ART and design students are helping police with a project that could help keep revellers safe when lockdown is finally lifted.

Durham Police has approached Darlington College for the third time in recent years to design a hard-hitting publicity campaign aimed at keeping everyone safe in the night time economy, which will be particularly relevant as it re-emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.

In the past, college students have produced awareness raising posters to tackle issues such as psychoactive substances and illegal tobacco, the material being displayed on bus shelters throughout Darlington still today.

The latest initiative was commissioned by Sarah Norman, Durham Police’s drug intervention co-ordinator.

She said: “The idea behind the latest initiative is to make young people aware of some of dangers and consequences associated with a ‘night out’. For that reason we have made the students’ brief as broad as possible covering any means to keep young people safe, whether that is when they go to the pub, nightclubs, or parties, or how to get home safely walking alone.

“The campaigns are so effective because this is peer-led education. Students are best placed to come up with the ideas because they know what is going on in their lives and among their peers. It is fantastic too that they can see their images displayed in the local community and they can see first-hand how their hard work is making a difference and reducing harm.

“Another idea was to look at the use of nitrous oxide among young people and highlight some of the dangers associated with it. Students also might want to look into the consequences of drugs or excess alcohol. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with and I know from previous experience the quality will be high.”

Year 2 UAL Extended Diploma art and design students were sent a video brief on the project by Sarah and have since been in touch with her by email. They also hope to arrange a Teams video conference meeting to discuss the project further as they move towards a deadline of the end of February.

Darlington College lecturer Pippa Eeles said: “We have such a good working relationship with Durham Police and their projects give our students an incredible insight into working life. Their work has to be of the highest quality as the client is real and they have to work to professional deadlines, which is fantastic experience.

“They then have the added thrill of seeing their work in the community, which helps them build a professional portfolio, and the knowledge that their designs might lead to keeping someone safe from harm.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.