A Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) launched in Thatcham last weekend.
CAPs are partnerships between councils, the police, schools, retailers, neighbourhood groups and health providers. They work 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. They also work with retailers to offer guidance and training to combat underage sales of alcohol and proxy purchase, where adults buy alcohol on behalf of young people.
The move follows a survey of 382 11-17 year olds in which 69% said they drank alcohol. 43% of them said they had bought alcohol from a shop or supermarket. 9% said they drink alcohol once a week and 78% were given alcohol by a parent or guardian. 16% drunk alcohol in a street or park and 49% had been drunk in the last four weeks. 43% of those had got into an argument. Data from the Clinical Commissioning Group indicates that the annual cost of alcohol related admissions in Thatcham was £43,000.
Sean Murphy, Public Protection Partnership Manager, said: “Drinking alcohol at a young age brings serious health and development risks. It puts young people in danger of both physical and social harm, and causes issues for the community as a whole. The issues raised in Thatcham need to be tackled from multiple directions and perspectives and a CAP is an innovative way to do this. CAPs across the UK have seen considerable success with a mix of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.”
CAP Director, Kate Winstanley, said: “‘I am delighted to see the launch of a CAP in Thatcham. Community Alcohol Partnerships are a tried and tested way of driving down underage drinking and creating better, safer and friendlier neighbourhoods.”
The Thatcham CAP launched at the Thatcham Family Fun Day at Henwick Worthy Sports Ground on Sunday 24 June.