Salus, which offers support for children and young people in Kent, has won a national award for its work to improve the health and wellbeing of young people.
Youth Services Manager Roxanne Frost received the Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) Innovation Award at an online event on March 31 to launch CAP’s national annual report and highlight the resilience and determination of local communities to reduce alcohol harm among young people and improve their health and wellbeing during this challenging time.
Presenting the award, Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent said: “An important part of CAP’s work is to provide leisure activities for young people to enhance their confidence, health and wellbeing and Salus works closely with CAPs in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Snodland. After lockdown, the way it worked changed dramatically. Its youth clubs were replaced with virtual groups, with up to 20 online Zoom sessions each day covering everything from yoga to bicycle maintenance. These have been hugely successful, enabling Salus to extend its work and reach a whole new audience. I am delighted to present the CAP innovation Award to Roxanne Frost, Youth Services Manager for Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Malling.”
When the first national lockdown was announced Roxanne and her team realised they would need to provide a Covid safe way to continue to support young people as they could no longer meet face to face. In a very short time they set up an innovative online programme for young people to access via Zoom. This meant that as well as providing support and diversionary activities they were also able to reach out to vulnerable young people they had been working with previously.
The free to access online sessions for 8-19 year olds started at the end of March, just 10 days after lockdown was announced. During the first two weeks there were 64 engagements from young people and by April 450 young people had signed up.
Up to 20 sessions were offered each weekday and included different activities such as quizzes, exercise and cooking. As well as offering fun activities the sessions were also able to get across some important information about mental wellbeing and keeping safe during the pandemic.
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
Derek Lewis, chairman of CAP, said: "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