A HORSHAM program aimed to reduce alcohol consumption in young people has been recognised at a state-wide level.
Horsham Rural City Council's Youth CAN (Changing Alcohol Norms) Project is a finalist at the 2019 VicHealth Awards in the preventing harm from alcohol category.
The VicHealth Awards are the state's highest accolade for health promotion.
Youth CAN was established in 2017 to assess alcohol culture in the Wimmera and identify potential ways to reduce alcohol consumption for young people in the Wimmera.
The project officially ended in July after the inaugural Youth Fest at Horsham's Sawyer Park.
The council's youth services planning and engagement officer Annie Mintern said the nomination was recognition for efforts of the young Wimmera residents who were involved in the project.
"The Wimmera's young people have genuinely bought into this program and have been fantastic to work with. It's certainly nice to have their enthusiasm recognised," she said.
She said the aim of the project was to collect data on young people's perceptions of alcohol, especially regarding peer pressure.
"We did a survey at the start and at the end of the project. The questions were all about what peer pressures they faced or put on others regarding drinking alcohol under age," she said.
"Every questions had some level of improvement from the start of the project and we saw a shift on their thinking around alcohol consumption."
Initiatives of the project included support groups, theatre programs, sport tournaments and youth focused events.
Ms Mintern said the project also helped implement alcohol education into school curriculum at Horsham College and St Brigid's College.
"The Youth CAN project prompted the council to create a youth strategy (which was was adopted in August)," she said.
"Now we have formed the council's first Youth Council which is made up of 20 people aged 12 to 25."
The other nominees in the category are:
- Connecting Diversity - IndianCare Inc. together with The Alcohol and Drug Foundation
- Deakin University Alcohol Culture Change Project - Deakin University
- Who's it Gonna Hurt? - Wodonga Council, together with Dutch Media, and Deakin University
- YARD - City of Whittlesea, together with Youth Support and Advocacy Services, Monash University, and Turning Point
The awards will be announced December 3.
Data from the 2016 census showed there were 3877 people aged between 10 and 24 living in the Horsham municipality. This was up from 3729 in 2011.
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