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An anti-drinking campaign for Barnstaple is getting council support

Hundreds of free anti-stab packs will be handed out to bars, pubs and clubs in Barnstaple and beyond as part of an alcohol safety initiative supported by North Devon Council.

Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District has put together 500 deterrent kits after receiving funding from the Community Sparks Council of North Devon.

The packs contain two different deterrents – Spikeys and StopTopps. Spikeys are fluorescent bottle stoppers that fit into the top of the bottle and contain a small straw-sized hole in the middle. Once Spikey is inserted into the bottle, it cannot be removed. StopTopps are self-adhesive foil lids with a pre-cut hole for a straw that fit over glasses, bottles and cans.

Packages will be distributed to licensed premises at regular intervals by a Devon and Cornwall Police Licensing Officer. Soroptimist members will also be handing them out at events throughout the summer and working with Petroc’s student support team to educate students about alcohol and raise awareness.

Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District regularly provided kits to premises and also distributed at events including the Bideford Diversity Festival as a means of raising awareness. With access to funding through Community Sparks, we hope the project will continue to improve the safety of those who enjoy the city’s pubs and clubs, whether drinking alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

Barnstaple Town Center Manager, Hannah Harrington, said: “The kits put together by Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District are packed with simple deterrents that not only provide peace of mind for those enjoying our evening and night out, but are very effective in combating drinking. We are delighted to support this initiative through our Community Sparks fund and help ensure the distribution of these kits continues in the future.”

Irene Hockin from Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District says: “We at Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District have been distributing Spikeys and StopTopps bags for several years. They are a deterrent to those who intend to tamper with the drinks and a safety aid to those whose drinks would they could be unsupervised, even for the shortest period of time.

“There are many stories being told locally of possible and probable incidents. It is important that they are reported to the police and that those who do report follow up. By not following up, those responsible are left to commit this crime again. Another unsuspecting a victim who may not be in a position to react or respond.

“Our goal is to prevent and raise awareness of this crime. If we can use these deterrents to help save one young person from harm, our continuation of this initiative will be worthwhile.”

Soroptimist International Barnstaple and District is part of a global women’s service organization that aims to improve the lives of women and girls locally, nationally and internationally.

The Community Sparks fund is part of Barnstaple Safer Streets, a series of projects and initiatives designed to prevent anti-social behavior and incidents of violence against women and girls, as well as increasing the feeling of safety in the town.

To find out more about Barnstaple Safer Streets and the projects involved as part of the scheme, visit the Barnstaple – Streets Ahead website.

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