The Big River Project, as a member of the Scottish Borders Safer Communities short life working group – managing Drug related litter in the Community, has won the national Better Outcomes for Communities Award at the recently held Scottish Government’s Safer Communities Awards 2012. The award recognises initiatives that have actively engaged with the local community to design and implement effective projects.

In this particular project the aim was to reduce the impact of drug related litter in the community by taking action to reduce the number of incidents of disposed injecting paraphernalia being found in public places. The beauty of this award winning initiative was although IV Drug users were the problem they were also at the heart of realising the solution to the problem.

Service users of the Big River Project, in Galashiels, undertook a lead role in the designing of a publicity poster campaign promoting the safe disposal of injecting equipment and of the design of the promotional messages on needle exchange packs.

They also through peer education promoted the message it’s your needle exchange service, ‘abuse it = loose it’. As a result of the campaign the number of incidents of unsafe disposal of drug related litter fell considerably over a period of six months.
In involving representatives of the Lothian and Borders Police, Service users of the Big River project, Community pharmacies, Scottish Borders Council and the Borders Alcohol and Drug Partnership and The Big River Project itself  a truly integrative and inclusive way of working had a positive impact on the wider community.