Police Scotland Youth Volunteers at Northfield Academy are encouraging the community and their peers to stay smoke free and #stubitoutforever as part of a new project.
Choices for Life, delivered by Police Scotland and funded by Scottish Government, aims to raise awareness amongst young people aged 11-18 about the risks and dangers of substance use and misuse, including smoking, alcohol consumption and drugs.
The PSYV team at Northfield Academy have successfully obtained funding from Choices for Life to deliver an anti-tobacco awareness project to pupils at the school.
Speaking about the project, Northfield Community Policing Team Inspector, Andy Barclay said: ” The Police Scotland Youth Volunteers at Northfield Academy were keen to apply for funding from Choices for Life to carry out an educational project this term. Projects can either be about the dangers of drugs including NPS, alcohol and smoking.
“Figures from the NHS state that around 15,000 young people aged around 14-24 start smoking every year in Scotland.
“With this shocking statistic, the PSYV team at Northfield Academy decided to focus on smoking and they were delighted that their funding application was accepted.
“Other PSYV groups across Scotland are focusing on the dangers of NPS use however with the alarming figures on young people smoking, the group felt that this was the project that they wanted to work on.
“The team has launched the project today at Northfield Academy’s weekly assembly and we were pleased to have the support of Dougie Henderson, from the Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust who is an ex-smoker and was able to speak first-hand about the positive impact stopping smoking and leading a healthier lifestyle has had on his life.
“For the rest of this term up to the Easter holidays the PSYV team have formulated lesson plans and they, along with School Based Officer PC Russell Minty, will be giving talks and presentations to all S1 classes at the school to highlight the dangers of smoking. It is hoped that the lesson inputs will encourage pupils to think about the potential long term health consequences and discuss these with their family and wider circle of friends in order to influence choices made outwith the school as well as within.”
School Based Officer and leader of the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, PC Russell Minty, said: “This is a good project for the Youth Volunteers to get involved in which contributes to a Scottish Government objective of creating a tobacco free generation. The members of the Northfield PS Youth Volunteers have really taken responsibility for this project and driven it forward. I’m very proud with what they have achieved so far and what they are looking to achieve over the coming weeks.”
Marc Rayne a sixth year pupil at Northfield who has been a member of PSYV for just over a year said: “I am really pleased to be involved in a cause to try and help the younger kids in thinking about a healthy lifestyle.”
Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee Councillor Angela Taylor said: “This initiative enables young people to learn about anti-tobacco and raises awareness of the issues around smoking to their peers. This in turn will allow them to make considered choices and for them to share their knowledge around the issue with their friends and family, which will be a real benefit to the whole community.”
Neil Hendry, head teacher at Northfield Academy said: “At Northfield Academy we are constantly aspiring to improve the health and wellbeing of our school community. The #stubitoutforever initiative will dovetail with work done throughout the academic year in school to ensure everyone is aware of the danger to their health associated with smoking but also the social disadvantage that smoking now places on everyone. We want to ensure our young people have the knowledge and understanding to make informed choices.”