From a collaboration set up by the British Design Council between social enterprise Unlimited Potential and Scottish design agency Snook, the city of Salford is about to see a first: a for-profit local retail outlet selling alcohol in a way that must reduce harmful drinking.

The initial idea was to engage problem drinkers not yet classified ‘alcoholic’ in activities designed to address loneliness, boredom and social isolation, three important triggers for problem drinking.

“We like to focus on social innovation – exploring ways of tackling social problems which are different from the norm – and had an idea for a new way of tackling problem drinking,” Unlimited Potential’s founder Chris Dabbs tells on the Design Council’s website. “But first we needed to understand how the design process worked and how it could be used to most effectively address local users’ needs.”

Design Council introduced Unlimited Potential to a Design Associate who introduced the organization to the design process and later on helped to select Glasgow-based design agency Snook for the job.

The agency undertook further research and engagement with potential users to develop the concept and a prototype of the service that could be piloted. Finally the team came up with the concept of a Brew Club, a drop-in facility for single men in the area who lived alone. The Brew Club concept comprised a step-by-step programme of activities designed to span a number of weeks, to be undertaken by six to ten local men at a time. The concept is to be tested in a first pilot this spring.

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