Sam McConnell and Samantha Beetham of Lancashire Trading Standards alcohol and tobacco team have won a national award for their work tackling underage drinking. They were presented with the Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) Chairman’s Award recognising their rapid response and innovation during the pandemic.
The presentation took place at an online event on March 31 to launch CAP’s national annual report and highlight the resilience and determination of local communities to tackle alcohol harm among young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities during this challenging time.
CAP Director Kate Winstanley said: “Lancashire has experienced high levels of Covid-19 cases and been under the strictest of restrictions throughout the pandemic. Despite this the Trading Standards alcohol and tobacco team has worked incredibly hard to support CAP’s work across the county and promote effective partnership working to tackle alcohol harm.”
The team quickly adapted to the new working environment to ensure that CAP work continued and encouraged partners to share information relating to services for young people as varying Covid restrictions were applied. Following lockdown the team helped get CAP monthly meetings up and running online and ensure they were well attended by partners including children and family well-being services, youth services, community safety, police and housing.
Samantha Beetham worked quickly to develop a dedicated CAP page for the Lancashire CC website, which was launched in July. This valuable resource promotes CAPs across the county including Burnley, Hyndburn, Lancaster and Skelmersdale. It also provides a one stop shop for a range of free resources, including publicity materials, online Challenge 25 training for retailers, vulnerability training for staff involved in the night-time economy and access to education resources including Smashed Online.
Plans for a new CAP in Skelmersdale came to a halt when the pandemic hit. Sam McConnell felt it was possible to continue work in the town and in June 2020, utilising the new web resources, supported partners to come together to develop an action plan. A well-attended virtual launch was held in November and a range of CAP activities got underway, including promoting free online training to retailers.
214 CAP schemes have now been launched throughout the country. They are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve their health and wellbeing.
The national CAP annual report, launched at the online event, shows how this innovative partnership approach has brought significant reductions around the UK in alcohol supply to children, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and underage street drinking.
Nationally, CAP evaluations for the period 2016-2020 show:
- 61% average reductions in weekly drinking among 13-16 year olds
- 99% of retailers passed Challenge 25 compliance test for alcohol sales
- 86% of retailers did not sell alcohol when they suspected it was a ‘proxy’ sale
- 50% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them
- 42% reduction in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour
Kate Winstanley added: "Like many organisations, CAP has been hit hard by Covid. Nevertheless, the power of the partnership model to respond to changing circumstances and innovate has never been more clearly demonstrated. The examples in this report show how, despite the pandemic, CAPs have found creative ways to protect young people from alcohol harm and promote their health and wellbeing."
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About Community Alcohol Partnerships:
- Since CAP was created in 2007, it has launched 214 schemes in England, Scotland and Wales. They bring together a range of local stakeholders with a shared interest in preventing underage drinking and encouraging responsible drinking among young adults. CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to empower communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people, improve their health and wellbeing and enhance their communities.
- For more information and to see the annual report: www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk