PA’s Alcohol Strategy prepares for focus group

By James Bowler
January 8, 2014 - 4:24pm

paNOW Staff

A community initiative in Prince Albert will take a major step forward after today towards becoming a reality.

The Alcohol Strategy, which has been slowly coming together with the help of the HUB and COR services and their attributed organizations, will move into its focus group meetings this month.

Wednesday stakeholders from various community organizations such as Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR), Prince Albert Police Service, Victim Services, Prince Albert Police Commissioners Board, and even city councillors met to learn the current amount of information collected outlining alcohol-related concerns and offences in and around Prince Albert. This information will be presented during the upcoming focus groups to help with the planning stages of the Alcohol Strategy.

Some of the issues outlined in the meeting today concerned the jump in underage drinking, the amount of hours and money spent by police on strictly public intoxication issues and alcohol purchases and offenses in relation to other cities in the province.

Later this month focus groups will be pulled together to discuss these topics and come up with plausible solutions that will benefit the community.

Lydia Franc-Beaurivage, manager of primary healthcare for the PAPHR, will be facilitating the focus groups.

“I’m going to be leading the process to help them build a vision, identify the obstacles and the strategic directions or priorities for moving the alcohol strategy forward,” said Franc-Beaurivage. “We’re inviting a variety of people to each of the focus groups, as many as want to participate and up to 30 per focus group.”

Franc-Beaurivage said while an alcohol strategy plan is important, it’s equally important to keep the community involved in the planning of it.

“Without having the community involved, it’s not likely that a strategy would likely make any difference in terms of an actual plan,” said Franc-Beaurivage. “So it’s important to involve as many people as possible. So we’re going to look at building a community voice around what is a vision and what are the priorities in terms of moving forward.”

She said the more people that become involved the more likely it is they will be active in carrying out this plan in the community.

Franc-Beaurivage brings years of experience and education when it comes to facilitating focus groups like these.

“I’m a professional facilitator trained through the Institute of Cultural Affairs out of Toronto,” said Franc-Beaurivage. “Within the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region I’m also the primary healthcare facilitator.”

The focus groups will begin at the end of January and run through February, according to Lisa Simonson with the Prince Albert Police Service and Community Mobilization/HUB services, and then two or three individuals from each focus group will be pulled for a plenary session to help with the final planning stages including obstacles and strategic direction.

The five focus groups will be made up of 25 individuals for each group that represent various parts of the community.

A report will be released to the public, which will be available for any community members to add to at additional meetings.

paNOW will closely cover all stages of the planning and implementation of this Alcohol Strategy.

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