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‘It’s the drink talking’ at young people’s event

Posted 23/07/14

A group of young people in the North East have been working on a campaign focused on alcohol street marketing, as research conducted with the teenagers showed that one in three had been handed an alcohol flyer in the street.

Pupils from Boldon School have been working with Matrix Young People’s Service in South Shields on ‘It’s the drink talking’, a national campaign funded by Alcohol Concern which gives young people a voice on alcohol issues and the tools to create positive change.

When researching on-street marketing for alcohol, in particular for pubs and clubs, the group identified that some young people had been handed an alcohol related leaflet in South Tyneside and there is no current guidance or legislation to prevent anyone from being handed street leaflets. The young people are calling for this to change.

The findings of their research were discussed at a recent meeting in South Shields attended by key local stakeholders and policy makers, along with representatives from Alcohol Concern and Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.

Decisions makers were called upon to action change in a number of areas highlighted as a result of the teenagers’ campaign research. These included training for staff employed to hand out leaflets and implementing a voluntary Code of Practice, which has clear guidance on who alcohol-related leaflets can be handed to and the content of these leaflets.

It is also hoped that the young campaigners will be able to present their findings to local Pub Watch schemes in a bid to share knowledge.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families at South Tyneside Council attended the event. She said: “It is important for young people to be given a voice to talk about issues that affect them, particularly when it concerns alcohol.

“Young people are often the focus of alcohol-related discussions, whether that be in the media or by politicians, but they are rarely included in the debates.

“This campaign has provided youngsters in South Tyneside with the opportunity to have their voices heard and to call for action on a number of key issues important to them. It was great to attend the event and we’re confident positive changes will be put in place as a result.”