1,900 students in Sussex get a lesson from SMASHED – alcohol awareness programme – on underage drinking risks

Smashed image

SMASHED programme to educate students on drinking

1,900 students from across Sussex get a lesson on the risks associated with underage drinking as part of SMASHED, an international programme designed to educate young people on the facts, causes, and consequences of alcohol misuse and the risks of underage drinking.

In 2022, a total of 55,000 secondary school students aged 12 to 14 across the UK will experience the SMASHED programme, an international alcohol education and awareness programme delivered by Collingwood Learning and sponsored by Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol.

In 2020, Diageo launched its 10-year action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, demonstrating its commitment to help create a more inclusive and sustainable world. Diageo wants to change the way the world drinks for the better, which is why by 2030 Diageo has committed to educate over 10 million people on the dangers of drinking underage through SMASHED.

This spring, the SMASHED tour will visit 53 schools in 5 regions across England, reaching around 10,000 students. The programme has reached 1.5 million pupils across the UK since it began in 2005 and is now delivered in every continent globally.

Live performances, workshop and additional support

SMASHED was developed in consultation with young people and combines drama with interactive workshops. Delivered in schools by professional actors, the live workshop features a play with a group of friends who find themselves in trouble as a result of their misuse of alcohol.

The performance is followed by an interactive workshop where pupils will be invited to probe the cast on any of the issues brought up during the play and explore the consequences portrayed by the actors.

In addition to live performances, SMASHED also provides additional support for schools in delivering vital Personal, Social and Health Education, and offers a free online guide which supports parents
with discussions at home about underage drinking.

This is the first me SMASHED will be delivering live, in-person school performances since before the pandemic. During the pandemic, SMASHED pivoted operations to continue providing vital support to
schools with live-streamed, virtual performances from purpose-built studio spaces. The virtual sessions reached over 34,500 students during COVID-19 lockdowns.

SMASHED Online was also created during the first lockdown, a freely available online course which enabled schools to continue important PSHE learning remotely.

SMASHED playing a part in the decline in underage drinking

Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director Great Britain, Diageo said: “We’re proud to have supported SMASHED for over 15 years and to once again be bringing this impactful performance into schools up and down the country as we emerge from the pandemic.

“It’s encouraging to see the decline in underage drinking, and we hope that SMASHED continues to play a part in supporting this positive trend, and our target to educate 10 million young people, parents and
teachers on the dangers of underage drinking by 2030.”

The UK is making progress in reducing levels of underage drinking. According to an NHS Children’s Health survey, the number of children aged 8 to 15 that reported drinking alcohol fell from 45% in 2003 to 14% in 2017. However, there is still more work to be done. A study by the ONS showed that when 16–24-year-olds do drink, they are the most likely demographic to binge.

This is why SMASHED is targeting 12- to 14-year-olds – it prepares them to make informed decisions in the future as they reach this age group. Results from the latest SMASHED evaluation report have shown:

  • 95% of students said they were less likely to drink alcohol underage after taking part
  • 97% of students were able to correctly identify the legal age for buying alcohol after the workshop (a 16% increase in accuracy)
  • 85% of pupils demonstrated confidence in where to get help with alcohol related issues locally after the programme (a significant increase of 42%)
  • 96% of students understood the term ‘peer pressure’ after the session.

Chris Simes from Collingwood Learning said: “We’re thrilled that SMASHED is going live in UK schools, back by popular demand. There is a huge appetite for quality participative learning experiences for young people on vital social development issues as a result of the pandemic.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from schools and can’t wait to be touring the project to inspire young people to make safe choices and achieve their potential.”


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