PCC sees the Street Aware programme in action during Alcohol Awareness Week

PRESS RELEASE: Friday 20th November 2015

PCC sees the Street Aware programme in action during Alcohol Awareness Week

The dangers of alcohol and drugs misuse were brought home to school pupils in Bedworth yesterday (Thursday 19 November) in a special assembly attended by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball.  Around 150 Year 7 pupils at the Nicholas Chamberlaine School were given information about drugs and alcohol, what their effects are and what the consequences of their misuse can be. 

The assembly was delivered as part of the Street Aware school education programme provided by Sevenco Training CIC for Alcohol Awareness Week (16 – 22 November).  Alcohol – as well as itself being open to misuse – is often a gateway into other forms of misuse as it reduces inhibitions which can then lead young people to experiment with drugs when they otherwise might not.

Street Aware offers a bespoke programme which provides young people with in-depth information around the dangers of substance misuse, in particular ‘legal highs’, providing vital harm reduction messages which are delivered in a non-judgemental way.   Working with the school, PHSE lesson plans are developed to ensure on-going intervention throughout the academic year, building knowledge for each year group.  Parents are also engaged with to help them understand the dangers of substance misuse and to feel comfortable talking about them with their children.

Studies within Warwickshire have shown that where Streets Aware has been delivered there has been a significant decrease (70%) in individuals wishing to experiment with substances, particularly among Year 11 students. Encouragingly, 90% of all pupils are now able to identify where they can seek help following a Street Aware programme.

Donna Williamson, Programmes Director for Street Aware and who led the assembly, said: “Street Aware believes that drug and alcohol education is crucial and necessary for young people today. Education that not only enhances their knowledge on the types and effects of substances out there, but also teaches them life skills and resilience is vital, so that they may be able to make safe and secure life choices as they grow up. Together our 'educate' and 'prevent' evidence-based approach gives young people a chance to make a difference to their future.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball has provided funding £3,000 to Nuneaton and Bedworth Community Safety Partnership to enhance the Street Aware programme across the borough during 2015/16. 

Praising the Street Aware programme, he said: “Drugs and alcohol are significant contributory factors towards crime and anti-social behaviour. It is hugely important that we can explain the dangers of misuse to young people at an early stage and continue to reinforce that throughout their school lives, in order to deter them from life choices which may be less than positive.  Street Aware is delivering some really encouraging results in this regard and it was good to see the interest and understanding shown by the pupils in the assembly.”

Cllr Bob Hicks, Chair of Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership (NABSCOP) said: “The Street Aware project plays a key role in helping young people meet the many choices they encounter as they move towards adulthood. Issues surrounding alcohol and substance use are many and varied, and good information, based on long experience of others, can greatly assist young people when confronting difficult choices. Street Aware helps young people make individual decisions, based on good information and overcoming peer pressure when necessary.”