Our CAP adviser Alan Simpson (pictured above at the launch of the South West Edinburgh CAP) describes how Community Alcohol Partnerships are making a positive difference to communities:
As this is my first blog, I thought that it might be a good idea to let you know a little about myself and the reasons why I joined Community Alcohol Partnerships some six and a half years ago.
My background lies in the Police Service. I joined as a Cadet when I was 17 and 33 years later left as Acting Chief Inspector. When people apply to join the Police Service they do so because they have a desire to do good within their communities.
So how does that relate to the work I am doing now? It is in many ways similar. I gain great personal satisfaction from supporting partners and encouraging them to use the CAP model to work together more closely and effectively, and sharing new ideas from around the UK for tackling underage drinking and the anti-social behavior that is so often associated with it.
I initially had many questions and was intrigued by this new model which regards alcohol retailers as part of the solution. I found that supermarkets and corner shops were coming on board because for the first time, they felt that they could play a useful part in the life of the community as a truly equal partner. I co-ordinated four CAPs across Barnsley covering a wide geographical area and a large number of villages. The area I now cover extends across North East England and Scotland.
Without doubt it is a demanding role but the benefits are great when I see partners in particular areas achieving success together and communities feeling that the CAP has made a positive difference.
The process of creating a CAP takes around three months. This ensures that each step is completed thoroughly and without rush. Once the CAP has been launched and regular meetings begin then the excitement of working together properly starts.
What do I look for when I am asked if a CAP would work in their area?
The answer to me is always the same. CAPs are worthwhile considering in any area. The model we use is scalable up or down and is very flexible according to the needs of that area.
The main thing that I look for in a CAP Co-ordinator is to find someone locally who has a genuine desire to make that community better and to make a difference. Once that person is identified, my role is a lot easier.
If you are thinking about setting up a CAP in your area, my advice would be to find out more from one of our team of regional advisers, who will come to you whatever time, date and location is suitable for you and we can then talk it through.
If you decide to go ahead then we can look at further briefings to a wider range of partners. If not, there is absolutely nothing to be lost.
Finally, whilst serving in the Police Service, I saw at first hand the problems that alcohol can cause if misused and I am proud to be part of an organisation that is so successfully tackling these problems.