150 year 9 students from King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage took part in an Alcohol Action Day organised by Wantage and Grove Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP). They heard from 24-year old singer/songwriter Henry Maybury whose brother Tom died from an alcohol related illness. Henry’s song “Lost Days” was written in tribute to his brother and has achieved over a million views on YouTube.
Henry travels around schools and prisons to share his story and music, delivering a powerful message about the dangers of alcohol.
The students also took part in workshops including a taster session with Sweatbox, a local youth organisation, tried ‘beer goggles’ to experience the disorientation of being drunk, heard from local police about how alcohol-fuelled incidents can escalate, and took part in an interactive session with David Looker, Retail Risk Manager for Sainsbury’s and CAP Community Champion, who challenged them to role play being a retail assistant and store manager, learning how the law impacts on each (and the business in general) if an illegal alcohol sale is made, or an adult attempts to make a ‘proxy’ purchase on behalf of a young person.
In feedback, over 85% of the pupils said it had been a "good" or "great" event. Comments included: ‘I learnt that alcohol can harm you more than you think’ and ‘I hadn’t realised the impact that alcohol could have on a family’.
Wendy Austin, Wantage and Grove CAP co-ordinator who helped to organise the action day, said: “It’s a vital part of CAP’s role to work with schools to get messages across to young people about the risks of underage drinking. I’m delighted that the pupils of King Alfred’s Academy enjoyed the day and learnt so much – from the damage that alcohol poses to their health, to the risk that they could injure themselves or someone else, engage in unsafe sex, fail to reach their potential at school or get involved in anti-social behaviour.’
CAPs operate throughout the UK, made up of partnerships between local authorities, police, schools, retailers, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents.
They aim to reduce the sale of alcohol to young people, advise them on the dangers of drinking and provide alcohol-free activities through youth services and local charities.
For more information see the CAP 2016 Impact Report which sets out the achievements of more than 120 CAPs across the UK: www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk
In 2014, 38% of 11-15 year olds in England had drunk alcohol. This continued the downward trend since 2003, when 61% of pupils had drunk alcohol. However 4% said they drank alcohol at least once a week and a further 5% said they drank once a fortnight.
Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) schemes are set up to tackle underage drinking and the resulting harm to local communities. All schemes are managed and delivered locally via partnerships between local authorities, police, retailers, schools and neighbourhood groups and health providers, offering a flexible model tailored to fit the needs of each community. All schemes incorporate a mixture of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.
CAP is a Community Interest Company (CIC), funded by major alcohol retailers and producers who share its concerns about underage drinking. Current funders include: Aldi, ASDA, ACS, Brown Forman, Co-op, Diageo, Heineken, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Molson Coors, One Stop, Sainsbury's, SHS Drinks, Tesco and Waitrose. We are also grateful to the Welsh Government which provided £15,000 towards the establishment of three new CAPs in Wales.
The first CAP was set up in St Neots in 2007. Between 2014 and 2016 the number of CAPs more than doubled and by the end of 2016 there were 124 across the UK.
Statistics on Alcohol, Health and Social Care Information Centre, published 30 June 2016.
Data intelligence summary: Alcohol consumption and harm among under 18 year olds, Public Health England, published July 2016.