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Survey backs booze danger school lessons

Mayor of Blackpool Coun Val Haynes discussing the recommendations in the education and schools category with other attendees and participant Terry Bennett.

Mayor of Blackpool Coun Val Haynes discussing the recommendations in the education and schools category with other attendees and participant Terry Bennett.

Pupils living on one of Blackpool’s most deprived estates should be given more advice about the dangers of alcohol, a new think tank has warned.

Shops should also ensure booze is less visible to youngsters.

The measures are among a number of recommendations which have come out of a resident-led survey aimed at tackling high levels of drink dependency in Grange Park.

Health chiefs have worked with 20 people from the community to discuss alcohol problems and what residents want to see happen in order to improve the situation.

The recommendations include lobbying for more alcohol education to be part of the school curriculum, reducing the visibility of alcohol to young people in shops, using community facilities to provide more support and including health objectives when it comes to deciding whether a licence should be granted.

Coun Eddie Collett, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for public health, said: “Excessive drinking can cause misery to many people.

“Not only does it affect the person directly involved, but it can also harm their family, friends and the community around them.

“That’s why we’re keen to tackle the root cause of it.

“These recommendations from the residents will help to teach people about the dangers of alcohol from an early age, as well as supporting those people who have already fallen victim.

“As a council, we already do a huge amount of work to try and reduce the amount of problems that alcohol causes in the town.

“We’ve just re-launched Night Safe Haven to help people who fall foul of alcohol in the evening, and we’re continuing to look at strategic ways to stop its hold over some of the town’s residents.

“I’m really happy to work with the residents on Grange Park and try and get these recommendations sorted.

“Not all of them are things the council is able to do, but in those cases we will help them to put their case forward to the people who can.”

Terry Bennett, of the Grange Park Community Partnership, who took part in the alcohol inquiry, said: “We looked at what we needed to do and why, including what the barriers are. We then came up with a list of 35 recommendations which we noted seemed to fall into six broad themes, education and schools, community, support services, licensing and price, sales and advertising and crime.

“We feel this has been a very positive experience and we have put together a group that will continue to meet and to promote a better healthier lifestyle for all.”

The recommendations were agreed by the residents following 10 weeks of meetings. They also include promoting more of the alcohol support services available to residents in public areas, such as in health centres, as well as through groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

The survey and report was carried out by North West charity ‘Our Life’.

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