Safer Drinking with WY Police and the Ben Manning Foundation

Revellers in Wakefield were encouraged to stay safer on nights out this summer through a special event in memory of a popular teenager.

The Wakefield Neighbourhood Policing Team, Spectrum Community Health and the Ben Manning Music Foundation held a special awareness event with nightspots, including the Hop and Havana, to promote safe drinking in the town.

The NPT and Spectrum Community Health both deployed display vans in the town centre from 9pm on Monday July 30 to provide revellers with advice about the dangers of excess drinking together with tips on how to stay safe. Both the Havana and Hop offered promotions on soft drinks while band The Dukes of Bevington performed a free gig at the Hop itself.

As part of the drink awareness campaign young people from across the City were invited to make a pledge towards sensible drinking. Simple steps or pledges that students can take, which could help them to make the right decision when it comes to alcohol, include:

  • I won’t give in to peer pressure to drink
  • I will ask someone who knows if I’m not sure
  • I won’t accept a drink from someone I don’t know
  • I won’t drink just because my mates drink
  • I will think about my lifestyle
  • I will look after my friends

Sandra Wormald-McDade, Head of Alcohol & Wellbeing at Spectrum Community Health, said: “It’s great that we can work in partnership with West Yorkshire Police  to promote responsible drinking. We’ll be offering advice from our mobile unit where our team can confidentially answer any questions or concerns that people have when it comes to alcohol. We will be joined by a representative from the Ben Manning Charity and hope that lots of people will take one simple step towards sensible drinking.”

The evening was supported by Ben Manning Music Foundation, which was set up in memory of the music loving Wakefield teenager who went missing in the town following a night out in February 2011. The foundation itself raises money to help support young people to learn to play instruments and realise their potential.

PC Chris Schofield of the City NPT, said: “Monday nights in Wakefield are generally good natured and fun but what we want to do is encourage revellers to enjoy themselves but be aware of the dangers of going too far.

“We’ve been really pleased to work with Spectrum, the Ben Manning Music Foundation and the Hop and Havana to put this event together to help us just make students more aware of the dangers of excess drinking.

“I also want to thank the Dukes of Bevington for playing for us free of charge. We all know how much Ben enjoyed music and I’m sure he would appreciate the gesture.”

Adding that he wanted as many people to attend on Monday as possible, Chris said he intended for the night to be anything but a one off.

“We will look to stage more of these stay safer nights over the summer if we get a good response and would ask those attending to enjoy themselves safely. Our message quite simply, is if you are going out have a good time, look after your mates and if they are worse for wear look after them and help them get home.”

Lee Manning of the Ben Manning Foundation, said: “It is a great opportunity for the foundation to be included in an initiative of the Wakefield NPT. We welcome this move for a much safer student night life in Wakefield after what happened to my brother Ben and hope that what can be drawn from it is getting more younger people into the music arts.”

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