3.00 AM Saturday 28 May 2016

Every school in rural Dorset to get 'Blitzed'

This year, for the first time, every rural school in Dorset will be visited by the award winning Blitz project.

From left to right: Ferndown Central Safer Neighbourhood Officer, PCSO Chantelle Gosney with Year 9 pupils from Ferndown Upper School; Safe Schools and Communities Officer Rachel DibbenBlitz is a multi-agency initiative between Dorset Police, Dorset Safe Schools and Communities Team (SSCT), Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Shadows, Dorset Primary Care Trust, Dorset Trading Standards and Soloman Associates.

The project was launched in November 2007 with the aim to inform and educate young people about the consequences of, and risks associated with drinking alcohol.

Alcohol-related crime in Dorset County has gone down by two per cent since the launch. This equates to 437 fewer crimes in 2008/09 compared with 2007/08.

Each day-long off-curriculum Blitz event involves a live theatre performance called ‘Last Orders’ performed by Soloman Productions. Pupils also take part in alcohol and anti-social behaviour workshops and various interactive activities including the use of ‘beer goggles’, where they can experience the sensation of being drunk.

The Safe Schools and Communities Team from Dorset Police delivers a workshop which looks at anti-social behaviour and underage drinking. This workshop is aimed at providing young people with diversion strategies that they can use to remove themselves from a number of high-risk situations.

Dorset Police officers are featured in the workshops, along representatives from partner organisations such as Dorset Fire & Rescue Service – focusing on hoax calls and arson - and Shadows, Dorset’s confidential drug and alcohol service for under 18s.

 

Since 2007, a total of 28 secondary schools (which equates to more than 5,700 year nine pupils in rural Dorset) have benefited from the special workshops and theatre production.

This year, during November and December 2009, 21 schools in Dorset County division (which includes Weymouth, Portland, Beaminster, Dorchester, Sherborne, Christchurch, Sturminster Newton, Ferndown, Shaftesbury, Wimborne and Purbeck) have signed up to receive a visit from the Blitz team.

Safe Schools and Communities Officer, Geoff Calloway, who is based in Weymouth, said: “Education is the key when getting important messages across. Blitz is fast becoming one of the key events in the school calendar.

“The idea of the day is to make it fun and informative and hopefully, young people will go home with a new found understanding of the dangers and risks involved with drinking alcohol.

“Always drink responsibly and consider the consequences for you and your family and friends.”

Linzi Holt, Prevention Policy Manager at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Arson and hoax calls are a recognised form of anti-social behaviour and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service deal with these types of incidents on a regular basis.

The Official Blitz logo“By helping to deliver Blitz we are able to educate and influence the young people of Dorset into the consequences of alcohol related incidents and give them the opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of their own or their friends behaviour.

“Blitz allows students to address issues in a constructive way with external facilitators, such as Firefighters, thus supporting the Citizenship element of the National Curriculum."

A new website has been set up for students and teachers interested in Blitz. This guide lists all the organisations, businesses and companies which offer discounts as part of the scheme.

For more information, visit http://www.blitzdorset.org.uk/