Project set to educate children about alcohol

A PROJECT about alcohol misuse has been launched in the Coleraine Borough Council area.

Titled ‘My Name is Katie’, the project is aimed at the parents and carers of Key Stage 2 children. It will detail how parents and carers can have an influence on their children’s lives.

The project will be also rolled out to the Limavady, Ballymoney and Moyle council areas.

Orlaith Quinn, Community Safety Coordinator with Coleraine Borough Council explained more about the project: “‘My Name is Katie’ is an early intervention project, in respect of alcohol misuse, and targets parents and carers of Key Stage 2 children.

“It aims to raise awareness of the influence they can have in respect of their children’s attitudes and experiences of alcohol and provide useful support, information and advice.

“At the core of the project are young children demonstrating how their lives can be negatively affected by alcohol.

“The four Community Safety Partnerships are delighted to be launching this project and supporting parents and carers to reduce the harm alcohol can have on the lives of young people. The DVD and resource pack will be disseminated widely across the four council areas.”

The project is being supported by Drinkaware. Speaking at the launch, Chris Sorek, Chief Executive, Drinkaware, said “While it might be tempting for parents to delay speaking to their children about alcohol until they are older and more mature, we know opening a dialogue in their pre-teen years is crucial to delaying the age of first drink.

“We recommend parents start the conversation with their children when they are most receptive and before the teen years when increased peer pressure kicks in.

“Parents may not think their children would want to talk to them about alcohol, but 75% want to. Research shows children see their parents as role models and trusted sources of advice.”

Cllr David Barbour, Chair of Coleraine Community Safety Partnership added: “It is hoped that ‘My Name is Katie’ will provide much needed support and advice for parents and carers in respect of appropriate communication with young children around alcohol.”

The project is funded by Department of Justice Community Safety Unit. Further information can be obtained by contacting Bridget McCaughan at Limavady Borough Council on 777 60311, Cathy Watson, Ballymoney Community Safety 028 27660255 Orlaith Quinn, Coleraine Community Safety Partnership on 02870347036, or Bridgeen Butler, Moyle Community Safety Partnership 028 207 62225.