Welcome to Community Alcohol Partnerships

Young people in West Cumbria have voted to fund Community Alcohol Partnerships’ Young Health Champions (YHC) programme as part of the #CanDo project.

#CanDo is part of Transforming West Cumbria, funded by Sellafield Ltd and managed by Cumbria Community Foundation. Its youth panel considers the funding applications that are put to them, ensuring their views are valued and acted upon.

With its grant of £4,824, Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) will work with the Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS) to enable 30 disadvantaged young people in Copeland to become young health champions. They will work towards a Level 2 qualification to give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to become peer mentors and take part in social action campaigns in their local communities. 

Traditionally the YHC course is delivered in school settings but CAP has pioneered its delivery in non-school settings and for children outside mainstream education. In response to the Covid-19 crisis it has also developed online delivery for the course.

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 and improve their health and wellbeing. One of CAP’s priorities is alcohol education, to ensure that young people are equipped to make the right decisions about a range of issues, including alcohol, drugs, anti-social and criminal behaviour.

Kate Winstanley, Director of CAP, said: “We know that young people’s drinking can put them at increased risk of physical and social harm. This very welcome funding will enable us to support a further 30 disadvantaged young people who will not only increase their own awareness of the risks of underage drinking but will be empowered to spread the message to their peers and communities.”

Leigh Williams, CEO of CADAS said: “Creating CAPs across West Cumbria is a key part of bringing the right services together to focus on support for young people regarding substance use.  The YHC programme is a great addition to the CAP portfolio as it gives us more time to support a specific group of young people to explore health issues that are really relevant to them and their community.  We are actively looking for groups working with young people throughout Copeland and Allerdale to get in touch with us if they are interested in this great, fully funded opportunity.”

A vital part of the CAP’s work has been engaging with young people, getting them involved in the campaign and building their trust. The CAP held engagement nights with local young people to discuss the issue of underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. They told us there was nothing for them to do – the community centre had no funding, access to the sports field had been cut off and there were very few facilities for young people. So far CAP has held community events, reopened access to the sports field, cleared the discussed BMX track and held street art sessions. Working hard to engage with this traditionally difficult-to-reach group has been key to our success.

Scott Adams
Cumbria Constabulary

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