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Youth council's under-age drinking message to Westminster

Boston Youth Council members were centre on the big stage - in Westminster - to present their own interpretation of the dangers of underage drinking.

The youth council members were accompanied by Boston Community Inspector Andy Morrice to the tenth anniversary of CAP - Community Alcohol Partnerships.

Boston is new to the CAP, but has hit the ground running with every town off-licence receiving visits to highlight issues around under-age drinking.

Now youth council members have helped raise awareness with a special drama performance.

Youth council member Rayna Koshy said: "One member suggested doing a play about the potential mental health issues that can occur as a result of excess binge drinking as a teenager. We decided to do a drama performance along with an original song because we recognised that in order to really resonate with the audience we needed to do more than just speak about the dangers of underage drinking.

"The phrase 'actions speak louder than words' certainly played a role in our decision to make a memorable presentation which would be thought-provoking as well as visually interesting.

"Our performance was first and it was a success. Our hard work rehearsing paid off and it set the tone for the rest of the evening.

"It was interesting to hear about how CAP worked alongside local retailers and licensees, trading standards, police, health services and education providers to effectively reduce underage drinking in many areas around the UK.

"It was exciting to hear about their plans for the future and how it aims to help even more young people. Though many statistics were shocking, the progress CAP has made provides hope and reassurance that it is getting better."

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs) bring together local retailers and licensees, trading standards, police, health services, schools and other agencies to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour. There are more than 160 CAPs operating throughout the UK. Funding for CAPs is provided by all major alcohol retailers and a number of alcohol producers.

Boston's CAP partners include the police, the borough council, public health, youth services, Addaction, Boston Mayflower and schools with backing from major retailers such as Tesco, Asda and the Co-op and independent retailers.

Alcohol is very often a factor in crime, in hospital admissions and in anti-social behaviour. On a national level alcohol abuse costs the UK around £7.3 billion a year.

By becoming a CAP, off-licences will receive high standards of free training in such schemes as Challenge 25 and learn ways to prevent alcohol being sold to adults for minors.

Schools will also receive education material and teacher training support. Young people will be encouraged to keep out of trouble through positive diversionary activity.

There is also an enforcement arm, so police, licensing and trading standards can work together where training and education has not proved successful.

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