More needs to be done about Sidmouth’s drug and alcohol problems

Sidmouth view from Peak Hill. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref sidmouth view

Sidmouth view from Peak Hill. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref sidmouth view - Credit: Archant

Calls have been made for something to be done to tackle ‘serious’ drug and alcohol problems surrounding some of Sidmouth’s young people, and to improve awareness of substance abuse.

The lead community development worker for the town raised concerns at a meeting this week in the ‘aftermath’ of events, including the annual fair, which took place in the summer.

Aaron Clark, who works for East Devon District Council, said the that the matter was a ‘big issue’.

He said: “Everyone is whispering the same thing, about how serious the drug and alcohol issue is in Sidmouth in little pockets.”

Mr Clark called on the group to provide support for Sidmouth College and Manstone Youth Centre, which he said, along with the community, had asked if there was anything that could be done to raise drug and alcohol awareness.

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He added: “Clearly this is something that is bothering a lot of people and is quite a big issue.

“It’s coming up everywhere. I feel we need to do something about it and not wipe it under the carpet.

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“When you have the college, local youth club and the residents saying all the same thing, surely there is something going on.”

Mr Clark said he wanted to raise awareness through workshops and interactive sessions for young people and parents.

PCSO Steve Blanchford-Cox said he believed the problem was no different to that in any other coastal towns.

He added: “We have to research, we have to be careful and do things legally and we have to gather information. Although you might not see outwardly any work being carried out, I can assure you a lot of work is going on at present.”

James Ingham-Hill, co-principal of Sidmouth College, has backed the calls, vowing to offer additional support.

He said the college worked closely with a variety of outside agencies and was aware of local concerns regarding the misuse of drugs and alcohol in the community.

Mr Ingham-Hill added: “The college would welcome and fully support any further educational provisions that were offered by the Local Action Group.

“It is vitally important that we continue to work together to educate and safeguard the young people within our community.”

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