A new Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) was launched at the Hastings Academy in Ore today (Friday, July 4) to tackle underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.
Surveys of parents and residents have highlighted that both are significant problems in the area.
CAPs are made up of partnerships between local authorities, police, schools, retailers, neighbourhood groups and health providers, working together with 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 of the dangers of drinking and provide alcohol-free activities through youth services and local charities.
The Ore CAP brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council, the NHS, Safer Hastings Partnership, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, licensing teams, the Hastings Academy, retailers and the community.
In the run-up to the launch all licensed premises in the area were visited by the Hastings Borough Council licensing officer to give advice on how to refuse suspected underage sales.
The CAP will work with partners including the National Social Marketing Centre (NSMC) to raise awareness of the harms of young people drinking, including being given alcohol by parents or relatives.
NSMC has researched underage drinking in Ore and found that parents often supply their underage children with alcohol.
The NSMC has designed several hard hitting ‘myth busting’ posters focussing on the reasons why parents told them they give their kids alcohol, and to debunk the reasons/myths that are often given. The posters are now being displayed in shops, pubs and other public areas to raise awareness among parents and a radio campaign is planned.
Eleven students from the academy pledged to become CAP Youth Ambassadors and spread the word about the dangers of underage drinking.
They have all agreed to participate in the Youth Health Ambassador Programme run by the Royal Society of Public Health. This is designed to give young people the knowledge, skills, and confidence to act as peer mentors, increasing awareness of healthy lifestyles and encouraging involvement in activities to promote good health.
The students were presented with certificates by singer/songwriter Henry Maybury whose brother Tom died from an alcohol related illness aged just 29.
Henry’s song Lost Days was written in tribute to his brother and has achieved more than a million views on YouTube.
Henry and Tom’s mum Sally Maybury also attended the CAP launch today, and spoke movingly about the impact Tom’s death had had.
Henry travels around schools and prisons to share his story and music and provides great support to CAPs.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for the environment, said: “The council welcomes this initiative which will make a positive contribution to the national problem of underage drinking. The peer mentors and the information campaign offer real alternatives with healthy lifestyles for our young people in Ore.
CAP chairman Derek Lewis said: “A significant proportion of children have not only drunk alcohol before the age of 18 but are likely to have been drunk at least once in the last four weeks.
“This can be seriously damaging to their health and development and impact negatively on the wider community. CAPs offer a great opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to our nation’s relationship with alcohol, starting with the current generation of young people.”
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said: “I am delighted to see the introduction of the Ore, Hastings CAP to tackle alcohol-related harm in the area. Drinking alcohol at a young age brings serious risks to children’s health and development and puts them in danger of both physical and social harm. They are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else, engage in unsafe sex, fail to reach their potential at school and engage in anti-social behaviour. We are committed to making a positive difference to their lives and to our local community.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.