Next Steps to improving communities

POLICE are giving young people in Glasgow Choices for Life.

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Officers are working with African community group Next Steps to host an event aimed at cutting the use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes by teenagers.

At tomorrow's event, young people will explore the issues through sport, music, dance and debate.

Supt Jim Coubrough, Superintendent for Partnerships, said: "Young people need to be equipped with the facts about tobacco, alcohol and drugs so they can make their own informed, positive lifestyle choices and understand the consequences of substance misuse.

"Choices for Life is a fun, interactive way to find out more, and Police Scotland is delighted to be involved in this Choices for Life event in our local community."

The Choices for Life project works with children and young people across Scotland to discourage drinking and drug use.

Funded by the Scottish Government and backed by Young Scot, the scheme takes an educational approach to raising awareness among 11 to 18-year-olds.

Local businesses in Ibrox are getting involved and dozens of youngsters are expected on the day.

The Next Step Initiative in Broomloan Road, works to improve quality of life in deprived and less engaged African Communities in Scotland.

Beltus Ojong Etchu, CEO of Next Step Initiative, said: "Most often the debate on young people is centred on their behaviour. Frequently, young people are also victims of some adults' behaviour.

"The characterisation of youth is sometimes taken out of context without the full understanding of their common fears and the pressures we as a society and community present to them.

"There's an increase in youth violence attributed to alcohol abuse, smoking and drug abuse; but the question we will be asking is do the young people in our communities have any choice for life to avoid the damaging consequences caused by alcohol, smoking and drug taking?"

The day will last from 10am until 6pm and see youngsters play football and games, take part in dance sessions and an art competition.

The event is receiving backing from the Wheatley Group.

Maureen Dowden, Wheatley Group's Community Governance and Compliance Leader, said: "We always want to create opportunities for young people in our communities.

"The youth leadership event on alcohol, drug and tobacco will be a great chance for young people to discuss the issues that matter to them."

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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