Recent figures show that almost a quarter of young people between 16 and 24 do not drink alcohol but that doesn’t mean there is not still work to be done when it comes to tackling issues surrounding underage drinking.
This week John Whittington, who is Community Safety Manager at Hastings Borough Council (HBC), won a top national award for his work in tackling underage drinking.
John picked up the Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) award for innovation from CAP chair Derek Lewis at the annual CAP celebration event which took place at the Welsh Assembly.
Derek Lewis said: “The Hastings Ore CAP has taken an innovative, multi-agency approach to reducing underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, including working closely with local schools, inviting students to its meetings and encouraging take-up of the Royal Society of Public Health Young Health Champions scheme.
“Of particular note is its work with East Sussex Public Health, which commissioned a social marketing intervention, called Think Again Now which aimed to tackle parental supply of alcohol. Evaluations have shown it successfully increased parents’ knowledge of the facts relating to alcohol harm and debunked many myths about supplying alcohol to children.
“John has been the driving force behind the CAP’s success in Hastings, Ore, and I was delighted to present him with the award.”
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for the environment and safety told Hastings In Focus: “This is an important initiative for our town, and I am delighted that the Hastings Ore CAP has been recognised for its work.”
CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to give communities the tools they need to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents. In its 2018 annual report, launched at the event, CAP shows how its innovative approach based on forming working partnerships has produced positive impacts on underage drinking, anti-social behaviour, litter, residents’ feelings of safety and on those who are underage either buying alcohol themselves or getting other to do it on their behalf.
Derek Lewis added: “In spite of welcome evidence that fewer young people are drinking alcohol, British children are still more likely to binge drink and get drunk than children in most other European countries. Regular and/or excessive drinking can be seriously damaging to their health and development while increasing the risk of excessive consumption in later life.
“CAPs offer an evidence based, proportionate and locally tailored response to underage alcohol problems.”