26 Jan 15
Mr Trevor Gregory, Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union commented on the new campaign saying, "As sportsmen and women, the HKRFU is firmly against the irresponsible consumption of alcohol no matter what a person's age.
"By partnering with the KELY Support Group we hope to help youth aged 14 to 24 enjoy the Hong Kong Sevens in the safest and most responsible manner. This first of its kind partnership with KELY Support Group will help us engage local youth in the build-up to the Hong Kong Sevens on terms that they are familiar with and in a way that is relevant and engaging for them."
The campaign was created in the wake of recent studies showing that the incidence of binge and other irresponsible drinking amongst youth in Hong Kong is on the rise. It also follows on other initiatives by the HKRFU to ensure the safety of youth inside the stadium such as restricting South Stand admission to those 18 and older in 2009.
Government studies performed in 2004/05 and 2008/09 revealed that the proportion of secondary school students across Hong Kong who had first tried alcohol at age 12 or below increased from 49% to 53% in the same period.
A Population Health Survey in 2003/04 indicated that 24% of local youth aged 15-17 drank occasionally (three days or less in a month) while nearly 10% of youth in this age bracket were regular alcohol consumers. Further studies have shown that socialization and being at a party are amongst the top reasons for binge drinking amongst teens.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is well known for its festive atmosphere and the HKRFU is intent on taking all necessary steps to safeguard youth inside the stadium and ensure that all patrons enjoy the event in a safe and responsible manner.
To address the rising proclivity for alcohol consumption by local youth, the HKRFU and KELY Support Group have jointly developed an awareness campaign to be launched in March. The campaign is designed to engage youth in a relevant and non-judgmental way to raise awareness of the dangers of binge and other irresponsible drinking.
The objective is to help English-speaking youth better manage any potential alcohol consumption at the Hong Kong Sevens and to impart harm reduction techniques for those youth that may drink at the event.
The multi-faceted programme includes outreach to 63 local and international schools with a focus on the importance of making smart choices when drinking alcohol, as well as information on dealing with peer pressure when it comes to using alcohol.
A special micro-site will be created using the information which will be placed on the official tournament website at www.hksevens.com and the HKRFU website at www.hkrugby.com.
Postcards, Souvenirs and T-Shirts will also be produced to promote awareness based on the information disseminated through the KELY Support Group's "Binge Drinking…Knowing the Facts" workshops.
Inside the Hong Kong Stadium, the HKRFU will erect a special alcohol-free zone at this year's Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. The area will be reserved for youth attending the event.
The marquee will feature non-alcoholic refreshment and an area for teens to interact without the pressure of imbibing alcohol. The marquee will also serve as a resource where youth can find a "buddy" to support them if they are intoxicated.
"The Hong Kong Sevens has a great appeal across the entire community and especially for local youth. The HKRFU is to be applauded for its efforts to engage this audience on the dangers of irresponsible drinking and KELY Support Group is proud to partner with Hong Kong Rugby to address issues that pertain to local youth," said Chung Tang, Executive Director of the KELY Support Group.