EIGHT initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol abuse in communities have been awarded funding from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.

They are the first schemes to benefit from the £500,000 fund set up last December by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The Scotch Whisky Action Fund, which extends the SWA's commitment to addressing alcohol misuse and promoting responsible drinking, is giving £100,000 each year from 2014 to 2018 to projects working to reduce harm in Scotland.

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It is managed by Foundation Scotland, an independent charity.

The initiatives selected to receive backing in the first round of funding range from projects supporting young people to helping families.

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "We are delighted to support initiatives doing such worthwhile work to tackle alcohol misuse across Scotland. We are committed to this cause and want to help projects on the ground which are helping young people, communities and families deal with the consequences of misuse. Such intervention can help people realise the damage that can be done to their own health and the impact on those around them.

"When consumed responsibly alcohol is a normal part of Scottish life and brings benefits to the economy and society. We want to tackle alcohol-related harm and the Scotch Whisky Action Fund is just one way of doing this."

Giles Ruck, Foundation Scotland chief executive, said: "It is great to see so many innovative projects receiving funding from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.

"Projects include an alcohol education programme in schools, which will be rolled out to a further three areas and an organisation dedicated to working with carers of people who misuse alcohol. The £100,000 is a significant step to help individuals, carers and families facing the effects of alcohol-related harms across Scotland."