Students at a Swindon school composed their own rap as part of an innovative project on the dangers of underage drinking and youth binge drinking.
Community retailer The Midcounties Co-operative funded a special education workshop, designed to engage teenagers and raise awareness of the issues, at Churchfields School, Swindon.
The workshop showed film clips which included rapper Ashley Tucker, otherwise known as A Dott, and he performed the title track ‘Friday Night’ live at the school. The students put their own thoughts into an eight-line rhyming rap too.
Midcounties funded the film project which uses dance, drama and song to get the message across and to spark discussions in the school sessions. In the film teenagers talk candidly about excessive and under-age drinking and the anti-social behaviour it can lead to and there are also views from the public, medics and the retailer to give a broader picture.
Schools were offered the free DVD and education pack, plus the workshops sessions, as part of Midcounties’ community focus and Churchfields took the invitation up.
Vicky Powell, Community Co-ordinator at Midcounties, said: “We are a responsible retailer and we believe this project can help to raise awareness and make a difference in the communities we serve. The DVD and lesson plan help schools to deliver alcohol education in an effective way.
“We know many people drink sensibly to relax and have fun but the aim of the Friday Night Alcohol Awareness Project is to consider the abuse of alcohol – of binge drinking and underage drinking – and to get teenagers talking and thinking about the issues.”
Midcounties’ Andy Cresswell, Group General Manager Retail, talks on the film about the challenges posed by under-age customers who try to buy alcohol or get older people to buy it for them. He explains the Society’s continued focus on training and awareness to prevent this.
Fairgame Theatre produced the video for Midcounties which features young people with different experiences and stories to tell. Sarah Blowers of Fairgame Theatre said: “At the schools workshops we work with the students in an informal way that is non-judgemental and allow and encourage them to explore their own attitudes to alcohol in a safe environment. We use discussion, film, role play and the secret weapon of a live rap performance from A Dott to work with young people in an exciting and accessible way.”
Alcohol consumption by under-18s is a real concern, not only because of associated problems with anti-social behaviour, but because of the risks to health. An estimated 630,000 11 to 17-year-olds in the UK are said to drink twice or more per week.
The track ‘Friday Night’ will be released on 7 June and will be downloadable from itunes.
Pictured: Rapper Ashley Tucker, also known as A Dott, is pictured with Churchfields School students, from left, Carmen Rodriquez, 14, Mollie Boorman, 15, Sara Moreira, 14, Lipu Ahmed, 15, and Antonio Bryan, 14.