Enterprising students at Ridgewood High School have won a national competition and £500 worth of high street vouchers.
The Stourbridge school’s ‘Healthy Selfie’ campaign beat finalists from Salford, Swindon and Buckinghamshire to take first prize in the inaugural health promotion competition.
Nine Dudley schools took part in The R U Different? (www.rudifferent.co.uk) programme, which promotes the positive social norms that were recorded by students in an anonymous survey.
The programme aims to reflect back the positive choices of young people to address these misperceptions uncovered.
By doing so, the approach is proven to reduce peer pressure, build greater resilience and help young people make a more informed choice about which behaviours to follow.
In Dudley for example, the survey found that 9 out of 10 Year 9’s rarely or never drink alcohol at all, against a perception that 1 in 2 are drinking frequently.
Provided with these statistics, students in Ridgewood were invited to come up with ideas on how the media could be used to portray young people in a more positive and realistic way.
Their campaign was highly commended in the way it combined social media, peer influence and positive messaging in such a visual, eye catching way.
Among the winners were Lauren Schuck and Chloe Steventon who said in a joint statement:
“We are very privileged to have been given this opportunity to express our views on alcohol and drug use.
Recently, to promote cancer awareness people had been posting no make-up selfies, this influenced our ideas and thought it was a great way to promote our ideas.”
Gary Lovatt from project founders Social Sense explained that Ridgewood were popular winners.
“Ridgewood attracted more than 2000 votes for their campaign and they are worthy winners.
We are thrilled that students at Ridgewood and the other schools in Dudley have embraced this opportunity to change perceptions with such imagination, commitment and enthusiasm.”
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council has re-commissioned the R U Different? programme for this year which has already begun in twelve schools.