• Germany's news in English
 
City to give alcoholics beer to clean streets
The scheme will use beer, alongside a hot meal and medical care, as an incentive for people to take part. Photo: DPA

City to give alcoholics beer to clean streets

Alex Evans · 13 May 2014, 16:20

Published: 13 May 2014 16:20 GMT+02:00

The "Pick-up" initiative, planned by charity Addict Support Essen to start in mid-June, offers addicts beer - along with food and medical treatment - in exchange for working three to six hours a day collecting litter off streets.

They will also get "pocket money" of €1.25 per hour, similar to the established "one-euro-jobs" which employ unemployed and homeless people in Germany for public projects at an hourly rate of €1.

No beer, no show

"Pick-up" will be totally voluntary and targeted at Essen's long-term alcoholics, many of whom also have drug problems and have spent time in prison, the charity said in a statement.

"The aim of the programme is not to supply people with beer," it explained. "For the participants it is about a meaningful daily structure, feeling useful and learning a new way to behave."

The statement claimed offering people beer was a small part of the project, merely a means to an end.

Addict Support spokesman Bärbel Marrziniak told broadcaster ZDF: "Some of them simply need the bottle of beer to become fit for work.

"If we didn't give it to them, they would not turn up in the first place."

And organizers defended plans to use free booze to entice alcoholics into work by saying that for many long-term drinkers abstinence is an unrealistic goal.

If the promise of free beer motivates addicts to work, regain a daily routine and accept medical care, they said, it is worthwhile.

Addict Support Essen also argued it was right and proper the project be paid for out of public funds.

"It is the same with funding for most social programmes for disadvantaged and sick people in Germany," it said in the statement. "It ends up saving money in other areas."

Inspired by Amsterdam

But some condemned the plans as irresponsible and exploitative.

"It would be nice if we could give the homeless a bit of their dignity back, when they're already at rock bottom," Sabine Zschaler, chairman of charity Homeless Support Ruhr and Lower Rhine, told ZDF.

"But that's not going to happen if we pay them with beer."

Zschaler said she suspected many participants would turn up, do the minimum required to get their bottle of beer, and then leave.

But Addict Support Essen is confident the tactic will produce results, pointing to a similar scheme in Amsterdam which they said was highly successful.

"Pick up" claims it will make a difference by educating participants on a controlled approach to drinking, alongside giving medical support including immunizations, medicines, vitamin supplements and counseling.

The scheme's one-year trial is slated to kick off in Essen in mid-June, with a medical observer assigned to evaluate its effects among participants.

"What will come about at the end of that, we don't yet know ourselves," Marrziniak said.

SEE ALSO: German beer culture in 11 gulps

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The photojournalist making news intimate
World Press Photo winner Mads Nissen. Photo: DPA

The photojournalist making news intimate

1 hour ago

Photographer Mads Nissen’s World Press Photo of the Year is currently touring Germany and the world. It’s a provocative image of two Russian gay men and one that some say is changing the definition of photojournalism.

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin
ISTAF is held annually in Berlin. File Photo: DPA

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin

1 hour ago

six world champions, freshly crowned from Beijing, will be gracing Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Sunday in the annual ISTAF track-and-field meet.

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria
Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. File Photo: DPA

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria

1 hour ago

From 30C to snow in under a week? It's possible in Germany where seven centimetres of the white stuff fell at the top of the Bavarian Alps on Friday.

Oktoberfest and the Refugee Crisis
Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart
Police and refugees at Munich Central Station. Photo: DPA

Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart

1 hour ago

Police in Munich are preparing a significant operation to ensure that drunken revelers at Oktoberfest are kept away from refugees arriving at the city's central station from Budapest.

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase
Photo: DPA

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase

5 hours ago

With 21 police cars and a helicopter hot on his heels, it seemed unlikely that police in Düsseldorf would fail to catch one rogue motorist. But after a two-hour pursuit, that's exactly what happened in the early hours of Friday.

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?
The Greek debt crisis has been haunting German dreams. Source: Wikipedia

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?

23 hours ago

Having to cough up for the excesses of spendthrift southern Europeans is the fear most likely to haunt German nightmares in 2015. But getting caught up in a natural disaster isn't far behind, an annual survey shows.

This Week in History
The death of a great humanitarian
Schweitzer spent most of his later years at Lambaréné. Photo: DPA

The death of a great humanitarian

1 day ago

On September 4th 1965, the world lost one of its most dedicated and tireless humanitarians, as Albert Schweitzer died in the African hospital he had created and cherished for over 50 years. A hospital that continues to save lives today.

Refugee crisis
Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1
Die Ärzte singer and drummer Bela B. with a DVD titled "not interested in Nazis" in 2009. Photo: DPA

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1

6 hours ago

Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts.

Refugee Crisis
Orban: Muslims threaten European identity
Viktor Orban, guardian of Europe? Photo: DPA

Orban: Muslims threaten European identity

8 hours ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned Thursday that the wave of mostly Muslim refugees coming to Europe threatens to undermine the continent's Christian roots - an idea rejected by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Football fan given 18 months for lighting flare
Football fans set of a flare. File Photo: DPA

Football fan given 18 months for lighting flare

8 hours ago

Germany is continuing its zero tolerance approach to football supporters lighting flares in Bundesliga grounds after a Schalke supporter was jailed for 18 months on Thursday with no parole.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,888
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd