On Monday 4th July, a group of young people from across Bristol will run an interactive Sex Education Day for teenagers across the city. The event, which is supported by sexual health organisations Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) and 4YP Bristol (part of NHS Bristol), will look at issues ranging from peer pressure to the media’s influence on body image through workshops, quizzes, and drama.
The Sex Education Day is the idea of SHARP (Sexual Health Action: Real People), a group of young people who volunteer through Terrence Higgins Trust and 4YP Bristol to promote positive relationships and safer sex to their peers. Group members have undertaken training in sex and relationships education, and are passionate about improving the sexual health and wellbeing of young people in Bristol.
Hassan Lenga-Kroma (18), one of the SHARP members coordinating the event, said: “Our main aim is to teach young people to be safe, be happy and be themselves. We want to challenge myths passed on through playground whispers and gossip. This day will not only benefit the young people involved, but also schools and communities, with the hope that those who attend will teach their peers to be safe.”
The day will include a series of sessions focusing on peer pressure, body image, relationships, contraception, and the influence of pornography on young people. There will be a market place where attendees can meet local organisations working in such areas as counselling, sexual health, and LGBT support groups. There will also be an ‘Ask Me Anything’ text line where attendees can send in anonymous questions and have them answered on a large screen by a nurse.
Lizzie Henden, Health Promotion Specialist, NHS Bristol, said: “This event is about putting sex education back on the agenda and mobilising young people in Bristol to get excited about good quality relationships and sex education. The young people in SHARP are incredibly passionate and it shows in the day they’ve designed. It’s getting to the heart of the issues happening right now for teenagers in the city and helping them navigate through an increasingly confusing world where sex sells and pressure to be and do certain things is huge.”
Louise Sweeney, Health Promotion Specialist at THT in Bristol, said: “It’s great that THT and NHS Bristol can work together with such a fantastic group of young people on this unique approach to sex education. We know that, where sex is concerned, teenagers are far more likely to listen to people their own age than they are to adults. We hope that, by starting the ball rolling with this event, we can encourage more young people to talk honestly and openly about sex and relationships.”