A Young Person led research project: Underage drinking and smoking La Mare De Carteret High School
Delivered by Funded by @youthforgsyald @youthcommgsyald
The Group The group from La Mare de Carteret High School was a small group of 6 young people that were identified as being in need of additional support from The Youth Commission for Guernsey and Alderney. These young people were at risk of exclusion from school through disengaging with their education for either self esteem or behavioural reasons.
The Project Project Participation revolves around taking the idea of research as more commonly seen by young people through their education and challenging their understanding of this, allowing them the freedom to shape their learning as they take ownership of a complete research process. Young people who chose to be a part of this project were presented with a unique opportunity to lead their own research/consultation work in the community, focussing on their issues and gathering the views of the community in their own way before presenting their findings to a range of decision makers in the community. A research project follows basic research principles with young people adding in their own detail and direction as they progress through the steps of the project, these steps are as follows;
Analysing the positives of their local community
Identifying negatives and development issues within their community
Chosen issue/topic in their local community/Douzain that they would like to change or improve
Gather others views and opinions on the issue
Make recommendations for change
Share these recommendations for change with decision makers (Ministers, Deputies, States & 3rd Sector stakeholders, press community organisations and corporates)
Getting to know the group/My Island Paradise The aim of this session was to get young people to develop a quick understanding and relationship with the Forum worker associated with the Project. The group then took part in the ice breaker game the staff had planned for them. The game was called â€œspaghetti towersâ€?, we split the group into teams of three the idea of the game is to make the young people work as a team to build the tallest tower using just spaghetti and marshmallows. The first stage of the project began by young people trying to create their ultimate Island to live. The aim of this was to get young people thinking about what their ideal community looks like. This was used as a good way to challenge the young people on the things they had put on their island, we discussed that not always getting what you want is a good thing but having what you need can make for a more sustainable place to live. Then the young people marked off the things they already have in Guernsey that they had put on their dream island, this formed some of their positive lists later. The young people discussed some things they did not have in Guernsey that they may possibly need in the future and things they do have but they would like to improve. At the end of the session staff asked the young people to choose a topic that they could have an influence on changing in the future. The end of stage 1 seen the group realise that a community approach is one that is shared amongst all members and priorities in the community can change depending on which section of a community you belong to.
The Good and the Bad The group came into the centre and had a quick chat about what they had worked on the previous weeks. They then sat around in a circle and drew a sad face on a piece of flip chart. The plan for this session was to use sticky notes to write down issues they face in their own community and stick it to the sad face on the piece of flip chart. They used the island that they created during the previous week as a basis to look at what is missing and their own life experience to find more issues specific to them. On another piece of flip chart they looked at the realistic issues they could have a positive change on in the future. They then made a pyramid of importance on some paper and rearranged the sticky notes in the order of importance to them whilst continuing to discuss each issue as they went through them. Once the group had their top three issues they feel they can have a positive impact on within their community. The group then rearranged the three issues in order of importance and decided which issue they would like to research more and in the future hopefully have a positive change on. Although they could not decide on one issue they decided to choose the two issues that they feel are of most importance to them, the issues they choose were smoking and consumption of alcohol whilst underage.
Creating a Consultation
After choosing their topic of â€œUnderage Smoking and Drinkingâ€? the group was set the task of deciding how they would find the wider views of the community.
There was a discussion around why this was needed and the group came to their own conclusion that the voice of the many was important when it came to trying to make things happen. They were given examples of petitions and how many people can achieve change but that if not many want change then is it really an issue for the whole Island?
They set about their challenge and decided that best way to do this was with a questionnaire , it was quick and they believed they could get a lot of people to complete these and it wouldn't cost as much as other ideas the group had.
As a team they split there questions evenly between underage smoking/drinking and they decided to use both open and closed questions although they wanted some graphs they wanted to be able to find out what people were thinking to inform some of their questionnaires.
They agreed to get a minimum of 10 eac h completed and to get them by the following week so they could look at graphs. They also set off into town to hold a questionnaire session with members of the public.
Are you: male
Are you aged: 12-14
Are you still in any form of education?
1) Are you a smoker?
2) How old were you when you started smoking? 12-14 14-16 16-18 18+
3) Do you think some people only smoke to socialise?
4) Do you believe teenagers who consume alcohol underage are at risk of also becoming smokers? Yes/no
5) Do you think underage drinking is a problem in Guernsey?
6) Do you believe the police are doing enough to deal with underage drinking?
7) Should teenagers at school be taught about the dangers of drinking alcohol whilst under age? Yes/no
8) Which alcohol would you be more likely to consume whilst out with your friends? Cider
The graphs used in this report were produced by staff for this section of the printed report, During the project young people created their own graphs using glasses and paper (a picture is included). This project tries to avoid the use of excel /google charts to create a hands on experience of creating graphs on order to show young people that a graph can be created very simply to distinguish between answers or decision and does not have to be a task they may usually associate with IT lessons.
The recommendations After gathering their research and reviewing their work the group have come up with the following recommendations that they believe could ensure there is a positive Impact for young people on the issue they have chosen.
Poster campaignâ€“ they would like to see a poster campaign that is based here in Guernsey, they are used to seeing UK posters but they believe a local poster would have more impact. They would like to see these displayed in all the schools and youth centres across the island.
Confidential support for young people to stop smoking- young people who decide to quit smoking should be able to talk to someone in school without the fear of their parents being told that they smoke. A lot of young people who smoke, their parents do not know and we believe young people should be able to get help confidentially to quit.
Young people to receive advice rather than punishment-if our friends get caught smoking in school they should not be punished, itâ€™s a choice and punishing does not make us want to quit, it would be more helpful if we had to have a smoking education lesson if caught rather than a punishment.
The Youth Forum and the Youth Commission for Guernsey and Alderney would like to thank La Mare De Carteret high school and its students for their commitment to this project and for the research they have gathered.