A recent report showed that Haringey has the fourth highest teenage pregnancy rate in London. So I met up with the borough’s dedicated teenage pregnancy team to find out what is being done to tackle the issue.
At the meeting were representatives from Haringey Council and the local health service who told me about their various initiatives to spread information and target prevention work with particularly vulnerable teenagers.
They are working closely with local schools to improve sex and relationship education, and to help identify groups of young people at risk. The team also uses a special dedicated website to help schools and parents learn how to reach out and talk to young people about the relationships and safe sex. There are also plans to set up special vending machines to give young people across the borough access to contraceptives and Chlamydia testing kits without having to approach an adult. To check out the website go to: http://www.ruthinking.co.uk/
There wasn’t much said about educating the boys – which has to be as much part of the answer as the rest of the program. However, there clearly are genuine efforts being made to tackle this issue – the answer to which ultimately must be about aspirations so that young girls don’t see falling pregnant in their teens as the answer to life.
I am meeting some of the young girls in a scheme that sees them volunteer in a nursery with a support team discussion after each session as to their thoughts and feelings. The meeting is scheduled for later this month. The idea behind that is a dose of reality as to what it is really like spending time with babies and toddlers – not all sweetness and light!
You can also watch it on YouTube here.