Alcohol Reduction

There’s more than one way to build resilience

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By Gary Lovatt

Working intensively with partners from Health, Crime and Education it’s hard to get through a meeting these days without the mention of needing to build ‘better resilience’ in young people.

Indeed it’s refreshing that after years of apparent compartmentalisation of behaviours into different areas (alcohol, smoking, sexual activity, anti-social behaviour, self-harming etc) we’re learning that attitudes and behaviours generally start with addressing the protective factors that allow young people to make better, informed choices.

So how do you achieve and measure resilience? The answer is that you need to adopt a multi-targeted strategy, starting with examining the determinants of those behaviours in more detail. Read the rest of this entry »

Can we use Social Norms to predict the future?

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The eternal challenge when commissioning any mainstream preventative programme in health, crime or education is to measure the ‘what if’ in one, three, five or ten years’ time.

Sometimes the ‘what if’ is about defining how many smokers might have been reduced or the levels of abstention from alcohol resulting from correcting social norms.

Sometimes it is about the impacts that can be generated around protective behaviours, i.e. the improved confidence, resilience or self-esteem young people will benefit from by being involved in a particular programme.

As a socially driven, values based organisation, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to evidence the impacts we are making with young people through our programmes.

Uni of SalfordThis is primarily the reason we embarked on a 30-month Knowledge Based Partnership (KTP) with the University of Salford. Not only did we want to be independently challenged, we wanted to apply the lessons we have learned to pioneer new territories of research.
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‘Mirror mirror on the wall’ who will be our enterprise winner overall?

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The next campaigns to reach the National Finals have now been decided on and come from schools in the Midlands and South East.

The first campaign comes from year 9 students at Dormston School in Dudley, who created their ‘Mirror Mirror…’ poster using a realistic wall design, mirror frame and real mirror inserts. They hope by students sharing selfies on Facebook, that they will spread the message that a huge 99% of them would take action against bullying in their school – a very original campaign idea!

The next finalists are Holly Hall Academy, also from Dudley, whose campaign was just too well thought out not to make the shortlist. Focussing on the fact that most of them never or rarely drink alcohol, they designed up water bottle labels using their catchy brand name ‘holly h2o’, which were placed onto bottles and sold in their school. They also created an original hashtag to integrate social media into their campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Roadshow Opens Up New Opportunities

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ConferenceSocial Sense attracted over 150 visitors from throughout the UK to their recent national roadshows, where engaging positively and measurably with young people was top of the agenda.

Delegates from local authorities, schools, public health groups and many more joined the team at venues in Manchester, Newcastle, London and Birmingham. Social Sense presented and discussed the work which they have been doing over the last 5 years, and the exciting and engaging future projects which are on the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

Exciting New R U Different? Website Launch

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We are very excited to have launched our brand new website for our world leading social norms programme R U Different? which has gone live today.

Not only does it have a fresh new look but it has been updated with the latest information for Local Authorities, Schools and even Parents.
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Healthy Selfie Campaign is a Winner for Ridgewood

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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.

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Ridgewood High students show off their Healthy Selfie campaign along with Headteacher Mr Clive Nutting and PSHCE Teacher Mrs Nav Gill

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Do you want to join us?

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Merthyr Tydfil, Walthamstow, Brentwood, Fife, Margate, Rochdale and Newcastle – just some of the places where we’re not!

But with your help perhaps we could be… Read the rest of this entry »