Lancaster group wins award for work tackling underage drinking

Cat Smith MP with Samantha Beetham and Lisa Richardson. Photo by Matt Cetti-Roberts
Cat Smith MP with Samantha Beetham and Lisa Richardson. Photo by Matt Cetti-Roberts

The Lancaster Community Alcohol Partnership has won a national award for its work tackling underage drinking in the city’s Bulk ward.

Lisa Richardson, director of EMUES UK, and Samantha Beetham from the Trading Standards Service at Lancashire County Council, received the Excellence in Education Award from Lancaster MP Cat Smith at the Westminster launch of the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) 2017 Impact Report.

Ms Smith said: “Underage drinking has been a long standing issue in Bulk ward and many young people in the area live with economic and social restrictions, reducing their life expectations and limiting their aspirations. I’m delighted to see how the CAP is working with local young people to address some of these limitations and disadvantage.

“It has introduced an innovative peer-to-peer education, training and mentoring programme where local young people act as ‘Young Ambassadors’, offering alcohol education to their peers and acting as positive role models.

“This is a truly ground-breaking approach to alcohol education.”

CAP’s 2017 impact report shows how local CAPs are empowering communities by bringing together retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together to tackle underage drinking and improve the quality of life for residents.

CAP has now announced plans to double the number of CAPs around the country and extend its remit to provide continued support as children become young adults.

National CAP chair Derek Lewis said: “CAPs offer an evidence-based and locally tailored response to underage alcohol problems. Our targeted approach means that we bring effective national programmes to areas with greatest harms.

“It is clear from the compelling body of evidence presented in this report that CAPs are making a tangible positive difference to young people, residents and local communities.”

MP Fiona Bruce, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, said: “It is absolutely vital that we protect young people from the devastating effects of alcohol harm. British children are more likely to binge drink or get drunk than children in most other European countries.”