Young people and sexual health

Our stories

Hackney has the highest level of new STI diagnoses among all London boroughs

We spoke to Amber Newman‑Clark from Brook, the sexual health and wellbeing organisation for under 25s

What does Brook do?

Brook has been at the forefront of providing sexual health and wellbeing support to young people for over 50 years. Through services in local communities, education and training programmes and advocacy work, Brook helps young people make positive and healthy lifestyle choices.

In the City and Hackney, Brook delivers the Come Correct and The Free Condom Project (TFCP), which are free condom distribution services for 13-24s (Come Correct) and 25+s (TFCP).

What is the situation of young people in Hackney in terms of sexual health and education?

Education and services are incredibly important across Hackney, due to the high prevalence of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and conception rates. The conception rate of under 18’s in City & Hackney has continued to drop, however it is still high compared to other boroughs (The Office of National Statistics).

STIs are on the rise across England, and Hackney has the highest level of new STI diagnoses among all London boroughs. Hackney also has the highest level of Chlamydia detection among the ages of 15-24 in the whole of London (Public Health England, Spotlight on Sexually Transmitted infections in London, 2017).

Young Hackney does an amazing job of reaching young people across the borough and delivering high quality Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). We also welcome the requirement to provide mandatory RSE in schools, which is due to come into effect in 2019.

Our mission at Come Correct and TFCP is to provide well-informed sexual health and wellbeing advice, taking a holistic approach when we engage with young people and professionals. Our work contributes to the reduction of unwanted pregnancies and the STI prevalence in Hackney by having frank and honest conversations around sexual health and wellbeing.

What challenges do you face?

We are finding an increasing amount of young people who do not want to have a conversation about condom use because they dislike using condoms for a variety of reasons. A lack of education and open discussion means many are unaware of the risks of transmitting STIs without correct condom use. We aim to empower young people to make responsible choices around their sexual health, which includes having the confidence to ask their partner to use a condom.

What events do you organise?

Come Correct and TFCP offer a wide range of events. A large portion of our events work is outreach at festivals, fresher’s fairs and carnivals – we were at Hackney Carnival this year where we were able to interact with over 250 Hackney residents, signing people up to the scheme and giving out condoms. We also run sessions with smaller groups of people at youth hubs and hostels, were we discuss condom use, healthy relationships and STIs as well as providing condoms.

We also offer FREE training for professionals who work with young people and vulnerable adults in Hackney: Intro to Sexual Health & Condom Distribution, Sex Pressure and Social Networks, and Supporting LGBT+ Young People.

Brook’s next training, an Introduction to Sexual Health and Condom Distribution Training is on 23 October > Read more and on 7 November they are running a course on Supporting and Including young LGBTQ people in Hackney > Read more