Schoolchildren in West Cumbria are getting alcohol from family members, according to a recent survey.

Workington’s Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) asked 308 schoolchildren about their use of alcohol and vapes.

The survey was carried out among pupils aged 13 to 16 at Workington Academy, St Joseph’s Catholic High School and Energy Coast University Technical College.

The survey results were a cause for concern, Emma Thompson – senior manager of community safety and resilience at Cumberland Council – said.

“When asked where they usually obtained alcohol, of the 205 people who answered, 194 said parents or other relatives were a source of alcohol.

“We have an opportunity to support and educate families on the risks of alcohol-related harm in children and raise awareness of the impact on their health and wellbeing,” Mrs Thompson said.

The children were also asked whether, in the last four weeks, anything negative had happened to them when they had been drinking – like getting in an argument, losing something valuable, engaging in sexual activity they later regretted, or putting themselves in a risky situation.

Mrs Thompson said: “Concerningly, out of 201 people who answered this, eight had been taken to hospital, 10 had missed school, 12 had got into trouble with the police, and 18 had been involved in sexual activity they had regretted the next day.

“Although around 69 per cent of respondents said they hadn’t suffered any negative consequences, this still means too many children are putting themselves in situations that are far from safe – this behaviour is exposing children to unnecessary risk."

The survey also asked whether the young people had vaped. Of the 290 children who responded, 133 said they had vaped, half of which at least five times a day.

CADAS (Cumbria Addictions Advice and Solutions) will offer support and information during the Workington Lights Switch-on event on November 25.

There will be games, quizzes and information to take away - all designed to help children and parents understand alcohol-related harms.

Mrs Thompson said: "We are also giving schools lots of resources to tackle this issue, and our PCSOs will be visiting schools too.

“We will be reaching parents directly through school events and we can also signpost them to online resources."