Skills: HEAR, Better business

Drugs and alcohol reducing risk

NORCAS is the leading drugs, alcohol and gambling charity in East Anglia. They launched a self-funded programme of education work with young people to raise awareness of alcohol and drugs related issues. The programme takes a fresh approach characterised by active education and responsiveness to the interests of the young people. The charity was keen to gather evidence relating to the effectiveness of this new approach and asked Cultural Intelligence to conduct a qualitative evaluation.

Cultural Intelligence recommended a peer-led approach. A team of four volunteer young researchers were recruited through Farlingaye High School in Suffolk. Under the guidance of Ci they were responsible for designing methodology, conducting the fieldwork, analysing the results and presenting their findings. Methodologies included a structured observation of the group workshops, vox-pop video interviews with workshop participants and a ‘before and after’ survey which explored levels of knowledge and attitudes to drugs and alcohol.

As expected, the peer-led evaluation provided a unique insight into the programme. It evidenced a very significant change in levels of knowledge around drugs and also some shift in attitudes among the workshop participants. Young people valued the programme for its non-judgmental approach as well as the informality of its mix of discussion, games and exercises.

It is difficult to be sure but the young researchers felt they got a more honest response from young respondents than older researchers would have achieved. We tend to agree!

Thanks to:Farlingaye High School and Suffolk New College