Pupils at The Gilberd examine dangers of alcohol

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Pupils at The Gilberd examine dangers of alcohol

05 May 2012

Year 11 at The Gilberd is literally ‘lifting the lid’ on the perceptions of alcohol amongst 15 to 16 year olds in Colchester.

As part of the School’s Alternative Education programme, a focus group of 12 pupils, examined the pressures today’s young people face to drink alcohol. The pupils heard from AlcoHELP’s trustees who have not only first-hand – and sometimes tragic- experience of alcohol abuse and addiction but who also have extensive experience of working with young people.

Hannah Elliman, Teacher at The Gilberd, said:

“I wanted students to hear from people who had first-hand experiences of the dangers of alcohol dependency.  Terry and Debby, recovered alcoholics with AlcoHELP, are a fantastic, honest resource - the students were captivated by their personal experiences and were motivated to ask interesting, probing questions about the impact of alcohol addiction and how to seek help.”

Hearing directly from Terry Martin and Debby Peirson on their own experiences, the pupils were genuinely shocked to hear the harsh reality of alcohol abuse.

Pupil, Chloe Ayres, said 'It was quite scary hearing how alcohol can affect people’, with fellow pupil Holly Hussey adding “Young people don’t realise how bad alcohol can be for you if you drink too much.”

Commenting on the wider impact on family and friends, pupil Michaela Goodwin said:

“It was sad to see how it affects their family and friends - who are really the people who can see what it is doing to them.”

The Castle Hedingham based charity hopes to expand its reach throughout Colchester and the surrounding areas to mirror the success they’ve had in Braintree, Chelmsford, Epping and Loughton.
Having just received a ‘Big Lottery Award for All’ grant of £9,950 to take the 2Brite2Binge road show to schools, youth centres and sports clubs across Essex, trustee and founder, Terry Martin hopes to extend the charity’s reach.
Terry comments:

“There is very little help available for children with an alcohol problem other than seeing their GP. The funding will enable us to go some way to providing much needed support. After all national statistics suggest that more than 40% of children who start drinking before the age of 13 will go on to abuse alcohol or to become alcoholics at some point in their lives. Colchester is certainly no exception – whilst the pupils in the Focus Group had a negative perception of alcohol, most knew of places where it was possible to obtain alcohol illegally.

“Whilst every effort is made by local authorities to eliminate the sale of alcohol to those underage, a higher level of understanding of its potential damage is required amongst young people. This is why we will be making every effort to work with local partners, schools and councils in the area to raise awareness.”

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