Dover Youth Conference 2022
Dover District Council (DDC) is taking the lead in talking with the district’s young people about drugs and alcohol, and their impact on mental health.
The Dover District Youth Conference 2022 is running as a roadshow in nine different secondary schools in Dover, Deal and Sandwich from 23-27 May.
Inviting year eight students, the conference will host an IMPACT workshop (‘I’m making positive action choices today’). The session will convey essential and positive messages concerning mental health, exploitation, gangs, and county lines, as well as teaching young people how to become personally resilient in making positive choices.
Three guest speakers Nick Evans, Anne Lamb and Paul McKenzie from Youth Unity CIC will share their own powerful stories of addiction, homelessness, relationships, and grooming. It will give students the opportunity to reflect on information from people who have had first-hand experience.
There will also be supporting entertainment from young and local talented artists: singer Rudie Edwards and singer/MC for the week, Robbie McKewan.
Students will have a chance to browse stalls from Kooth, Early Help, Kent Police, and DDC’s Community Development Team, full of information to take away on topics that have been covered by the keynote speakers, plus other safety materials. Trained counsellors will also be on hand along with the schools’ own pastoral care teams.
Nick Evans, recovering addict and community substance misuse worker, said: “As an addict who is now in recovery, my passion now is supporting others who are going through similar experiences, and empowering all young people to make informed choices. I aim to reduce the stigma around addiction and show that people can change and turn their lives around. Most importantly, I talk about the importance of wellbeing and offer coping strategies to anyone who may need that extra help.”
Anne Lamb, a mentor, trainer and counsellor for consultancy ‘Out of the Shadows’, talks about the pressures of parenting a child who is struggling with their mental health. She said: “If I can help young people make the right choices by talking about my own experience, then I know that my time spent has been absolutely worth it.”
James Hensman, Head of Service for Youth Unity, said: “Our aim is to build resilience in our young people, by empowering them with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves from exploitation. We show them how popular culture and social media has so much influence on our daily lives, and discuss the language being used in songs and by influencers. We ask them what they know already, and we build on the conversation.”
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Ollie Richardson, said: “Our young people have experienced a lot of disruption and change over the last two years as a direct result of the pandemic. DDC is fully aware of the impact that this has had on their mental health and resilience. These workshops have been designed to raise awareness of drink and drugs, and to powerfully show how they can and should be avoided.”
Notes to editors:
Nick Evans is in recovery, and he works in the community supporting others. He has experienced addiction, criminality and homelessness and speaks from the heart about his own journey.
Anne Lamb trained in Restorative Practice in early 2016 and supported Margate Police’s weekly Restorative Clinics for a number of years. She developed a Family Liaison role across the Thanet Pupil Referral Units and worked closely and proactively with some of the most challenging students and families. Within ‘Out of the Shadows’ she is delivering presentations and bespoke workshops to professionals and students encouraging a wider understanding and knowledge of the ‘less understood’ issues young people are facing.
Youth Unity CIC is a “not for profit” organisation established to provide effective help and support to vulnerable young people and adults affected by group violence (gangs), drugs and other forms of exploitation such as human trafficking, CSE and extremism. Their mission is to help Prevent | Prepare | Protect for a future that is founded on more available choices and better-informed decisions. A formula they believe can offer an individual a greater start in life.
Rudie Edwards attended Astor secondary school before forging a successful music career abroad.
Robbie works as a Teaching Assistant for Brockhill School and is well known locally for his busking talent.
www.kooth.com online mental wellbeing community – free, safe, and anonymous support
www.talktofrank.com honest information about drugs