Sunday, 7 December 2008

Brook's celebrations

Last Thursday, Brook held a public meeting, our annual general meeting and parliamentary reception.  The focus of our public meeting was our education work.  Three colleagues from across the network described their education work.

Colleagues described;

work with young women who are being sexually exploited.  Describing the creative work of Brook staff supporting young people, challenging public and professional perceptions of 'child prostitution' and making a real difference to the individual lives of young people.  Concluding with a poem written by a young woman, from a collection of work called Invisible Lives, I am sure I was not the only person whose hair stood up on the back of their necks.

multi-disciplinary training that has been carried out skilling up professionals to feel more confident talking about sex and sexual health, and building links with specialist services.  

work with young people, including a young gay group, a group for young women and a group for young men that they have developed in response to young people's express needs.

Learning about the education work kicked off the start of a reflective and celebratory day. Summarising the year I reminded people that we see 1500 young people every day at Brook - in 2007/8 we had contact with over 205,000 young people.  I reminded colleagues that when we did research into young people's experiences of Brook, they told us the absolutely best thing about us is our staff, the people that work tirelessly for young people day in day out.

And as we move into our 45th year, the need for Brook's education, clinical services and advocacy is as great as ever before - we must continue to emphasise the importance of young people having trust in services and particularly in confidentiality.  We threaten our progress in reducing teenage pregnancy rates and sexually transmitted infection rates if we allow that trust to be undermined.

Baroness Massey of Darwen, Brook's honorary president, hosted our parliamentary reception in the evening, and paid tribute to the people, our staff and partners, that make Brook, who we are, the leading sexual health agency for young people.  

Both inspiring and tiring in equal measures, I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

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