Students and staff at the University of Lincoln have joined forces with Lincolnshire’s health organisations to raise drugs awareness in the region.
The Department of Health drugs project for Lincolnshire, www.ok-now.net, is the first project of its kind in the East Midlands to have been awarded £120,000 by the Government to encourage young people to resist taking drugs or to kick the habit. It is also the first project which tackles drug use in a rural community using new technology.
“Several pilot projects have been carried out in cities such as Manchester but this is the first time in a rural county,” commented Tony McGinty, Director of Healthy Communities – a joint project with Lincolnshire County Council and the NHS.
In order to involve the project’s target audience of 18 – 25 year olds the Lincolnshire project partners approached the university to set up a steering group with students studying Marketing and Public Relations.
The steering group members include project manager Matt Doyle, Deborah Bowyer, corporate communications manager at Lincolnshire Health Authority, Tony McGinty, Director of Healthy Communities, David Gannon, senior lecturer in Marketing and PR at the university, and PR students Carly Smith and Lorna Campbell-Cassidy.
Planning of the campaign is well under way for the launch date in April 2002 and will involve university focus groups, the launch of a new website and outreach work with schools and colleges.
David Gannon commented: “It’s important to get our PR and marketing students involved with real community projects as it benefits them as well as the community. Students are important in a campaign like this as they are able to identify with the target audience and know which methods of communication will have the most impact.”
Deborah Bowyer added: “This is an exciting and innovative project and we are delighted to be working with the University of Lincoln and their students.
“Ultimately the decisions we make and how the project is developed will have an impact on the lives of young people in this age group, so it is important that we involve them in the project. Working in partnership with other organisations like the university is beneficial to everyone and can help to contribute significantly to improvements in health countywide.”
For more information contact:
Caroline Hardiman, Deborah Bowyer
Press Officer, University of Lincoln Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: 01522 886042 Lincolnshire Health Authority Tel: 01522 515391