On the 21st of February children, young people and young adults from up and down the country came together for the Youth Alcohol Summit. Taking place at City Hall, the home of Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the summit is thought to be the first of its kind and was organised by Alcohol Concern’s ‘It’s the Drink Talking’ project.
It was a hugely successful day with over 50 young people coming together to call on policy makers to sit up and take note of their opinions. With the aim of smashing youth stereotypes, the summit sought to promote the powerful message that young people are too often spoken about as a cause rather than a solution to alcohol issues.
The day showcased the campaigning talents of the various groups involved in the project and their hard work campaigning for positive change locally. The groups who attended came from the North East, North West and Birmingham areas. The issues and solutions discussed all reflect young people’s priorities. For example, a group from Newcastle showcased their work trying to prevent children and young people being given alcohol promotion discounts in the town centre. The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) talked about their work successfully challenging alcohol advertising and there was a premiere of the London Student Alcohol Group’s hard hitting video documentary on extreme drinking initiations at university. The video is hoped to influence university’s sense of responsibility around the issue. Paving the way for even more success with future campaigns participants developed basic campaigning strategies through a workshop courtesy of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.
The event highlighted the huge potential that young people have to find solutions to local alcohol issues if they are listened to and given the right support. Check out photos from the day at http://www.itsthedrinktalking.co.uk/youth-campaign-groups/youth-alcohol-summit-2014/