PUBS and clubs backing The News’ Steer Clear campaign are gearing up for a busy new year period.
Dozens of venues in the Portsmouth area have signed up to the initiative so far, pledging to offer soft drinks to designated drivers to keep our roads safe.
Christine Hicks, a staff member at The Harvest Home in Denmead, expects a surge of revellers walking through the doors from today until New Year’s Eve.
She said: ‘We are a village pub but we are getting ready for New Year’s Eve and we are sure there will be a difference in drivers asking for free soft drinks. We are very vigilant with drink-driving.’
Richard Evans, area manager for JD Wetherspoon pubs, said: ‘JD Wetherspoon is, as in previous years, proud to back the Steer Clear campaign.
‘We applaud the efforts of The News in co-ordinating this with many pubs to highlight the good work that publicans do in making sure people are responsible and drink safely.’
Diane McEwen, landlady of the Golden Lion in High Street, Fareham, said the campaign has gone well.
She said: ‘We ask if there is a nominated driver in a group and see if they would like a free soft drink.
‘We believe it’s a brilliant campaign to do but it’s getting customers to embrace it – some seem quite surprised they are being offered something for free.
‘As a pub, it’s our responsibility to push it to customers as well.
‘I don’t want to wake up one morning to see one of my customers has been killed in a road crash, or someone has been killed because of a drink driver.’
Roisin Kehoe-Pank, of the Old Vic in St Paul’s Road, said: ‘We offer soft drinks to drivers all year round and are more than happy to back The News’ campaign – it’s an awesome idea.
‘We have had people take up the offer but we are expecting it to get busier once people finish work for the new year.’
The Steer Clear campaign runs until December 31.