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Celebrate well, celebrate safely, mates

The festive season is traditionally a time when young Australians get together for some down time – marking the end of a busy year and relaxing before they start the next.

It’s also a time to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with family and friends, which means plenty of eating, drinking and socialising

For 11 years Youth Solutions, a Macarthur based health promotion and youth drug and alcohol prevention charity, has been the flag bearer for the message that safety goes hand in hand with celebrating.

This morning Youth Solutions chief executive Geraldine Dean launched another Christmas campaign with the same message for local young people: celebrate but don’t forget safety.

The #MatesKeepItSafe campaign targets young adults aged between 18 and 25 years and encourages them to take positive steps to keep themselves and their mates safe around alcohol.

Some of those steps include drinking water between alcoholic drinks, eating before drinking, respecting each other’s limits, not drinking and driving and being mindful of the consequences of posting photos on social media from a big night out.

The safety messages are contained in a cleaver video specifically aimed at young people.

These messages are shown on video using modern forms of communication, including swiping on iphones and pads.

Celebrate safely, mates: the Youth Solutions team at the campaign launch this morning. Chief executive Gerladine Dean is second from the right at the back.

Mrs Dean said it had become clear from previous campaign survey findings that this year’s campaign needed to focus on fostering a positive, safer celebrating environment among youth peer groups.

“The results from our last campaign showed the power of peer influence on youth alcohol behaviours, with 74 percent of young people acknowledging they would drink the most alcohol when they were with their friends,” Mrs Dean said.

“We hope that by engaging with young people in the community and promoting safe celebrating we can encourage young people to look after themselves and their peers and to take steps to prevent alcohol-related harm.”

Campaign sponsor Campbelltown Catholic Club will provide free soft drink to all sober designated drivers on Friday and Saturday nights throughout December and January.

The Youth Solutions team will also host a series of community stalls and activities and will use social media to bring the campaign’s messages to life.

Check out the video for this year’s campaign here.

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