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Smashed: Swansea Bay students warned of dangers of underaged drinking

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Secondary school students in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire are set to receive a hard-hitting lesson on the dangers of underage drinking in an effort to drive down alcohol consumption and harm amongst young people.

Smashed’, an international theatre production developed and presented by Collingwood Learning and supported by drinks manufacturer, Diageo, will visit 18 secondary schools across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Cardiff between 7 and 18 November.

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The programme combines drama with interactive workshops to help young people understand the facts, causes, and consequences of alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.

Wales is making progress in reducing levels of underage drinking, with previous research by the Welsh Government finding that 81% of 11–16-year-olds have either never or rarely drank alcohol.

However, campaigners say there is still more to be done to drive down the rate of underage drinking across the country and educate young people on the risks associated with alcohol misuse.

Each ‘Smashed’ session combines a 25-minute dramatic performance with a 35-minute interactive workshop which allows students to reflect on vital underage drinking themes and answer questions about the choices made by the characters in the performance.

Smashed say that, wherever they exist, they work in close collaboration with Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs), an organisation which brings together councils, police, retailers, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people.

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Smashed has been running for over 17 years and has delivered educational performances to students in over 20 countries around the world. To date, Smashed has reached over half a million students in the UK and looks set to reach a further 4,700 over the duration of this Welsh tour. 

Chris Simes, Managing Director at Collingwood Learning, said: “We are so excited to be returning to Wales with Smashed Live. These performances can make a real change from the typical classroom session, and it’s been brilliant to see the fantastic response to the programme from schools in the aftermath of the pandemic. Our actors are ready to engage young people in Swansea and Cardiff on these important messages around alcohol misuse.”

Drinks manufacturer, Diageo are behind brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum, Tanqueray gin and Guinness beer.

The company has supported Smashed since it began in 2005, and has pledged to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers, globally on the dangers of underage drinking by 2030.

The programme, developed in consultation with young people, has proven positive impact. The latest UK evaluation report found: 81% of students are less likely to drink alcohol underage as a result of watching Smashed   with 80% of students know where to get help about alcohol as a result of watching the production.

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Over three quarters (76%) of students say they felt equipped to make the right choices about drinking alcohol underage as a result of watching Smashed

Nuno Teles, Managing Director at Diageo GB, said: “Smashed’ aims to empower young people by equipping them with the knowledge, awareness, and confidence to understand the dangers of underage drinking. Creating a positive impact in the communities in which we operate is critical to our business and the Smashed programme has a proven track record of delivering outstanding results in secondary schools. We are so delighted to welcome the tour to Wales so we can empower the next generation to drink responsibly.”

Smashed will visit Birchgrove Comprehensive School, Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe, Cefn Hengoed Community School and Gowerton School in Swansea, Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera in Neath Port Talbot, and Carmarthenshire school’s Ysgol Bro Dinefwr in Llandeilo, Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth in Cefneithin and St Michael’s School in Llanelli.

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