Location: James Brindley School (Dovedale Centre), Birmingham

Event: Educational Sessions

Awareness Topics: Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling and Tobacco Awareness


Over a period of four weeks, Vickki and Rachel were invited to deliver educational sessions to students at James Brindley School in Birmingham at their Dovedale Centre, focussing on alcohol, drugs, gambling and tobacco awareness. The students at the school had varying special educational needs, so the sessions were tailored to ensure they were appropriate whilst remaining informative and fun.



Alcohol Awareness


The first week focussed on alcohol awareness and ways to stay safe during a night out. We set up several activity stations for students to rotate around, which included various tasks with the alcohol impairment goggles such as the ATM machine, walk the line, and lock and key. The purpose of these activities was to encourage the group to consider the vulnerabilities they expose themselves to if they have been drinking alcohol on a night out, and to discuss ways they can keep themselves and their friends safe.


As many of the students were near the age when they may be learning to drive, we spent some time explaining the risks of drunk driving and drunk passengers. The drunk passengers game was an excellent way to demonstrate this point, as they may not have thought about the dangers they put themselves in if they choose to stay sober and drive with friends who may be drunk.



Drug Awareness


The following week we covered drugs awareness. We delivered general information about illegal drugs; classifications, categories, their effects and the law. We spent some time addressing new psychoactive substances, paying particular attention to the drug Spice, explaining the effects of the drug and the impact it can have. To reinforce the message, we showed a video which detailed an individual’s experiences with his addiction to Spice. The video was especially hard hitting, and a real life example of how drug addiction can damage people’s lives.



Gambling Awareness


During week three we focussed on gambling awareness, and the session primarily concentrated on discussions around what gambling is, different actions which are classed as gambling and the law on gambling in the UK. We included a video which detailed a person’s challenges with gambling addiction, and this lead to conversations about what impact this would have on the individual and their family/friends.


We took along various activities to support this session, including our slot machine, coin pusher and bingo game to reinforce the message that the chances of achieving a desired result are very low.



Tobacco Awareness


Our last of the four sessions was concentrated on tobacco awareness. We made this session as interactive as possible, with various group activities and discussions to emphasise the health implications for smoking. We utilised our Smokey Joe quiz, several models including the foul mouth and smoked foot, as well as jars of tar. The ‘shock factor’ element seemed to really appeal to the students, and they were engaged throughout.


We discussed the financial impact smoking can have, as well as the law on smoking in the UK with a true or false quiz; the students had excellent knowledge of what the law is around tobacco use. We finished the session by offering carbon monoxide testing to students and staff. Even those who didn’t smoke were interested to know what impact the environment they lived/worked in had on their carbon monoxide levels.


Overall we thoroughly enjoyed working with the students at James Brindley School, and we hope that they are now better prepared to make healthy lifestyle decisions for their future.