By Eve Pearce
Young people in the Horsham district have been busy entering a competition to make the best alcohol-free cocktails in the area. The Mocktail Apprentice Project is being initiated by Horsham District Council, Sussex Central YMCA’s Young Person Alcohol Initiative and Horsham Matters, and is taking place in an attempt to educate young people on the many dangers associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
Addressing alcohol related issues
The consortium was awarded the innovative project having successfully bid for the £9,000 ‘alcohol fund’, which was created by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) last year. The fund was formed to help address alcohol-related issues faced by local communities, such as anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Safe alternatives to alcohol
The inventive mocktail competition has been open to all teenage school students across the district; the project team has been busy over the past few months visiting schools in the area and inviting their students to dream up their very own alcohol-free cocktail – or ‘cocktail’. The winning concoction will be made available for the public to enjoy via the menu at the South Lodge Hotel. During their school visits, the project team took the opportunity to educate students on the safe alternatives available to alcohol. It is also intended that the competition will encourage the young people to develop key employability skills, having the opportunity to create a potential business product.
“An important and innovative educational project”
The project was launched by Baroness Newlove, who will also be attending the finale event next month. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to the grand final, where they will each make their creation for judges and guests to sample. They will all then be judged, and a winner picked and announced. Conservative MP, Sue Rogers, who is HDC cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, expressed her excitement for the final. “I am excited to finally see the end result of this exciting competition,” she said. “Whilst young people’s binge drinking is not a significant issue within the Horsham District community, the Mocktail Apprentice Project has been an important and innovative educational project for the District and for our young people.”
Highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving
It is also hoped that the campaign will also help to tackle the issue of young driver safety, and will encourage safe driving among young people in the Horsham District. The welfare of young people on the roads continues to be a problem in the United Kingdom. Road safety charity, Brake.org has consistently found that young drivers are more likely to take risks when it comes to drinking and driving; drivers under 25 have the highest incidence of failing a breath test after a crash. Young drivers are already faced with many challenges when getting onto the roads. Often the biggest hurdle to overcome is the cost of just getting on the road; insurance premiums are higher for younger drivers, due to the fact that they are more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48-year-old, and one in five young drivers will have a crash within six months of passing their test (Brake.org.uk figures). Many young drivers will resort to taking out a loan to pay for a new car, to make the experience more affordable; thankfully, the car finance industry has a range of options available to young drivers. Companies such as Car Loan 4 U offer a range of deals; car loans from Car Loan 4 U are tailored towards the individual driver, which makes the experience of shopping for a new car that little bit easier for young drivers on a specific monthly budget.
Prizes at the grand final
A range of prizes will be available for participating and winning teams during the grand final in July, which will take place at the South Lodge Hotel. Among the prizes on offer for lucky winners will be the opportunity to have their cocktail sold professionally at the hotel, as well as at a range of other upmarket bars and restaurants across the local area. For those that wish to find out more about the competition, and about the grand final event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01403 215137.