‘Project Aware’ Luton is an initiative which partners Angelus with Luton Borough Council to inform young people of the risks of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) formerly called ‘legal highs’. In February 2015, their unpredictable effects caused six teenagers from a school in Luton to be hospitalised after they took an untested substance. Luton BC now works with Angelus on a harm-reduction campaign that aims to educate and deter risk-seeking behavior in at-risk groups.
The Angelus Project Aware Officer, Kate Zaczek said: “This awareness raising strategy takes a town-wide approach to build community resilience against harmful substances that could impact young people and their families. We have worked in schools, with community groups and at the local university to challenge the normative belief – ‘legal means safe.’ We are extremely proud to work with Luton Borough Council who is the first to address the issue of NPS drug-taking in this way.”
Angelus has campaigned at local events organised by Live Well Luton – at the Carnival and on World Mental Health Awareness Day, in Luton Libraries and, at The University of Bedfordshire and Barnfield College. Over 1,000 people were informed of the new law which came into force in May that makes ‘legal highs’ illegal to manufacture, distribute, supply and import. Possession is still legal.
Angelus has worked with local schools to educate young people on the harms of NPS. Teaching drug awareness is central to ‘Project Aware’ as adequate knowledge will help young people to become risk-averse. The Chalk Hills Academy informed Angelus that they felt more comfortable learning drug safety from someone their own age, so we set up the Project Aware Youth Ambassador Programme to recruit young people.
Kate said: “I’m so excited to set up the Project Aware Youth Ambassador Programme that was purposefully designed to build confidence and independence. Team building will also help young people express their creativity over the six week programme. We are delighted to have Creative Films Workshops on board as they are a Luton- based organisation which is passionate about upskilling young people.”
National Lottery Funding will enable participants to become a script writer, director, producer, filmmaker and actor in their own NPS awareness film which will be promoted on social media and shown in schools. This six-week project is open to dedicated young people aged 13-21 who are passionate about making a difference to their community. Angelus is working with Creative Films Workshops who will teach young people technical creative filmmaking skills.
We welcome all young people in Luton to join this inspiring project by contacting Project Aware on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07498 921854.
Let’s become awareness together!
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Creative Films Workshop Link: http://www.creativefilmworkshops.co.uk/index.php/our-blog