Making a difference
I have been in Jersey and Bristol this week meeting staff, trustees and partners to discuss Brook’s strategic framework (http://www.brook.org.uk/) and our organisational design and governance structure review (www.brook.org.uk/review)
Three things have stuck in my mind;
First the creativity, commitment and boldness of staff in meeting the needs of young people – recognising the resilience and the vulnerability of young people and demonstrating their commitment to helping young people understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to sex and sexuality.
Second, Brook in Jersey was set up over 15 years ago in response to their high teenage pregnancy rates amongst young people under 16. The Chief Medical Officer report the year before Brook was set up reported over 300 pregnancies amongst young people under 16. This year the CMO reported less than 5 teenage pregnancies in the same age group. The trustees and staff confidently know that in many of the schools in Jersey the absolute majority of young people know what Brook does, what we offer in terms of education, counselling and support, and clinical services, and most importantly they trust Brook to provide a confidential service.
Finally at Brook in Bristol, where the teenage pregnancy rate remains stubbornly high there is a really keen awareness of the importance of working effectively and creatively with both young men and young women. Yes access to and confidence in using contraception is an important part of the solution and central to success is a strong focus on gender, really focusing on improving respect and understanding between young men and young women so relationships are positive and equitable. Promoting gender equity is vital and remains one of the biggest challenges in ensuring positive sexual cultures amongst (young) people.