaware director of business development and partnerships.

"Responsible operators will want to create an environment that both helps students to moderate their alcohol consumption and supports those who might become vulnerable after drinking too much."

The charity is therefore encouraging licensees to put plans in place now so they are prepared for Freshers' Week in the autumn, and is promoting its own resources such as its Drinkaware Crew teams and Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course for bar staff.

It is also driving awareness of its new campaign to deal with sexual harassment, 'It's OK to Ask', which encourages bystanders to intervene safely when they witness sexual harassment.


Here's 7 tips for a safer Freshers' Week from Drinkaware:


  1. If your bar is targeting new or returning students, plan well ahead for Freshers' Week, particularly if you are going to recruit additional staff for the busy nights at the start of the new term.
  2. Make sure your staff know how to relate to students who may become vulnerable after drinking. The Drinkaware Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course can help.
  3. It's a good idea to start interacting with students as they queue outside your venue. It allows you to set a positive tone for the evening and is an opportunity for your team members to identify customers who may need assistance later on.
  4. Offer a range of interesting soft drinks, for students who aren't drinking alcohol and to encourage those who are to switch to a soft drink once or twice during the evening.
  5. Include no or low alcohol beers on your drinks list and review your wine list to choose house wines at the lower end of the ABV scale. Also offer wine in a 125ml serve and make customers aware this size is available.
  6. Offer some affordable, filling food. Students won't want to spend much on meals, but having something available to slow the absorption of alcohol is a good idea.
  7. Make it very clear that you will not serve alcohol to customers who are drunk, or who are attempting to buy for a drunken friend, both of which are against the law. Drinkaware and the British Beer & Pub Association have produced two posters to help communicate this to customers - 'Can't Get Served' and 'Mate's in a State', which can both be downloaded from the Drinkaware website here