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Substance Misuse

Peer-led projects to raise awareness of the dangers of substance misuse is the reason Urban Heard exists as it was our first ever pilot back in 2014. Since then each project has excelled previous targets and smashed each years targets and expectations.


Most importantly we have employed over 50 young people to deliver this project alone in the past 3 years across Birmingham and Solihull. Using our 3 staged model we provided workshops, recruited and trained 14 - 17yr olds to be Peer Project Managers and supported them to create innovative and creative campaigns that were then delivered in their community. This project has always had a finale event which is a large scale event where the young people invite their peers in the community to socialise through different means such as film premieres, club events, open mic and local talent exhibitions. 

Case study 1: Addiction Solihull 2016-17

This year (2016-2017), we have focused on addiction as a whole with both our Solihull and Birmingham young people. We focus on raising awareness of 'chasing the high' and dangers of when a bit of fun can lead to being trapped in addiction. Both groups tackled the subject differently with the Solihull groups focusing on chasing ht high and the Birmingham group focusing on the restraint that addiction can put on a person.   

Solihull Outcomes 2016-2017 so far:


  • Percentage of YP that stated that they agreed or strongly agreed increase learning about:

                 •91% alcohol

                 •80% Cannabis

                 •86% Legal highs

  • 74% felt more confident and increased knowledge in how to say no to illegal substances

  • 500 measurable engagements (from the number of goody bags given out)

  • 4 successful events across Solihull engaging and raising awareness with hundreds who didn’t take goody bags.

  • ‘Addictionary’ intervention worked really well in getting people engaged and they then got their friends/family to engage to in order to play the game.

  • Interactive quiz with spinning wheel got people thinking.

Over 2000 people engaged in the community with a parents evening, animated film and finale event still to come!  

Peer-led market research to shape their campaign & gain greater understanding of local issues:

  • Participants aged 10-18yrs from Solihull

  • Shared purely through social media by PPMs

  • Stated most common drug used is Alcohol and cannabis

  • Age 1st exposed to drugs:

  • 25% stated 10-12yrs,

  • 56% 13-15yrs

  • 35% stated social media as a negative influence with 59% saying both pos & neg.

Case Study 2: Cannabis Birmingham 2016


  • All 6 PPM's continued to the end of the project with one who continued working with us on a summer placement.

  • Over 1500 young people of the community engaged

  • 50+ young people aged 16-18yrs attended finale event with 3 acts performing on open mic

  • Percentage of YP that stated that they agreed or strongly agreed increase learning about:

                 •88% alcohol

                 •81% Cannibis

                 •87% Legal highs

The peer-led social media surveys the PPM conducted found out really insightful market research about young people aged 13-20yrs in Birmingham and their Cannabis habits/knowledge:

  • 48% surveyed smoked cannabis with 67% who said they didn't stating that they will or have tried it.​​

  • only 14% understood the munchies and 14% the link to weight gain/loss

  • Those surveyed smoked between 1 spliff a week to £10 worth a day

  • 52% didn't think it was addictive

  • They would stop if it was harder to get (16%) and if they knew more about the effects (26%)

In 2016, we worked with 6 young females from across Birmingham to develop a campaign based on the substance they thought was most widely used by young people in the city -Cannabis. One of the most controversial and emotion provoking campaigns we do as people feel very strongly either for or against cannabis, with some emotional stories supporting both sides of the argument. The Peer Project managers were trained how to deal with difficult public engagements and were fantastic at their community event, whilst also working very hard to organise and design an open mic night with a guest star -Jay Silva!  

Other substance misuse projects using our model:

substance misuse 09

substance misuse 09

6x YP employed from Birmingham who arranged 4 school events, 2 community events and a big finale talent showcase event. Over 2000 engaged!

substance misuse 10

substance misuse 10

5x PPM created campaign and engaged with just over 1000 people

substance misuse 11

substance misuse 11

4 outreach events, 5x PPM and engaged with over 1000 people of the community.

substance misuse 12

substance misuse 12

5x PPM delivered their campaign and interventions about New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) across 4 community events & finale nightclub with a total of 1500+ event with dance battles

substance misuse 13

substance misuse 13

5x PPM's employed with real attitudes changed within the group about cannabis and some great engagements in the community. Finale event a great success with a total 1500+ engaged

substance misuse 14

substance misuse 14

Pilot year with the 1st ever group of 10x PPM smashing all targets and expectations! Flashmob in Solihull town center and a fantastic campaign with over 2500 engaged

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