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It began as the Band of Hope in 1847 in Leeds, to teach and impress upon children the importance and principles of sobriety and teetotalism. In 1855, a national organisation was formed amidst an explosion of Band of Hope work. Meetings were held in churches throughout the UK and included Christian teaching.
Set up in an era when hard liquor was generally viewed as a necessity of life, next only to food and water, the Band of Hope and other temperance organisations fought to counteract the influence of pubs and brewers, with the specific intention of rescuing 'unfortunates' whose lives had been blighted by drink and teach complete abstinence.
Christians and Temperance Societies saw this as a way of providing activities for children that encouraged them to avoid alcohol problems. Alcohol-free premises were established, rallies, marches and demonstrations were mounted to oppose the evils of hard liquor that were attended by thousands of supporters, and coffee taverns were established to keep teetotalers on the straight and narrow path.
"Signing the pledge" was one of the innovative features. The pledge was a promise not to drink alcohol and millions of people signed up. There were also lectures that were illustrated by magic lantern, the technological equivalent to present day computerised PowerPoint displays, and noted personalities were invited to speak at public meetings in support of the cause. Guy Aldred, the boy preacher was an active propagandist for the Band of Hope, before focussing his activities on Anarchist-Communist politics.
The movement steadily grew to nearly 3,000,000 members by 1935. By the early 1950s, however, the temperance movement had all but succumbed to a changing society and cultural habits. Lack of support for the Band of Hope eventually brought about their transformation into Hope UK.
Hope UK remains concerned with children's welfare, giving greater priority to the development of resources and training for parents and children's workers of many kinds. They also attempt to persuade churches and other Christian organisations to include drugs awareness work within their programmes and play their part in helping to reduce the UK's alcohol and other drugs problems. By virtue of this work for the welfare and development of young people, Hope UK is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).
Hope UK is affiliated to the International Federation of the Blue Cross.
Hope UK does this by encouraging individuals – especially children and young people – to choose to make healthy choices about using substances. This is called "Primary Prevention]" because the aim is to stop drug use before it starts.
The majority of young people are not part of the illegal drug culture, although many more smoke and/or drink. Hope UK’s values lead to a strong emphasis on peer influence and role modelling. What each person does affects those around them. "Significant" adults like parents, children’s and youth leaders have an impact on children as they grow up by what they do and say.
There is debate about the effectiveness of prevention and there are no easy answers. Hope UK believes this makes it even more important to prevent harm by positive education which celebrates life and promotes good health. Individuals make their own choices and activities which help children and young people to improve their decision-making ability and knowledge are an essential part of "prevention".
There is no guarantee that any individual will always make a drug-free choice – after all, people drink, smoke or use illegal drugs for pleasure – but it is also right that children and young people should grow up in a world where they are given the opportunity to live their lives to the full.
Flexible training courses are available across the UK, ranging from short workshops to two-day Open College Network (OCN) accredited courses.
Hope UK’s Drug Educators undergo a 120-hour OCN accredited course to prepare them for leading drug awareness sessions and training courses. This course is also available for those who want to provide drug education as part of their own work. The two-day OCN-accredited Young People, Drugs and the Role of the Youth Worker course may also be adapted for anybody who works with young people.
Drug Prevention for Family Workers is a two-day course for those working in family centres or with parents. Children’s or Community Development workers will also find this course of benefit. Hope UK’s Christian foundation also enables its Educators to relate alcohol and drug prevention work to the activities of churches and Christian organisations.
Sessions for Church Workers include the application of faith principles to drug issues; Church drug policies and practice; and suggested action by churches for and with their communities. Hope UK’s Church Leaders’ Pack is also available as a paper resource. Hope UK works on a donation basis for churches and voluntary groups. For events lasting three hours or more, costs are negotiated on an individual basis. The standard cost for the two-day courses is £100 per individual if the venue and publicity is organised by a host organisation.
Accredited Courses available from Hope UK
- Young People, Drugs and the Role of the Youth Worker
- A two-day training course accredited by the London Open College Network (3 credits at level 3). Accreditation requires attendance at a 2-day training session, a portfolio of evidence and a written assignment.