Council’s Community Alcohol Partnership Officers Win National Award

MATTHEW Knight and Tessa Brunsden, two dedicated Community Alcohol Partnership Officers from Reading Borough Council, have received a national award for tackling underage drinking as part of the Reading Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP).

Matthew and Tessa received the award at the launch of the CAP Impact Report 2016 at an event in Portcullis House, Westminster on November 14, 2016, presented to them by Hardish Purewal, Tesco Licensing Manager.

Matthew Knight has been pivotal in driving forward an exciting programme of work as part of the first ever borough-wide Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) scheme in Reading. His hard work has been taken on and progressed by Tessa Brunsden. Some of their many contributions have included:

  • organising football tournaments in partnership with Reading Football Club and incorporating alcohol education session for youngsters;
  • taking the wheel of the First Stop Bus which offers a mobile alcohol education service for local schools and sixth form colleges;
  • using social media to engage with the community and
  •  creating the ‘Retailer Passport’ to help independent licensees whilst providing free training events for dozens of frontline workers on the law and best practice.

Cllr Paul Gittings, Reading’s Lead Member for Consumer Services, said:

“I am extremely pleased to hear Matthew and Tessa have received recognition for their excellent work. It is so important that positive messages about the responsible use of alcohol are brought home to people, particularly young people. Matthew and Tessa’s engagement with local communities and education sessions with young people play a crucial part in reducing underage drinking across the borough.”

CAPs bring together retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and other stakeholders to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

CAP’s 2016 Impact Report shows how they are empowering communities to tackle alcohol-related harm to young people and improve the quality of life for residents. The report provides evidence of reductions in crime, anti-social behaviour, litter, and underage purchasing of alcohol and increased feelings of safety by residents in CAP areas. Local partners’ evaluations show that on average, in CAP areas

  • alcohol-related youth anti-social behaviour fell by 40%
  • confiscations (police seizures) of alcohol from under 18s drinking in public fell by 85%
  • attempted purchase of alcohol by under 18s fell by 75%
  • attempted “proxy purchase” of alcohol by adults on behalf of children fell significantly (ranging from 41% – 65%)

Launching the Impact Report, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Sarah Newton said: “It is clear that Community Alcohol Partnerships are playing an important role in reducing young people’s alcohol consumption and protecting them from the harms caused by alcohol abuse.

“The Government is committed to building a safer Britain that works for everyone and I am impressed with the work that CAPs are doing across the UK, to protect and support young people in our society.

“Alcohol-related violent crime has fallen – but it is clear that alcohol misuse has a significant impact on young people and their communities across the country, and partnerships such as this are an effective way to tackle this issue.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, said: “Easy access to alcohol can sometimes put young people at greater risk of a range of dangers. CAPs play a vital role in bringing key stakeholders together to tackle underage drinking, helping to keep young people and communities safe. I would also like to congratulate all involved for their hard work and commitment to making a real difference through CAPs in their areas.’’

Derek Lewis, Chairman of Community Alcohol Partnerships said: “Local partnerships of communities and retailers working together to provide tailor-made solutions to underage drinking in their areas are a powerful and effective way to protect children and create better and safer neighbourhoods.”


Notes for Editors:

A photo of Matthew and Tessa is available on request.

For media information on CAPs, contact Julia Shipston, Communications Manager for Community Alcohol Partnerships, tel 0771 3163003, email:

Notes to editors:

In 2014, 38% of 11-15 year olds in England had drunk alcohol. This continued the downward trend since 2003, when 61% of pupils had drunk alcohol. 1However 4% said they drank alcohol at least once a week and a further 5% said they drank once a fortnight.2

Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP) schemes are set up to tackle underage drinking and the resulting harm to local communities. All schemes are managed and delivered locally via partnerships between local authorities, police, retailers, schools and neighbourhood groups and health providers, offering a flexible model tailored to fit the needs of each community. All schemes incorporate a mixture of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.

CAP is a community interest company (CiC), funded by major retailers who share its concerns about underage drinking. Current funders include: Aldi, ASDA, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), Brown Forman, Co-op, Diageo, Heineken, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Molson Coors, One Stop, Sainsbury’s, SHS Drinks, Tesco and Waitrose. We are also grateful to the Welsh Government which provided £15,000 towards the establishment of three new CAPs in Wales.

It is now nine years since the first CAP was set up in St Neots in 2007. Between 2014 and 2016 the number of CAPs more than doubled and by the end of 2016 there will be 124 across the UK.

1 Statistics on Alcohol, Health and Social Care Information Centre, published 30 June 2016.

2 Data intelligence summary: Alcohol consumption and harm among under 18 year olds, Public Health England, published July 2016.


Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email or call 0118 937 3957