Char­ity makes drama out of drugs

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS -

A YOUTH char­ity is putting the fight against drugs cen­tre stage.

Soulscape will use the arts in­clud­ing mu­sic, drama and film-mak­ing to help young peo­ple steer clear of al­co­hol and drug abuse.

Last year, Thames Val­ley Po­lice sent a let­ter to par­ents of se­condary school stu­dents across Wokingham bor­ough in which they warned of a rise in anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

They claimed it was linked to an in­crease in the use of cannabis and a drug called Xanax.

Now Wokingham based Soulscape is tak­ing an an­tidrug mes­sage to pri­mary and se­condary schools across the bor­ough.

It will use spe­cially de­signed vis­ual arts pro­gramme in­volv­ing an­i­ma­tion, dance and mu­sic to help build pos­i­tive sto­ries about life and hav­ing good goals.

The aim is to help young peo­ple re­alise they do not have to con­form to so­cial pres­sures and to make good de­ci­sions.

Jane Turner, Di­rec­tor of Soulscape said: “It be­came clear that our young peo­ple and their par­ents need help on this is­sue.

“So, work­ing in part­ner­ship with schools, par­ents, and other youth agen­cies, we de­signed our new pro­gramme ‘Give and Take’ to look at the rea­sons why teenagers end up tak­ing or sell­ing drugs, and to equip them with the con­fi­dence and re­silience to re­sist this pres­sure.”

“We hope that by work­ing with chil­dren from pri­mary age, we can pre­vent them be­com­ing vul­ner­a­ble to this sort of ex­ploita­tion and the de­struc­tive ad­dic­tions it can lead to.”

Jane added that drug net­works are in­creas­ingly tar­get­ing teenagers in the bor­ough, es­pe­cially those who are lonely or vul­ner­a­ble and with­out good sup­port net­works.

She said they of­fer a sense of friend­ship, be­long­ing and ex­cite­ment, and get them in­volved in drug use, run­ning or deal­ing be­cause chil­dren are less likely to be no­ticed or con­victed.

The Soulscape pro­gramme will be rolled out this week and grad­u­ally move across all bor­ough schools.

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