Wolverhampton B-Safe Team learn about alcohol and experience what it’s like to be drunk

On 2nd June 2015 The B-Safe Team met for a session at Stanford House, Shaw Park. 12 young people aged 11-15 attended with Raymond Codner, Hansa Clay and Amelia Chalak from the HeadStart team.

Recently The B-Safe Team expressed concerns around alcohol, so we took the opportunity to deliver a few activities covering the effects of drinking. The session started off with a few questions, such as ‘Who has had Alcohol?’ and ‘When did you have it?’ Around 90% of the B-Safe team had tried alcohol, but only at special occasions, where their parents were present.

What did the children know about alcohol?

The children were able to name around 17 different types of alcoholic drinks, and described why people might start to drink. Some motivations for drinking included peer pressure, Dutch courage, stress relief, rebellion, to have fun, and just because they can.

Did you know that the legal age children can drink alcohol is 5 years old?

The team were shocked about that too! They thought it was around 11 years old. At home parents are allowed to give their children sips of alcohol from 5 years old, giving them the control to introduce their children to alcohol as they see fit. 

Simulating intoxication

In the next part of the session, the children got a chance to see what it was like to be drunk, including the short term effects. They did this not by drinking, but by wearing different types of goggles, night-time and day-time. They were able to see what it would look like after having around 4 pints of lager. To make this a little more interesting, we then set up three different activities to try, whilst being ‘drunk’. In the first they had to walk in a straight line that had been marked on the floor without losing balance. In the second they had to attempt to tie their shoelaces, as well as catch a ball and read an eye test. In the third activity, they had to play a game of bowling.

The young people responded well to all three activities and found it both amusing and interesting. These were just simple activities, that would be easy for a person who had not been drinking, but with the added alcohol, and what it would look like, the children felt it was a challenge. We feel it was a real eye opener to the team. When we asked what they would come away from the session with, most people said they would not drink, but of course as soon as they turn 18, it’s what they will want to do. The HeadStart team reassured them that this was ok, but make sure they were sensible and not alone.

Overall the session was a success, and the children had fun around a quite dangerous and serious subject and came away knowing they had to be very careful.

Key links and information 

Here are some key links to alcohol resources in the UK.

Written by Amelia Chalak, HeadStart Apprentice