The Oldham Athletic Community Trust team have recently held their annual week of action to engage with local school children in an attempt to highlight the dangers of gang crime, drugs and alcohol.
The event, titled ‘Make The Right Choice’, saw over 400 local secondary school children take part in a workshop with renowned public speaker Paul Hannaford.
It’s the second time in as many years that the event has been held with this year being the most successful to date.
The two day event saw Paul visit four schools which was followed by a larger event held at Queen Elizabeth Hall where several schools came together.
Each workshop saw Paul speak open and honestly about his life and the effects that in particular gang crime and drugs had on his life.
The graphic and shocking personal account of his life details vividly the consequences he still deals with on a daily basis in an attempt to highlight to others the dangers of the wrong choices.
The “Make The Right Choice” event comes as a result of a yearlong targeted project for OACT. Due to the support of First Choice Homes and the ROCA (Respect Our Communities Award) the team have been able to deliver an eight-week project titled “It`s Just Banter” to 400 school children across the year.
The project was a free initiative offered out to all Oldham secondary schools targeting specifically year 9 pupils. The project highlights the various lifestyle issues that young people face today and aims to educate and challenge their opinions and misconceptions on the subject.
Areas such as drugs/legal highs, alcohol and bullying are discussed and broken down into debates, group discussions and individual work.
OACT`s Education Officer Dale Harris commented “The two-day event rounds off what has been a really successful year for the trust in terms of our alternative provision.
“Through the ‘It’s Just Banter' project we have educated hundreds of young people on a variety of different issues that they do and will face in today’s modern world.
“By bringing Paul back to Oldham we want to shock young people to prevent them from making similar choices to Paul.
"We as a Community Trust really do care about Oldham and those people within its communities. We`re already planning for next years event in an attempt to make it even bigger and better.”
Oldham Athletic Community Trust would like to thank First Choice Homes, Oldham Council, GMP and also the secondary schools who attended the event for their support.