Students across Barrow-in-Furness to receive important workshop on the risks of underage drinking

Secondary school students in Barrow-in-Furness are set to receive a hard-hitting lesson on the dangers of underage drinking in an effort to drive down alcohol consumption and harm amongst young people.

‘Smashed’, an international theatre production developed and presented by Collingwood Learning and supported by Diageo, will visit nine secondary schools across Cumbria between 16th and 20th January. The programme combines drama with interactive workshops to help young people understand the facts, causes, and consequences of alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.

The UK as a whole is making progress in reducing levels of underage drinking, however data from the UK Government[1] shows that hospital admissions for alcohol-specific conditions among under 18s in Cumbria is above England’s national average (37.0 per 100,000 versus 29.3 per 100,000).

Each ‘Smashed’ session combines a 25-minute dramatic performance with a 35-minute interactive workshop which allows students to reflect on vital underage drinking themes and answer questions about the choices made by the characters in the performance.

Wherever they exist, Smashed works in close collaboration with Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs), an organisation which brings together councils, police, retailers, schools, health providers and community groups across the UK to reduce alcohol harm among young people.

Smashed has been running for over 17 years and has delivered educational performances to students in over 20 countries around the world. To date, Smashed has reached over half a million students in the UK and looks set to reach a further 1,855 over the duration of this Cumbria tour.

Chris Simes, Managing Director at Collingwood Learning, said: “It’s brilliant to be returning to the North West to inspire young people with the Smashed Live programme. These engaging and lively shows have a proven lasting impact and make a real change from the typical classroom session.”

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Smashed is a fantastic project that educates students about the dangers of underage drinking outside of the typical classroom environment. I’m delighted to see the team back touring the North West and visiting schools across Cumbria, and I welcome the positive impact initiatives like this have on local communities.”

Diageo has long committed to promoting moderation and tackling alcohol harm across the UK.  It has supported Smashed since it began in 2005, and has pledged to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers, globally on the dangers of underage drinking by 2030. The programme, developed in consultation with young people, has proven positive impact. The latest UK evaluation report found:

  • 81% of students are less likely to drink alcohol underage as a result of watching Smashed
  • 80% of students know where to get help about alcohol as a result of watching Smashed
  • 76% of students feel equipped to make the right choices about drinking alcohol underage as a result of watching Smashed

Nuno Teles, Managing Director at Diageo GB, said: “Smashed’ aims to empower young people by equipping them with the knowledge, awareness, and confidence to understand the dangers of underage drinking. Creating a positive impact in the communities in which we operate is critical to our business and the Smashed programme has a proven track record of delivering outstanding results in secondary schools. We are so delighted to welcome the tour to Cumbria so we can empower the next generation to drink responsibly.”

In addition to the interactive workshop, Smashed provides support for schools in delivering vital Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and online support materials for parents. Schools not reached by the live tour have the opportunity to take part in Smashed Online.

[1] UK Government – Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, ‘Local Alcohol Profiles for England’, ’37.0 per 100,00 (Cumbria) vs 29.3 per 100,000 (England) 2018/9 – 2020/21’


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