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HURT and NWRC partnership delivers new course on alcohol and drug related harm

25 January 2017
NWRC and HURT Partnership
An innovative, interactive, online course aimed at educating young people about the dangers of alcohol and drug related harm, is to be rolled out in post primary schools across the North West. The programme, which is a joint venture between local charity HURT (Have Your Tomorrows), and North West Regional College (NWRC) has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Invest N.I. and was officially launched by the Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Jim McKeever, earlier this week. During the launch at NWRC, teachers and educational professionals from across the North West were given an opportunity to try out the new programme, which includes an educational A-Z drug index for 11-13 year olds and an OCN Level 1 accredited course aimed at those aged between 14 and 16.Centre manager of HURT, Dessie Kyle, explained that the charity has spent the past four years delivering their Empowering Young People Programme where staff have worked in the heart of schools, colleges and community youth programmes raising awareness around the impact and dangers of substance misuse on the individual, family members and communities. He added: “Last year HURT co-ordinator Sadie O’Reilly and I approached NWRC and met Dr. Fergal Tuffy from the Business Support Centre with a proposal to develop an online programme. HURT management and staff felt that the way forward was to develop an interactive programme as a form of learning. “From our first meeting with the college it was clear that the staff there were as passionate about the programmes as we were in HURT. The programme has now been piloted with very positive feedback and we are now hoping to roll it out over the next couple of months in the North West. “However it will not stop there, the online nature of the programme means that we are not confined to the geographical areas we have been working in in the past. The scope of this programme is limitless.” Sonya Conlon, Lead Learning Content Developer with NWRC said: “As a college we acknowledge that we have a role to play, not only in education but in the wider sector. “The college’s Technology Enhanced Learning team brought its experience of developing online learning, along with HURT’s knowledge of this field, to produce the course. “We took a course that is delivered in the classroom, we redesigned it, we made it portable and we put it into the learning platform Moodle with interactive learning resources and high quality visuals. “The course is one that can delivered in class, online or a mix of these. “Young people are guided through the various resources by ‘Miss Hurt’ who takes them through the learning content as they progress through the materials and undertake the assignments that lead to the qualification. “The course is so accessible that it can be picked up from anywhere – a tablet, IPAD, laptop or phone. “It has already been piloted in St Joseph’s Boys School with very positive feedback from pupils and teachers. “ Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane Jim McKeever, who launched the programme said: “The launch of this course is particularly important in today’s climate where funding and resources are becoming more scarce. “We know that alcohol and drugs and misuse remain a significant challenge for our city and district and I welcome programmes like this to educate our young people on the danger of substance misuse.” Ahead of the official launch Minister for Health Michelle O’Neill paid a visit to HURT’s community-based addiction treatment centre at their Clarendon Street premises in Derry~Londonderry where she met staff and volunteers and gave her support to the project.She said: “Organisations like HURT offer vital help to those individuals and families impacted by alcohol and drug misuse. It is clear that substance misuse poses a serious public health challenge. Alcohol misuse alone costs our society up to £900 million every year, and if we were to add in the costs of drug misuse, I have no doubt this would take us over £1 billion. However, these figures can never describe the true human cost that substance misuse has on our society. “I’m particularly impressed by the prevention and early intervention work that HURT carries out and it’s great to see that being strengthened with the new service. These programmes will help increase young people’s knowledge and understanding around different substances, empowering them to make healthier choices. If more people are aware of the dangers of alcohol and drugs and are also able to get help earlier, the better off we will be. I commend HURT on their work and wish them every success in the future.’” To find out more information on the course please contact HURT on 71369696

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