Baroness Helen Newlove and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles unveiled a new initiative at Great Yarmouth Salvation Army to tackle underage and street drinking.
The Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) that initially covers south Yarmouth, will see a host of agencies including police, trading standards, the borough council, schools, stores including Tesco and Asda, and The Salvation Army join together to focus their efforts on the problem of alcohol abuse.
The aim of the CAP is to develop a culture where both adults and young people drink responsibly, where those underage are only able to access alcohol under responsible and informed supervision and where safe consumption limits are understood.
Planning for the CAP has been underway for the past six months and the initiative was formally launched by Baroness Newlove, who is a leading campaigner against the UK's binge drinking culture and chair of CAPs across the country.
During the visit Baroness Newlove visited ‘Herbies’ a drop in centre run by Great Yarmouth Salvation Army to provide a one-stop-shop for access to a range of services for street drinkers, homeless people and others who find themselves facing hard times.
Baroness Newlove said: “The Salvation Army is amazing for the work they do. They work hard to help people of all ages with alcohol abuse problems and I can only praise them for the non-judgemental and supportive way they help people get their lives back on track. I hope to work closely with them as I try to combat underage and binge drinking nationally. Their long track record of success, especially their love and concern for families, is one I value and want to replicate in my own work.”
Major David Jackson, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander for the Anglia region, said: “The Salvation Army has a long history of helping people with alcohol abuse problems, without judging or condemning them. We know the harmful effects that alcohol abuse can have on them, their friends and families, and the wider community. We are pleased to be part of this community initiative, and are honoured to be hosting the launch of the Community Alcohol Partnership.”
Baroness Newlove set up a number of foundations to tackle alcohol abuse after her husband Garry Newlove was murdered by three youths in Warrington in Cheshire in 2007. Through her campaigning work and dedication to making changes to society she was given a peerage in 2010 and she has championed the idea of community action to tackle problems around alcohol abuse.
Sgt Dan Smith, of Great Yarmouth police’s Operational Partnership Team, said: “Excessive alcohol consumption is known to cause considerable problems, from anti-social behaviour through to health issues, and in the past agencies have tended to tackle the various issues around this in comparative isolation. This partnership aims to bring everyone together to put forward a consistent and clear message and to ensure we all work together to deal with the harm misuse of alcohol can cause.
“Residents often talk to us about issues concerning the supply of alcohol to those underage, whether this be through access to pubs, clubs or off-licences or via adults purchasing it for them, while others raise concerns over street drinking, and the CAP will work to address these.”
The CAP will initially cover the South Yarmouth Safer Neighbourhood Team area which includes 31 off-licence premises and 31 on-licensed – including pubs, clubs and bars. Activity under the CAP is intended to complement the existing work of retailers, enforcement agencies and groups such as the Nightsafe partnership, creating an umbrella to encompass a range of established and new initiatives from the range of organisations involved.
Katryn Harris, of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards says: “The partnership approach recognises that enforcement can only partly achieve the vision and that in order to shift a culture there is a need for all the organisations and agencies to work together alongside the local community. By working together far more can be achieved than working in isolation.”
The Partnership is being supported by Crimestoppers, with much of the material which will promote the CAP carrying their contact number (0800 555 111) which can be used to anonymously report if required. Leaflets will also carry details of the partner agencies and how they can be contacted for more specific enquiries or problems.