Drink and drugs dangers highlighted by Axminster pupils

Youngsters win award for their outstanding work on a health and wellbeing programme

HIGHLIGHTING the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse has won children at Axminster Community Primary School a special award.

They have been taking part in a county-wide healthy schools programme to promote wellbeing.

Almost 200 schools in Devon were given the opportunity to target which areas of health education best meets the needs of children and their families at their particular school.

Based on their own research, schools chose to focus their efforts on one of four key areas: preventing teenage pregnancy, tackling drug and alcohol misuse, maintaining a healthy weight and promoting physical activity, or improving emotional health and wellbeing.

Axminster Primary focused on tackling drug and alcohol misuse.

As a result of the programme teacher Ingrid Edginton, said: “Children in our target group say they now have a greater understanding of consequences of drug and alcohol misuse and know what is meant by peer pressure.”

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Last week NHS Devon held a special celebration event for the schools, like Axminster, whose work was identified as “outstanding”. They all received certificates in recognition of their achievement.

Dr Virginia Pearson, NHS Devon’s director of public health, congratulated the schools and said: “We want to ensure children across Devon get the best possible healthcare to meet their needs so I congratulate all the schools that took part in this programme.

“Any initiative which supports the physical and emotional wellbeing of young people and tackles health inequalities should be applauded and the improvements will not only have an enormous benefit to the child but also to the whole school community.

“This programme has given schools the chance to be creative in their choice of health interventions and we have had positive feedback from this, from parents and teachers alike.

“Schools will now build on the experience and good practice they gained during the programme so they can continue to improve the health of their children.”

Devon county council’s health spokeswoman Councillor Andrea Davis said: “Our healthy schools initiative has achieved incredible success, not only in addressing more immediate health-related risks but also in providing a life-long understanding of the benefits of healthy eating, exercise and emotional wellbeing.

“It is well documented that areas where incomes are lower are more prone to health problems and a lower mortality rate, and targeting communities in these areas should lead to greater health equality across the county.”