Saturday, 9 February 2008

Good news and stunning performances

I was so pleased that Dawn Primarolo, public health Minister announced new money for contraception this week. At Brook we have been increasingly worried about the cuts to contraceptive clinics over recent years. We have been calling for increased leadership and resource for contraception and now we have got it. Next week we launch our own campaign on promoting contraceptive choice. Watch this space and the Brook website on Tuesday to find out more.

From central leadership to local action, if I was excited at Dawn Primarolo's announcement, I was equally excited by the stunning performances of young people involved in a creative arts programme as part of Trafford Youth Service. Performing at the Greater Manchester Sexual Health Network conference, they cut straight to the chase - talk to us, inform us, help us, don't judge us, hear our stories.

And one young woman blew delegates away with a performance of her own song. The song focused on her hopes, dreams and aspirations and the experiences of 'living, watching and learning in the neighbourhood she lives'. The key message I took from her song was, sexual health is intimately bound up with the rest of her life. Her hopes for the future helping her manage and negotiate the day to day pressures of living in a deprived part of Manchester where drugs and violence are commonplace.

It was humbling and insightful. It challenged me yet again to ensure we address the core task of helping children and young people grow, develop, stay safe and dream. Anything short of that has the potential to simply tick a box.

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