A multi-agency partnership aimed at the prevention and reduction of harm from substance misuse among children and young people in Ceredigion has been launched.

The Harm Reduction and Prevention Partnership first met in April 2017 but is now being formally launched to coincide with Safeguarding Week (12 to 16 November).

The Partnership brings together senior personnel from a range of agencies and interested parties to ensure co-ordinated and consistent approach to harm reduction and prevention within the county.

The work of the Partnership builds upon the excellent SchoolBeat.Cymru programme. It includes promoting awareness of existing Harm Reduction and Prevention provision, universal and targeted work within schools, colleges and clubs, developing a flowchart for partners to respond to substance misuse incidents, and sharing the most recent information on existing and emerging trends and dangers.

Barry Rees, Chair of the Harm Reduction and Prevention Partnership and Corporate Director for Ceredigion County Council said, “There is a concern that children and young people in Ceredigion are becoming increasingly vulnerable to significant harm in relation to substance misuse and associated activities. We must face the fact that there are substance misuse issues within the county, including in our schools and other education providers, as well as in the wider community. Therefore this Partnership brings together key partners to work proactively, openly and visibly on prevention and harm reduction.

“Within the Partnership, information is shared on existing harm reduction strategies and how they can be drawn together into a combined, multi-agency strategy. Initially, the Partnership has focused on the Aberystwyth area but its scope will expand to include the whole of the Ceredigion.”

Agencies currently include Ceredigion County Council, Coleg Ceredigion, Dyfed Powys Police, Penglais Comprehensive School, Dual Diagnosis Substance Use, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig, Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training, Chair of the Aberystwyth Area Schools and the Voluntary Sector.

Chief Inspector Nicola Carter of Dyfed Powys Police said, “This Partnership has been developed to bring together the most recent and relevant expertise to ensure that we work collaboratively to prevent and reduce the harm of drugs and other substances within Ceredigion. We will ensure that our Schools Liaison Officers and Neighbourhood Policing Teams work with partners and other agencies across Ceredigion to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our young people.”

The Partnership will provide updates on its activities to other relevant Boards and Forums such as the Ceredigion Community Safety Partnership, Ceredigion Children and Young People Executive Group, Ceredigion Youth Justice Board, CYSUR Local Operational Group (Ceredigion), Ceredigion Youth Council, Dyfed Substance Misuse Area Planning Board and the Mid and West Wales Regional Safeguarding Board.