Booze warning DVD wins prize for teens

A GROUP of teenagers have won an award for writing and starring in their own short film highlighting the dangers of young people drinking.

Six girls who attend Brinkburn Youth Centre, which is off Blakelock Road in Hartlepool, have been rewarded in the High Sheriff of Durham Young People’s Awards for their DVD called A Hard Life.

The girls, Sophie Dinsdale, 15, Fallon Hewitt, 17, Kendal Hewitt, 16, Christy Hall, 16, Danielle Richardson, 16, and 16-year-old Amylee Normanton, won the Make a Difference in Your Community category and will receive their award at Durham Castle tonight.

The inspiration for the DVD came from the girls’ experiences of young people drinking alcohol over the summer months last year.

They approached bosses at the youth centre with the idea of creating a DVD to highlight the dangers and pitfalls of drinking alcohol on the streets and what the consequences can be.

The 10-minute film also highlights the importance of young people staying together, and not going off by themselves.

Derek Minton, project leader at the Hartlepool Borough Council-run centre, said: “The girls approached me and explained what was happening and we decided to produce the DVD to help get the message across to other young people.

“Funding was sought from the Youth Opportunity Fund through Hartlepool Grant Givers and Nichola McIntosh, an arts project co-ordinator, came on board to work alongside the girls.

“They worked together on script writing, acting, character building and the differences between acting in theatre and film, while I worked with the girls on things such as self-esteem, relationships and personal safety.

“It is a tremendous accolade to win such a prestigious award and I’m really proud of the girls.

“Hopefully many people will learn from the DVD and protect themselves from the threat of alcohol in the future.

“I’d also like to thank the people who helped to make the DVD possible, particularly Nichola McIntosh, Sandy Hanson from Dyke House Technology School, Avanticom and Sergeant Dave Halliday of Cleveland Police.”

Sophie, who lives in the Rift House area of town and goes to High Tunstall College of Science, said: “We thought it was important to make this DVD to warn other young people about the dangers of drinking alcohol.”

Kendal, who lives in the Stranton area of town and goes to Dyke House Sports and Technology College, added: “We would all like to thank Nichola McIntosh, Derek and our schools for letting us have the time off to film.

“We were amazed to find out we had won an award.”

For their efforts, the girls will receive a certificate, as well as a cheque for £100 which will be ploughed back into the youth club.

Forty copies of the DVD have been produced and they will be sent to all of the town’s secondary schools and a range of other youth projects in town.