Banff & District CSG supports peer education initiative at Banff Academy
Community Safety Group Chairman Robbie Robinson meets up with some of the team taking part in the special event at the Loch Park Activity Centre. Photo: The Banffshire Journal
Twenty-five Banff Academy fourth-year pupils, signed up to be part of the school's peer education programme, a scheme run in conjunction with the Banff & District Community Safety Group to aid personal development. The scheme was organised at the Loch Park Activity Centre at Drummuir, near Keith.
Peer education makes use of the concept that young people are very much influenced by people of the same age.
The students agreed to take part in a three-day event, organised by Banff Community Schools Team.
The first two days prepared them to educate other young people on the theme of drugs and alcohol. The pupils then worked with second year pupils, passing on the lessons they had learned.
They covered topics such as the skills and qualities a peer educator needs - effects and consequences of drinking alcohol, being assertive and how to say 'no', particularly in response to peer pressure.
Participants also had the opportunity to chat with staff from The Foyer, a support service for people affected by substance misuse. This was followed by a visit from the organisation Solid Rock, when they were given the opportunity to speak with people who have had substance misuse problems.
The second day started with a drama session - the youngsters were split into small groups to work on a short drama sketch based on a drugs and/or alcohol theme. They then prepared for the workshops they would run the following day as part of the second year pupils' leisure event.
During the third day, four groups of peer educators each worked with a group of twelve S2 pupils. Each party used a drama sketch based on the negative consequences of using alcohol and drugs.
They also used props such as the 'drunk goggles', which distort vision, balance and perception. S2 pupils had the opportunity to try these on and either do an obstacle course or manoeuvre a radio-controlled car to see the effects alcohol can have.
Various games and activities were also used to provide information about alcohol and drugs.
Organisers reported feedback from the S2 pupils was very positive, and the peer educators found the experience challenging but very enjoyable. Plans are currently underway to expand the project which will include further training for the pupils involved.
Chairman of the Banff & District Community Safety Group Robbie Robinson said he was delighted that his committee could support the peer education programme. He went on to say:
"The Banff & District Community Safety Group is keen to work with the young people involved to look at some of the issues, which affect the community as a whole, such as alcohol misuse."