Pupils in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy are set to benefit from a peer mentoring around drugs and alcohol after Tayside Council on Alcohol has secured over £58,000. The money is coming from Corra Foundation and will be used to expand a successful pilot programme that was run in Pitlochry.
Kathryn Baker, Children’s Services Manager, said: “We all know that children are much more likely to pay attention to what their peers say than to anything they are told by an adult. This is particularly true for information around drugs and alcohol, as young people are often reticent to talk to adults about this. That’s why training young people to deliver an education programme about drugs and alcohol is really powerful – it cuts out the barriers and encourages youngsters to be honest about their experiences and concerns. There was really positive feedback from the pilot we ran in Pitlochry High School, so we know the approach will work and are looking forward to being able to use this funding to help more young people understand the risks associated with misusing drugs and alcohol.”
The funding is for three years, with 18 peer educators from S2 and S3 being recruited and trained in the first year and 24 in the second. Up to 30 sessions will be delivered each year, and there will also be drop-in sessions offering information and advice which will be available to all pupils in the schools involved.
Mary Craig OBE, Chief Executive of Corra Foundation, said: “This award brings the total funding from the Foundation to Tayside Council on Alcohol to over £1m since 1997. Of that, just over £200,000 has been for work in Perth and Kinross. This has all been used to improve the lives of local children and young people who are affected by drug and alcohol issues. It makes sense to get young people involved in delivering education sessions, and it’s encouraging to see just how well received the pilot programme was. Supporting young people to have good self-esteem and take fewer risks with drugs and alcohol because they understand what can go wrong is good for them, their families and the whole community.”