Kings Langley student wins photography competition launched to educate teenagers on negative impacts of Covid-19
'This Could Be Us’ photography competition, jointly launched by Kings Langley Secondary School and local charity Druglink
A 17-year-old student has won a photography competition launched to educate students on the rise of drug and alcohol use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ellie Jackson, a year 12 photography student, won ‘This Could Be Us’ - which was launched by Kings Langley Secondary and Druglink at the end of 2020 - to help educate local young people about the realities of the increase in harmful alcohol and other drug use throughout the pandemic.
The pandemic induced a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large.
Across the UK there have been severe psychological impacts, resulting in elevated rates of stress and anxiety. Levels of loneliness, depression, domestic violence, self-harm and suicidal behaviour have all risen – and along with these, a significant increase in harmful alcohol and other drug use.
The aim of the competition was to build awareness and educate students on how substance use can be part of your daily routine, and to demonstrate how easily it can become harmful when faced with unforeseen pressures.
James Tubb, learning area leader for arts, head of art/photography and teacher of business studies at Kings Langley School, said: “The Photography Department at Kings Langley School are incredibly pleased to be working with local charity Druglink on raising awareness of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Druglink contacted us to launch a photography competition to raise awareness of their work and to engage young people in the work that their organisation covers.
"To see the creative and mature response that our students had in answering the competition brief is a sign of how aware our students are of the impact that the pandemic has had on society.
“The winner, Ellie, has produced a series of engaging photograph images that communicates the brief perfectly.
"Ellie's work shows maturity and sophistication, providing a creative response in a non-stereotypical manner; something that the brief outlined.
"As a school, we look forward to developing our partnership with Druglink through engaging them in supporting the delivery of substance misuse education.
"This project is a perfect example of local organisations working together for the good of its community.”
This joint approach of local charities and schools working together is one of the most important ways to educate students, teachers and parents around important topics such as this.
Druglink is a substance misuse charity in Hertfordshire, the charity's objective is to change the future for people who are, or could be, affected by substance misuse.
Derek Heath, chief executive officer at Druglink said: “As a local substance misuse charity, one of our key aims is to educate young people.
"We believe that connecting with our local community - and working with them to break down the stigma of substance misuse and addiction - will open their eyes to the reality of the personal struggles so many people are going through, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Working alongside our local schools, such as Kings Langley Secondary, is one of the key ways to generate awareness.
"We hope that through the ‘This Could Be Us’ competition, students have had the chance to think and talk about their own feelings and experiences.
"Congratulations to our winner. Ellie’s work was fantastic and she managed to achieve beautiful images of a truly complex subject.
"She is a well-deserved winner and we look forward to using her photographs across our charity collateral.”