This is the first Distillers’ Charity Update this year, designed to give you a thorough overview of our charitable activities and efforts so far in 2022, together with details of where your donations are going, and the impact they have jointly created. We hope this further demonstrates the importance of your ongoing support for the causes we provide assistance to.
Livery & City Giving
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)’s Ukraine Appeal
The unexpected Ukraine invasion prompted strong support from Liverymen and, as part of the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal (the Big Give), Livery members helped raised £20,000 for The Distillers’ Charity. This was 100% match funded as part of the Big Give, such that we raised a total of £40,000 to help the Ukrainian people.
The appeal to raise funds for people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been recognised as a record-breaker. From the appeal’s launch on 3rd March 2022, it has been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the highest amount given to an online campaign in a single week, and the total raised passed £300m in May. In the first six months of the response, DEC charities and their local partners are providing access to healthcare, cash, food, water, sanitation and hygiene protection, as well as shelter for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
We would like to thank everyone in the Livery who gave generously to The Distillers’ Charity in aid of this appeal. The conflict is not over, but we know our contribution has been incredibly valuable.
Alcohol Education Trust (AET)
The AET team is thrilled to launch a new wellbeing website Life-Stuff for young adults, which offers advice on a wide range of topics. Close collaboration with funders means that the remit and extent of work to support young people up to the age of 25 has been doubled. The new site includes helpful advice and information on a wide range of topics including alcohol, drugs, mental health, gaming/gambling, money, domestic violence and sexual abuse – as well as festivals and travelling abroad.
AET welcome the recommendations from The Home Affairs Committee on Drink Spiking, and AET’s proposals – together with written and verbal evidence submitted by AET’s CEO, Helena Conibear – are being considered further. A range of resources on drink spiking has also been produced, including two short films – as well content delivered via Life Stuff older teenagers.
Future Youth Zone – Barking & Dagenham
50% of young people in Barking and Dagenham live in poverty. The Distillers’ Charity is a founding supporter of Future Youth Zone, whose workers are on hand at the Zone’s modern facility to inspire young people to lead healthier, more positive lives, raising their aspirations to become happy, caring, and responsible citizens. Every member visiting the Zone gets to learn, develop, and harness their skills and talents, doing what they enjoy most. With over 20 activities on offer 7 days a week – from boxing and climbing, to cooking and dancing – there really is something for everyone.
In May, Future Youth Zone celebrated its third anniversary, and there certainly was every reason to celebrate! Reaching nearly 46,000 young people in the last year alone, the charity has served 20,000 meals to the community, helped 25 Young Leaders complete valuable life skills training and supported 43 young people with its employability programme: “Made in Barking & Dagenham”.
Katie was one of the youngsters who benefited from the charity’s work. She used to be someone who would never go out the house, had no confidence and not many friends. Then her mum suggested she join Future Youth Zone, where she was introduced to other people.
They were very friendly towards me, and this made me want to go more often. I felt welcomed by all the staff members and they would always ask me how I was, and it made my day. It helped me gain more confidence, and the staff members helped me to be the best that I could be. They inspired me so much I became a Young Leader. I was the one person who would never go out the house and now I never shut up! My journey with Future is one that will always stay with me. I hope to be a youth worker one day.Katie, Youth Zone beneficiary
The Drinks Trust
The past few years have been particularly challenging for our drinks industry community. Furlough, redundancies, and other factors have led to financial and emotional hardship for many, and The Drinks Trust’s support services have been in high demand. Thankfully, hospitality is returning to business, marking the beginning of a long road back to recovery which will take some of our colleagues many years to travel.
From January to May 2022, The Drinks Trust awarded over £245,000 in financial support, being the single highest amount given to the greatest number of colleagues during the same period in the long history of the charity. Many of these individuals are struggling with debts that have accumulated during Covid. Since the beginning of the year, The Drinks Trust helped over 2,200 individuals across financial and welfare services, including 24-hour Helpline, counselling services, and support with mindful drinking, and for those struggling with insomnia.
Additionally, The Drinks Trust recently launched another suite of services supporting individuals to lift themselves out of hardship through vocation-specific training and education, and with introductions to employers to help them find long term work. Looking forward, with the cost of living and home energy increasing, the Trust is anticipating a rise in the level of individual need until the end of 2022 and beyond.
Youth Action Fund
The Youth Action Fund was officially launched in Edinburgh on 7th February 2022, in partnership with Inspiring Scotland, who manage the fund on behalf of The Distillers’ Charity. The mission of the Youth Action Fund is to create opportunities for Scotland’s young people to thrive, by supporting high quality training, education, vocational and other life-enhancing opportunities, funding programmes which make a real, measurable impact.
There has been an excellent start, with 136 young people engaged across the three delivery partners – Aberdeen Foyer, Enable Scotland and Street League – representing 39% of the 2022 Annual target of 352 set with Inspiring Scotland.
The first stage in supporting young people is building trust and focusing on developing the basic life skills for progression and success. Results in this area are measured by ‘Soft Outcomes’ and defined as resilience, aspiration, motivation, self-belief, personal responsibility, and wellbeing. 291 soft outcomes were achieved in the first quarter against a target of 225 – a very good result.
As young people achieve soft outcomes, they are then supported to build skills for work. These are more tangible achievements that will strengthen their CVs and demonstrate their readiness for work, whilst continuing to build their soft skills, particularly self-belief and aspiration. Development in this area is measured by ‘Progression Milestones’. The final aim is a ‘positive destination’ from which individual young person can continue to progress successfully, reaching a range of potential ‘Employability Outcomes’.
Supported by the Youth Action Fund, AET Scotland has, since March, delivered 14 ‘train the trainer’ sessions on alcohol and cannabis for 16+ young people across the nation. A group of staff from the three main Youth Action Fund delivery partners Enable Scotland, Street League and Aberdeen Foyer, participated together in the training. A further 72 professional staff completed the training sessions and are now equipped with their own 16+ resource pack to aid in the delivery of alcohol and cannabis education and training with the young people that they support.
The Distillers’ Vocational Training & Education Programme (VTE)
VTE provides support to assist promising young entrants to the spirits trade to develop their knowledge and skills, as well as to encourage high standards of distilling practice and service. This is achieved through support in scholarships, bursaries, and mentoring.
VTE harnesses the Livery’s collective knowledge and experience, supporting the diversity of the next generation of talent. At present, 17 people are actively taking part in our mentorship programme, and we aim to increase it by over +50%, and to have engaged 26 mentees by the end of 2022.
So far this year, 10 WSET scholarships have been agreed, and 8 further awards at both Level 2 and Level 3 are being confirmed. Also, 3 students at Heriot-Watt International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) received MSc Bursary awards of £500 each and are receiving valuable mentorship from the Livery.
As part of the Distillers’ new strategy of longer-term support for promising young distillers, Alice Pearson of Cotswolds Distillery was awarded a Distillers’ Charity bursary to undertake the three-year course for the Diploma in Distilling at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) in London. Starting as a guide at the distillery, Alice is responsible for new product development as well as cask selection of whisky for maturing, vatting and bottling, especially in the premium special releases – commitments which she has taken on with characteristic enthusiasm and dedication. Alice has been recognised as an “Emerging Talent in Spirits” at the 2021 IWSC awards and congratulated on producing the top English Old Tom Gin.