Truth About Youth Conference
An event that showcases the exciting and
innovative work produced by young people, to promote positive
messages to their fellow peers, takes place at the University of
Bedfordshire, on 16th September at 10am – 4pm. The
messages will be used to combat risky behaviours such as illegal
drugs, alcohol, knife crime, bullying and under age sex.
There will be 150 delegates there on the day,
from all over the country. Professor Wesley Perkins from the United
States, an internationally acclaimed expert in the research behind
Social Norms, for over 20 years, is to be the key note speaker.
Three of the eight workshops are to be delivered by Bedford Borough
Schools involved in the research project. Feedback from the event
will be used to promote positive messages to the young people
within the community. Using social norms approaches, young people
will be encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices. The event
will also highlight misperceptions about the number of young people
engaging in risky behaviours, showing them as more responsible than
many would perhaps think.
Findings from an initial pilot project in
2007, investigating if such an approach could be used effectively
in schools, proved extremely encouraging in contributing to the
reduction of teenage pregnancy and other risky behaviours.
Cllr David Sawyer, Portfolio Holder for
Children’s Services, at Bedford Borough Council, said:
“Communicating with young people, in their language, is so
important when approaching the subject of how to avoid risky
behaviours. The conference will go on to capture how young people
feel they are perceived by the local community? And whether they
feel they are supported sufficiently, in all aspects of their
Delegates will also have the opportunity to
gain an insight into the use of modern technology, through social
marketing, and share ideas for extending this work into the wider
community and beyond.