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Bid to prevent binge drinking

Youngsters enjoy a safe environment at the regular Friday night gathering at the Youth Activity Centre in Byron Bay last night. The centre is run by the Byron Youth Service, which this week received a $250,000 grant from the FederalGovernment for a project to reverse the culture of binge drinking among young people.
Youngsters enjoy a safe environment at the regular Friday night gathering at the Youth Activity Centre in Byron Bay last night. The centre is run by the Byron Youth Service, which this week received a $250,000 grant from the FederalGovernment for a project to reverse the culture of binge drinking among young people. Digby Hildreth

TEENAGERS on the Northern Rivers will be helped to avoid the dangers of binge drinking, thanks to a $250,000 grant to Byron Youth Service.

The money will be used to try to turn around the culture of alcohol abuse in youngpeople in Byron Bay andsurrounding towns.

Nicqui Yazdi, team leader of the Byron Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative, said she was thrilled at the grant.

The money would help fund Project U-Turn, a BYS program to reverse youth binge drinking, she said.

“The two-year project will involve creating education programs aimed at youngpeople and their parents.

“We will be looking at using interesting technology, and will use young people to help design the programs,” Ms Yazdi said.

It will be mainly based in Byron Bay but will also include the ‘feeder’ towns on the coast, such as Brunswick Heads, Ballina and Mullumbimby. Tourism operators and business interests will also be invited to participate.

The project will aim at those aged between 12 and 25.

A pre-emptive approach will be taken with young people between 12 and 15.

Harm-minimisation techniques will be taught to older schoolchildren, who will likely already have been exposed to binge drinking, including learning they have the power to say ‘no’, peer-to-peer education, and awareness of the harm that alcohol can have on developing brains.

Nicola Roxon, the Federal Health and Aging Minister, announced the grant on Thursday. It was one of 19nationwide grants totalling more than $3.5 million, part of the Government’s $53 million binge drinking strategy.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said the national statistics on alcohol were ‘horrifying’.

“Four Australians under-25 die due to alcohol-related injuries in an average week,” she said.

BINGE BUSTERS

$250,000 to the Byron Youth Service for Project U-Turn

$249,967 to St Joseph’s Youth Service in Tweed Heads for CoolHeads

$149,727 to the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House in South Grafton



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