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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Teenager creates leaflet to warn kids off alcohol

CHILDREN aged eight and nine were rushed to Accident and Emergency after booze binges last year, according to a new safety booklet.

50021003B00
Alex Walker, PC Mike Brown and CDRP Rebecca Rawlings with copies of the alcohol advice leaflet REF: 50021003B00

The shocking fact comes as teenager Alex Walker launches Your Child and Alcohol, which is aimed at educating youngsters between nine and 14, and their parents.

It will be distributed to all primary and secondary schools in the Barrow borough to warn of the dangers of alcohol.

Alex, 18, of Barrow, researched and created the booklet herself while working as a community safety apprentice at Barrow police station.

She has also put together a YouTube video showing the story of Barrow teenager Shannon, who was found collapsed on the floor of a gent’s toilets after downing a bottle of red wine, vodka and WKD.

The county’s Deputy Chief Constable, Stuart Hyde, appears on the film showing his support for the initiative.

Alex said she was set the task of doing the booklet by ex-community inspector Geoff Steele before he retired last year.

She said: “He told me to do something that would be relevant to people my age and younger.

“I really got my head down and researched the information. I also spoke to a consultant at Furness General Hospital who told me about the eight and nine-year-old who ended up at the hospital last year after drinking alcohol.

“That really shocked me because I think about children drinking in Year 10 when they are about 15, not this young.

“Being younger, it is not a nagging booklet but aimed at school-age children. I wanted it to be full of facts and information that would not only help youngsters realise the dangers of alcohol, but also their parents.”

Barrow Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership funded the printing of the booklets, which as well as being available in schools, will be available in doctors’ surgeries, libraries, the police station and other places around the town.

The CDRP will also be handing out £100 to any local school to help them work on projects to get children to lower their alcohol consumption.

South Cumbria’s Superintendent Ali Dufty, vice-chairman of the CDRP’s alcohol task group, said: “The misuse of alcohol is a recognised underlying cause of crime and anti-social behaviour, including assaults, criminal damage and disorder.

“Those under the influence of alcohol are more at risk of becoming a victim too.

“This booklet doesn't aim to preach to anyone, it's a factual, practical aid for parents, carers and young people to use in whatever way works best for them.”

Helen Bailey, senior health improvement manager for Cumbria Primary Care Trust, said: “I am delighted with the publication of this booklet.

“Parents are often unaware of what the legal and health issues are of allowing their children to drink and this sets out in clear and straightforward way the facts.”

Fire boss Dave Coverdale, chairman of Barrow CDRP, added: “Alex has done a brilliant job. Alcohol is an important issue and we want to encourage families and informal groups to talk about alcohol and its effects.

“We cannot dictate when parents or carers allow their children to drink alcohol, but we can help by providing information that can be used as the starting point for discussions.”

To see the video, log onto www.barrowbc.gov.uk/alcohol or www.cumbria.police.uk/alcohol.

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