Students who attend two Ribble Valley schools had a hard-hitting lesson on the risks associated with underage drinking as part of an award-winning programme that will reach 1,300 students in Lancashire and 45,000 students across the country this year.
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School students and secondary school students at Bowland High School at Grindleton watched a play about a group of friends who find themselves in trouble as a result of their misuse of alcohol.
The performance is followed by an interactive workshop where pupils will be invited to probe the cast on any of the issues brought up during the play and explore the consequences portrayed by the actors.
The performance is part of "Smashed", an alcohol education and awareness programme sponsored by Diageo and delivered by Collingwood Learning. To date the programme has reached more than 380,000 pupils in 1,610 schools across the UK since it began in 2005.
Developed in consultation with young people, "Smashed" has been designed to engage with pupils in a different way to typical school lessons.
It combines the use of drama with interactive workshops to help young people understand the facts, causes, and consequences of alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.
Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, said: “Through engaging performances and thought-provoking workshops, the organisers of 'Smashed' have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.
"I'm delighted to hear that schools in Ribble Valley have invited 'Smashed', as I understand the workshop helps give school pupils the knowledge they need to have responsible attitudes towards drinking in later life.”
Showing immediate, positive results, a total of 95% of students said they understood more about the dangers of underage drinking than they did before the workshop
Students who knew the legal age for buying alcohol in their country increased from 78% to 94%, while 86% of pupils demonstrated confidence in where to get help with alcohol related issues after the programme - an increase of 33%.
Meanwhile, 15% of students said the most important thing they learnt from the session was how to challenge peer pressure.
England is making progress to reduce levels of underage drinking. The number of boys and girls aged eight to 15 that reported drinking alcohol has fallen significantly, sitting at 14% compared to 45% in 2003. However, there is still work to be done, as 16 to 24-year-olds are the most likely demographic to binge on alcohol when they do drink. This is why "Smashed" is targeting 12 to 16-year-olds to help them make informed decisions in the future as they reach this age group.
Chris Simes from Collingwood Learning said: “The 'Smashed' team are thrilled to be travelling the length and breadth of the UK for another year as we tackle the culture of underage drinking. By combining powerful emotive theatre with engaging interactive workshops, our creative educational performances are making a difference nationwide. With Diageo’s support, we are making sure more of the next generation have the confidence and knowledge they need to stand up to peer pressures and understand the risks of alcohol misuse.”
Aileen Keyes, Head of Alcohol in Society Europe, Diageo, said: “Diageo are proud to be long-term sponsors of the ‘Smashed’ project and Collingwood Learning. Their imaginative yet hard-hitting workshops are unforgettable, successfully raising awareness of the problems underage drinking and alcohol misuse can cause. Due to reach 45,000 school pupils this year in the UK alone, the programme ensures that an ever-growing number of young people are equipped to make informed decisions about drinking alcohol as they head towards adulthood. Our ambition is now to reach five million people through the ‘Smashed’ programme by 2025.”