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Creative Health

Using film and theatre to support children to ask people to keep smoke away from them

What We Do

Creative Health has worked for five years with Dudley Public Health in the West Midlands to develop a Smokefree Homes programme. A team of artists worked with parents who smoke to develop positive, thought-provoking products including a magazine and height chart which health professionals now use to nurture relationships with families.

Year 5 and 6 pupils at local primary schools worked with a writer, filmmaker and actors to create Straight Talking, a film about Jenny, a girl with a mission to make her home smokefree. It now tours as part of a facilitated workshop to 51 primary schools in Dudley and Wolverhampton every year.

The project was evaluated by Staffordshire University to develop a bespoke framework. Straight Talking contributes to the following outcomes. Children can: express health dangers of smoking and of second-hand smoke; identify strategies to avoid smoke; raise issues and appropriately ask a smoker not to smoke around them; influence someone to either stop smoking around them, or stop completely. Creative Health has capacity to support or roll out the programme to other areas.

Straight Talking is an excellent way to engage and involve children. Creative Health visits a sample of the schools three months after the performance to evaluate the work and assess how children have met the programme outcomes. In one sample of 100 children, 37 reported a positive influence on someone’s smoking.

Ruth Olding, Programme Manager, Dudley Office of Public Health

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