CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

The vital role of the Alcohol Education Trust

PUBLISHED: 11:12 15 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 15 April 2016

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Helena Conibear explains the vital role the Alcohol Education Trust plays in keeping youngsters safe around alcohol

There are few things in our lives as contrary as alcohol – bringer of pleasure, relaxation and conviviality if enjoyed responsibly – yet bringer of misery, illness and death if abused.

There are two different types of harms associated with alcohol – those linked to long term excessive drinking – and secondly, the aspect which receives much less focus from a ‘finding a solution’ point of view, around the short term harms linked to binge drinking. These are mainly due to the loss of inhibitions that getting drunk induces – increasing the risk of accidents, violence and other risk taking. These sometimes devastating effects are overwhelmingly associated with young and inexperienced drinkers – when developing a social life, experimenting and going to parties, festivals or going off to college or university.

I’ve always believed in prevention being better than cure – and that is what the work of The Alcohol Education Trust is all about. We have two simple aims – to push up the age that young people begin drinking in unsupervised settings – at parties and in public places, and to reduce levels of heavy drinking and drunkenness, as well as its social acceptability. Sound easy? Well there are 3.6 million young people in our target 11- 18 year old audience.

We work with teachers, parents, schools, youth and sports clubs to encourage kids to work out for themselves why it makes sense to wait until they are older if they plan to start drinking - at this stage children practice ‘resistance strategies’ so they feel confident saying no. Through role play, rehearsal strategies, games and interactive on line activities – we’ve been able to show that our work is both fun and effective.

Once teenagers do start to drink it’s equally important that they understand about keeping themselves and others safe, and can think through risky situations to work out ‘exit strategies’. It’s crucial they understand the effects of alcohol, both social and physical, as well as how much is too much, alcohol and the law – and the consequences of breaking it, enabling them to make informed choices.

We also work to convince teachers that their role is not one of ‘damage limitation’. After parents, teachers have the most influence on our young people’s lives and by building dialogue and listening to young people’s concerns, values, pressures and worries they can really make a difference and affect decisions around responsible choices.

That leads to the third strand of our work which is encouraging parents and carers in a ‘tough love’ approach - by setting boundaries, knowing where their kids are and who they are with. This is the hardest part of our work by far, engaging with hard to reach parents and ensuring we’re neither nannying or critical – but supportive and helpful.

We don’t know how many young people have got home safely, looked after their mates, or thought about the consequences of their actions and made a better choice because of our programme, but what we know for certain is the younger a child begins drinking regularly the more it affects their life chances – and our job is do everything we can to keep young people safe around alcohol.


Helen Conibear

Dorset born Helena has worked all over the world including California, Cape Town and France. She and her husband Simon returned to Dorset in 1998, to bring up their two children, now 19 and 15. After many years specialising in alcohol health, social and policy issues internationally, Helena became increasingly aware of the lack of a coherent, effective prevention programme for children. So with a group of like-minded teachers, governors, parents and health specialists, Helena established the Alcohol Education Trust in 2009. The charity now supports half a million 11-18 year olds in the UK via 1400 schools and 700 youth and sport organisations, with the Talk About Alcohol programme. Find out more at alcoholeducationtrust.org.


READ ON

Tim Booth: A myriad of extraordinary hands - An image of his grandmother’s hands started photographer Tim Booth on an unusual portraiture project that, over the years, would capture a myriad of extraordinary hands

The importance of putting a Shareholders’ Agreement in place when setting up a new company - Commercial Solicitor, Jeremy Channon, reveals the importance of putting a Shareholders’ Agreement in place when setting up a new company

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hosted by Martin and Philippa Clunes, this year’s event drew people, ponies and dogs from far and wide to raise funds for Dorset County Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

Calling all self-professed Clunatics! Test your knowledge on Doc Martin with our quiz.

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fanny Charles meets some of the residents and businesses owners who are proud to call Dorset’s newest town the place where they work, live and play

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Donna and Harry Mosley have brought the taste of their world travels to The Paddle in Highcliffe, where brunch and lunch is a deliciously leisurely affair

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful and discover what makes them tick

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith has brought the plight of detainees at Guantanomo Bay into the art rooms of local schools

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

His extraordinary physique made Chang Woo Gow famous, but this well educated family man sought escape from the limelight in Boscombe

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Retired drama teacher turned film director and producer, Rosita Clarke tells us about the ghostly Dorset love story that has just won her an award at an international film festival

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of Dorset’s best known over the years. Here’s what they love most about this beautiful county

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A world-renowned explorer, a palaeontologist and futurist, and a butterfly conservator reveal the importance of the past for the future of mankind

Read more
Monday, January 15, 2018

AFC Bournemouth’s Jermain Defoe tells Andy Greeves how having a virtually vegan diet has helped to keep him at the top of his game and why beetroot helps him run faster

Read more

Local People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read full story »