A NEW scheme to encourage young people to say no to alcohol and drugs has been launched.

Rock Challenge is a national dance competition aimed at spreading the message you can have fun without drink or drugs, and will be sponsored by North Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

PC Suzanne Asquith, young engagement officer with the police, said the competition would see schools from across North Yorkshire take part at the event which will be held at York's Barbican on Thursday, May 1.

She said: “We are delighted to be able to bring Rock Challenge to North Yorkshire and provide young people with an exciting and unique opportunity to experience the thrill of performing in a professional venue in front of their peers, families and friends. This will be the first time in the production’s history that a North Yorkshire event has been included.”

Teams perform eight-minute, themed dance routines in front of an audience and a team of judges, and the winners move on to regional and national finals.

Students from schools in York, Boroughbridge, Scarborough, Stokesley and Kirkbymoorside will compete alongside 25,000 others from more than 350 schools across the UK, and a special performance from the York School of Dance and Drama and York Breakdance will also be held.

Jane Mowat, director of Safer York Partnership, said: “Safer York Partnership are delighted to support Rock Challenge. This event provides an opportunity for young people across North Yorkshire to showcase their talent whilst helping them to understand issues around healthy lifestyle and substance misuse and the impact it can have on their future life choices and opportunities.”

Julia Mulligan, police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “Rock Challenge is a fantastic initiative that will not only be great fun for all involved but will also reinforce the message that you don’t need alcohol, drugs or other substances to have a good time."

Tickets for the performance cost £8 and will be available from The Barbican box office from April 1. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, email suzanne.asquith@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk for more information.