Local retailers & licensees, trading standards, police, health services, education providers and other local stakeholders attended the latest Community Alcohol Partnership Launch today in Herne Bay. The event, hosted in the town’s fantastic King’s Hall, featured a host of guest speakers and some special performances from the talented students from Herne Bay High School.

I first met the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) team at the Educational Life offices towards the end of last year and we have worked together on a number of projects in Thanet since. I was really thrilled to be invited to this launch event in Herne Bay as it’s great to be involved from the beginning with such a fantastic community engagement project.

After an informal meet and greet, with refreshments provided by King’s Hall, the guests and speakers were seated.

Gillian Powell, CAP Program Manager, began proceedings by welcoming everyone, introducing the event and explaining how the session would run. Before the first speaker was called upon, the audience were treated to an amazing dance performance from ‘Herne Bay High School BDC’.

The first guest speaker was CAP Chairman, Derek Lewis, who explained the background of the partnership and the reasons for the launch in Herne Bay. Successes in other areas were explained and the message was upbeat and optimistic.

This positive tone was continued by Neil Butcher, the CAP Coordinator from KCC Trading Standards. Neil explained some of the reasons the CAP was to be put in place in Herne Bay, detailing recent statistics and research in the area. Neil also explained the core aims and activities of the partnership …

  • Education – Each CAP includes some educational aspects. These might include partnering with local schools to deliver age appropriate alcohol education, teacher training support and parental advice and guidance.
  • Enforcement – CAPs focus on both the supply and the demand side of underage drinking and treat retailers & licensees as part of the solution and not part of the problem. The enforcement activity is informed by all stakeholders, who share information and co-ordinate their response.
  • Business Engagement – CAP champions the use of ‘Challenge 25’ and ‘PASS’ and also supports independent retailers/licensees with training including on conflict resolution, identifying fake ID and how to make a challenge.  A CAP scheme will ensure that all messages and literature are coordinated across the CAP area, targeting specific groups where appropriate.

Next up was Jacqueline Davis, Service Manager with Addaction. Addaction are one of the UK’s leading mental health, drug and alcohol charities. They work with adults and young people, in community settings, in prisons, in residential rehab and through outreach. Addaction helps people change their behaviour to become the very best that they can be by supporting people to make lasting change in their lives.

The next guest speaker was local MP Sir Roger Gale. Sir Roger has long been an advocate and supporter of Young people in Kent, setting up the TryAngle Awards in 1994 which, to this day, still celebrate achievements of young people throughout the County. Sir Roger gave a passionate speech about engaging with young people and stressed that the CAP is not a punitive measure, nor is it intended to demonise teenagers or stop them having fun.

As has happened in other areas, the CAP is much more about education and bringing the community together to address any issues it may be experiencing. More than anything, it’s about keeping young people safe.

The final speaker was Mike Hill OBE, the KCC Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services. Mike spoke about his support for the CAP and praised those that had helped bring the scheme to Herne Bay.

As the Launch Event was brought to a close, the audience were once again treated to a fantastic performance, this time by ‘Herne Bay High Maniacles’, before Gillian Powell thanked all of those attending and wishing the CAP well as it establishes itself in the local community.

As the guests began to leave, there was a really positive vibe around the Hall. Conversations were upbeat and the general feeling I had as I left the building was that the launch had been a resounding success. I am really looking forward to working with Gillian, Neil and their community partners in the future as the CAP establishes itself in Herne Bay.

If you would like to know more about the Community Alcohol Partnership or Addaction, please check out their websites …

http://www.communityalcoholpartnerships.co.uk/

https://www.addaction.org.uk/

Please take a look through our gallery of the event and feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested.