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News & views from Young Addaction Halton (Dec 2016)

News & views from Young Addaction Halton (Dec 2016)

Halton’s Member of Youth Parliament, Thomas Norris, joined young representatives from across the country last month to debate in the House of Commons.

The annual UK Youth Parliament debates, chaired by Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Hon John Bercow MP, have the purpose of deciding the campaigns for Youth Parliament for the coming year.

Following the debates, the UK Youth Parliament voted to campaign on two issues over the coming year: Votes for 16 and 17 Year Olds; and A Curriculum to Prepare Us for Life.

Thomas said: “This was an amazingly exciting opportunity for me to debate in such a historic setting. The Houses of Parliament are at the absolute heart of democracy in the UK and it was brilliant to see it filled with passionate and committed young people. The topics we have chosen for our national campaign are hugely important and if we can achieve our goals on these campaigns we can make an enormous difference for young people across the country. I will be working hard to ensure that local and national politicians are listening to the young people of Halton on these topics.”

YA Halton produces animated resources to help professionals raise awareness of drugs

Young Addaction Halton in partnership with Halton Borough Council and MakoEducation have developed a series of animated films to raise awareness of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). The informative and engaging clips will help professionals, parents and carers understand the risks and dangers associated with NPS, formerly called “legal highs”.

The animation, which is available via You Tube, can be used in training sessions by professionals, or by parents and carers to explain the risks and encourage discussion. You can also view animations on synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants, laughing gas, ketamine.

IN THE PICTURE: Students from The Heath School took the top prize at this year’s Halton Mayoral School Debates when they were named the borough’s Best Team Debaters. Schools debated key issues facing young people during the contest at CRMZ. The competition was chaired by young people from Halton Youth Cabinet and in the judges’ seats were the Mayor of Halton Cllr Ged Philbin and Executive Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Tom McEnery. The Heath’s victorious team were Alex Anderson, Ella Redmond, Alex WinStanley and Dominic Williams. Meredith Hannon from Ormiston Chadwick Academy won Best Individual Debater. The debates were organised by Young Addaction Halton as part of an ongoing commitment to ensuring that young people across the borough have an opportunity to get engaged and active in participation and democracy opportunities across the borough and beyond.

How we help young people: Sasha’s story

Sasha was referred to Young Addaction’s one-to-one service for support with healthy relationships, and staying safe. Sasha was home-schooled and needed to be involved in positive activities to maintain her self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing.

Sasha engaged well, attending all her appointments and always fully participating. Sasha also started to attended cadets as she’s interested in joining the army; that’s her long-term goal. We went on a visit to the army careers office to talk to an officer about the expectation of the army and the opportunities that they offer.

Sasha also took part in service user involvement workshops with Addaction, and again completed the training with enthusiasm. She then showed an interest in becoming part of the Halton Youth Cabinet, going on to take part in the cabinet meetings.

Sasha also took the opportunity to get involved in ‘take-over day’, spending the day with Halton Borough Council CEO David Parr. Sasha presented herself professionally and gained a great deal of insight into David’s role. Sasha has recently started the Duke of Edinburgh award silver with Addaction, where she will gain many skills that support her in the future.

Sasha’s mum Theresa said: “Sasha has gained confidence in meeting new people, and setting new higher goals. Sasha is now aiming for what she wants to achieve in the future.”

Sasha said: “Young Addaction can change people’s lives, bring more confidence, and help them to achieve to have better and brighter ideas for the future.”

Meet the team: Emma Moran

I work for Young Addaction as the Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme Practitioner across Halton. I have been involved with the AWF’s Resilience Programme for two and a half years now, and I still get overwhelmed with the positive feedback received from parents, teachers and students.

We work alongside the foundation to deliver the programme, including ‘life story share’, workshops with students, parents’ events, staff training and the Skills 4 Change project.

We have delivered in seven high schools throughout Halton and have been lucky enough to branch out to schools in the Cheshire West and Chester area during this academic year. I feel really privileged to have been involved in working with over 10,000 young people across these two areas, making a difference to those young people’s lives and more importantly their decision-making.

I have worked with some fantastic volunteers in recovery. They have dedicated so much of their time and efforts in sharing their life stories during assemblies (pictured above), and helping out with workshops that cover self esteem, peer pressure and risky behaviour.

These are some results from the Resilience Programme, which we’re thrilled to see:
89% of pupils said they found the programme useful to them.
73% of young people said their knowledge about alcohol had increased.
76% of young people said their knowledge about drugs (including formerly called “legal highs”) had increased.
75% of young people said they were more confident about making safer decisions about drug use and 73% said the same about alcohol use.
91% of pupils said they were now well informed that they could seek confidential help in the event of being concerned about substance use, peer pressure or bullying.
83% of pupils said they would seek out support for alcohol or drug issues.
79% of pupils said that they would be more likely to avoid risky behaviours relating to substance misuse.
77% of pupils said they would definitely not use drugs in the next six months.

The main focus of my role is to work with vulnerable young people to lead on the Skills 4 Change programme. So far we have delivered this programme to 63 young people across Halton and Cheshire West and Chester, with many more groups taking part from January 2017.

The six-week programme focusses on areas such as team building, goals, dreams and self-esteem, drug and alcohol awareness, healthy living, first aid and barriers to learning from 11-19.

The feedback from students has been really positive throughout the programme as well as excellent feedback from staff coordinating these groups.
“The 6 weeks have been awesome” – Amber
“The 6 weeks have been fun, educational and helped me. I have enjoyed the sessions.” – Lily
“The 6 weeks have gone so fast, I can’t believe it. This group has been really fun. I enjoyed it lots” – Alyssa
“The 6 weeks have been great!” – Alex
“I have enjoyed the 6 weeks” – Lucy
“Great!” – Jamie Lea

A few words from our manager…

Great news! Young Addaction Halton has been successful in obtaining extra funding to deliver an intiative around reducing isolation of the young people in the borough. It’s a 12-month funded project set to start in the New Year with the vision that we will empower isolated young people in Halton, encouraging them to take responsibility and control for meeting their own social network needs. Addaction’s role will be to facilitate community and individual goals through nurturing support and engagement, brokering links and fostering informal networks.

Donna Wells
Young Addaction Halton Manager

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year. Warm wishes for 2017 from all of us here at Young Addaction Halton

About Young Addaction Halton
Young Addaction Halton delivers an innovative and unique service, providing both a specialist substance misuse service for young people, as well as an integrated early intervention targeted and prevention service within schools, colleges and the wider community. We are commissioned by Halton Borough Council to provide services to young people aged 10-19 and up to 25 with additional needs. Visit our website for more details on the services and initiatives we deliver, as well as information on how to volunteer.
How to contact us
Please call 0151 257 2530 or email