The Scotch Whisky Action Fund and The Robertson Trust were looking for innovative projects that might help communities further develop their responses to alcohol-related harm. They provided joint funding for Space Unlimited to run a youth-led enquiry in the Inverclyde area.
Port Glasgow High School was identified as a key local partner, because alcohol-related harm is an issue in the local community, and the Senior Leadership Team at the school is committed to developing student leadership, citizenship - and to building even stronger links between the school and the community.
“How can young people play an active role in reducing alcohol related harm in Port Glasgow?”
20 pupils from S1 and S2 were recruited to take part in the youth-led enquiry. It was decided to work with this age range to try and form a group of pupils that were not known to be directly involved in alcohol use (although they might have friends or family who are).
The group then organised a Community Dialogue Event, which was held at Port Glasgow High School on 6th March 2015. It was attended by school staff including the Head teacher, the school nurse, and pupils from the pupil council of St Stephen’s High School, which shares a community campus with Port Glasgow High School. Attendees from the local community included representatives from the local council (social work, education, police, health and councillors), non-statutory services (Barnardos, Drink Safe, Teen Challenge, Young Person’s Alcohol Team, Samaritans, local chaplain), representatives from Port Glasgow’s two feeder primary schools and parents.
Summary of learning from the collaborative dialogues
- Few services involve young people directly in the design and running of services for young people.
- There is an awareness of the need to improve partnership working, not just between services, but also with schools and more directly with young people.
- There is a real willingness and appetite in the local community to listen to the feedback and ideas of the young people and commit to improving services with and for them.
- Some of the ideas suggested by the project group appear to have caught the interest of adults, several of whom have offered support to help action.
The young people identified that the ongoing challenge was to support the young people and community stakeholders so that they could capitalise on the new ideas and connections they made, and build from existing community assets in a way that allowed young people to continue to share ownership in the development of their ideas.
Phase two of this project has been underway in Port Glasgow during the course of 2016, with the young people recruiting some new faces to join them and working primarily on four of their ideas - two focused on interventions within the school, and two focused on interventions in the community:
- A youth-designed and delivered intervention on alcohol related harm in local youth facilities.
- Youth-led shaping of websites on alcohol related harm and local services available for those impacted by it.
- Peer delivered sessions on alcohol related harm within PSE (Personal and Social Education) classes within school timetable.
- Youth-led information and engagement around a 'Mocktail' stand at school events.
We are excited to share further findings later in 2016.