A group of girls from Farlington were crowned champions in the grand final of this year’s Mocktails project.
The winning team of Olivia Bell, Becky Farman, Vicky Jones, Anna Tetlow, and Abby Hart, impressed the panel of judges at the South Lodge Hotel last Wednesday with their non-alcoholic cocktail creation ‘#1’, beating off entries from Rydon Community College, Forest School, and Tanbridge House School.
Run by charity Horsham Matters, the second annual Mocktails Apprentice aims to empower young people to explore safe and responsible alternatives to alcohol, as well as helping them develop key project management skills.
After being crowned winners at the project’s grand final Becky said it was a ‘huge shock’, while Anna said they were really happy to win.
Vicky added: “We thought the runners-up were really really good. It’s such a good experience and it was such a fun day.”
Olivia thought the project was targeted to exactly the right age group, while Abby said they had enjoyed working as a team and setting everything up.
Rydon’s team of Lauren Fisher, Holly Lightbody, Charlie Cox, Euan Gowling, and Oliver Vigar, came second with their Mocktail ‘Pink Lady’, a mixture of cranberry juice, grenadine, mango juice, and lemonade.
Third place finishers were Forest’s Sam Chantril, Charlie Cox, David Wood, Ethan Hewitt, Alex Bell, Jack Thompson, Rory Beeby, and Sam Jewell, with their ‘Mexican Madness’ Mocktail.
Tanbridge House School students Jack Price, Kyle Newcombe, Will Winter-Scutt, Jenny Fletcher, Israel Harding, Isaac Read-Jones, Bea Chaston, and Muhamed Alsaffar, finished fourth with their entry ‘57’, made with lemonade, orange juice, and passion fruit juice.
One of the judges Ian Matthews, assistant manager at B52’s restaurant and bar, said: “It’s good to give something back to the community, not telling them they can do something but giving them an informed choice, making sure they are aware of the dangers and then they can make their own decisions.”
Sue Murdoch, of Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, added: “This is so important. We are getting to a younger age group. It’s pro-active, it’s preventative. It’s trying to get the message across and getting them to see the impact of drink driving.”
Richard Davy, station commander at Horsham for West Sussex Fire and Rescue, added: “When they become young adults and they are exposed to the risk, to give them this information now, it arms them in the best way possible.”
David Sheldon, chief executive of Horsham Matters, said: “The team did a fantastic job. It’s clear by the enthusiasm of the teams what an impact it had. The presentations were fantastic and a big thanks to all the volunteers. We could not have done it without them.
“Sussex Police gave us quite a bit of money and they deserve an extra thanks.”
Inspector Clare McKnight of Sussex Police, added: “Horsham neighbourhood policing team are delighted to support this initiative.
“Mocktail, which is run by the charity Horsham Matters, has provided an opportunity for young people to consider the impact of alcohol on their lives and society, and they have come up with some very good alternatives. The knowledge they demonstrated regarding the dangers of underage drinking and healthy alternatives during the presentations was very insightful.
“Clearly there has been significant commitment by the students the schools and Horsham Matters which we wholeheartedly endorse.”
Meanwhile this week Mocktail Apprentice received a £5,000 grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer in Sussex Community Fund.
Dann Morris, head of Mocktail Apprentice and young persons substance misuse manager for Horsham Matters, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Police & Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund, which will allow us to continue empowering young people to explore safe and responsible alternatives to alcohol whilst developing key employability skills.
“Mocktail Apprentice is helping to create a healthier and safer community by reducing alcohol associated problems such as binge drinking, drink driving and antisocial behaviour.”
To volunteer in the project email firstname.lastname@example.org