Latest Brook blogs

  • Why I Prefer Promoting Sex Positivity in the Community Over Its Online Alternative

    16th May 2022 by

    Rachel Gambling, a Health Promotion Specialist at our all age service in Southend, talks about her career progression from podcasting at university to doing outreach work with Brook, and about her thoughts on the role of online spaces in the world of sexual health and wellbeing. When I was in my second year at the… Read more

  • RSE at Home: Pleasure

    12th April 2022 by

    RSE at Home with Brook is our series specially created for parents and carers who want to further support their children’s relationships and sex education at home. Brook expert staff use their knowledge and experience to give you support on how to address potentially tricky topics at home! In this blog, Brook’s Business Development and… Read more

  • photo of a young person speaking enthusiastically in a Brook workshop

    Responding to PM Boris Johnson’s comment about Gillick competence

    7th April 2022 by

    On 6 April PM Boris Johnson made a statement in an interview with Sky News that undermines Gillick competence and young people’s rights. Brook’s Head of Policy and public Affairs Lisa Hallgarten explains what Gillick Competence is and why it is so important. What does Gillick competence mean?  In 1985 a court ruled that a… Read more

  • Brook’s opportunities for learning and development

    7th April 2022 by

    Brook’s Head of Quality Rachel Smith is leading on Brook’s innovative workforce development plan. Here she tells us why it’s so important to invest in the development of our staff and what the journey looks like so far. Brook has a workforce that is dedicated, passionate about the work we do and committed to ensuring… Read more

  • Moving to Brook after 27 years in the NHS

    7th April 2022 by

    Kate Sheehan, a Contraception and Sexual Health Nurse at our all age service in Southend, tells us what it was like to join Brook in June 2021 during the pandemic and after 27 years working for the NHS. I started my career in the blood transfusion service, and then was in the ambulance service for… Read more

  • Why virginity myths are harmful for everyone

    25th March 2022 by

    Nick Dunne, Head of Business Development, discusses how the socially constructed concept of virginity perpetuates gender norms and stigmas and how this can impact people across all genders and sexualities.  The subject of virginity has been brought to the forefront in recent months with a ban on virginity testing being included in the Health and… Read more

  • young person looking at Brook resources on their phone

    Normalise RSE!

    8th March 2022 by

    Lisa Hallgarten, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Brook, discusses the importance of creating positive culture change by addressing the root causes of sexual violence. CW: This article describes a range of harmful sexual behaviours including sexual violence, domestic violence, and discrimination based on gender and sexuality. Five years ago in February 2017 the Children… Read more

  • Brook response to ending the provision of telemedicine abortion

    25th February 2022 by

    Brook is deeply disappointed by the Government announcement that telemedicine for early abortion care in England will not be made permanent. From August this year it is intended that service providers will revert to face-to-face consultations only.   The provision of telemedicine abortion in England was approved in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, to… Read more

  • Brook’s Digital Front Door Safeguarding Journey

    24th February 2022 by

    Helen Anderson, Digital Manager at Brook, shares her insight on Brook’s Digital Front Door Journey and overcoming the challenges of safeguarding through digital tools  Over the last 12 months we have designed, developed and implemented three new innovative digital tools that form phase one of Brook’s Digital Front Door (DFD). Our online STI testing tool our signposting… Read more

  • Celebrating LGBT+ History month with 15,000 young people

    24th February 2022 by

    Brook experts Nick Dunne and Sarah Simons tell us what it was like to deliver a virtual RSE Lesson to 15,000 young people in celebration of LGBT+ History Month  On 9 February we delivered the UK’s biggest ever virtual RSE lesson, with 15,000 young people from over 620 schools across England and Wales tuning in… Read more

  • Why are young people still being left in the dark when it comes to Relationships and Sex Education?

    3rd February 2022 by

    A major new survey by the Sex Education Forum shows that young people are still not receiving the comprehensive and quality Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) they were promised when the subject became mandatory over 18 months ago. Brook reflects on these findings and what more needs to be done to support young people. Basics are… Read more

  • The Toxic Legacy of the 00s and What We’ve Had to Unlearn About Sex 

    18th January 2022 by

    Crossline Theatre (Kara Chamberlain & Natalia Knowlton) is a London-based female-led theatre company. Their latest play, Friday Night Love Poem, highlights the impact of the 00s misogyny and over-sexualisation of virginity on Millennial and Gen Z women. Currently streaming on demand until January 22nd. Find out more.  “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia” –… Read more

  • Tackling GBV and HIV: a joint approach

    30th December 2021 by

    Raeena Hirve, Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator at Brook, discusses the links between Gender Based Violence and HIV and why work to prevent either must take both into account. [Content warning: discussion of gender based violence including rape] Gender Based Violence (GBV) describes violence that establishes, maintains or attempts to reassert unequal power relations based on gender. While… Read more

  • How TV shows can be used to teach about sex and relationships

    24th November 2021 by

    Brook Education and Wellbeing Specialist Francesca Fiennes gives some tips on how to use examples from film and TV to support education about sex and relationships. As Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) becomes mandatory after lockdowns, organisations such as Brook seek to provide specialist and professional advice to support this. A great way to start thinking about… Read more

  • We need to understand how vital online spaces are for LGBT+ young people

    4th November 2021 by

    Following the launch of Brook and Sussex University’s new report Digital Intimacies and LGBT+ Youth, 22 year-old RSHE educator Demi Whitnell reflects on their personal and professional experience of online spaces for the LGBT+ community and explains why we need to understand the importance of these space for young people. Online platforms are a double-edged sword.… Read more

  • New research into the impact of online communities for LGBT+ young people

    4th November 2021 by

    Following the launch of Brook and Sussex University’s new report Digital Intimacies and LGBT+ Youth, Brook’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs Lisa Hallgarten reflects on both the potential risks and the reported positives of social media and online communities for LGBT+ young people.  After 18 months living with the pandemic – what would you erase if you could wave a magic wand? This… Read more

  • Over the counter contraception is a step in the right direction

    24th September 2021 by

    For World Contraception Day, Brook’s Head of Nursing explores what it means now that the progesterone only pill is available to purchase over the counter from pharmacies. Earlier this year the progesterone only pill (POP) became available to purchase over the counter in pharmacies. This was a long overdue step – and it will improve access to contraception and help prevent… Read more

  • Brook response to the ruling of Quincy Bell and Mrs A v The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

    17th September 2021 by

    Brook welcomes the ruling as upholding the right of young people to consent to medical treatment. In response to the ruling of the Court of Appeal in the judgment of Bell v Tavistock, Helen Marshall, Chief Executive of Brook, says: “We are delighted by today’s judgment. It will not only offer reassurance for trans young… Read more

  • a boy in school writing something down

    How the RSE I got in school let me down

    17th September 2021 by

    The theme of Sexual Health Week 2021 is Consent: Do You Get It? In this blog, we hear from Ethan Haw , a Brook Champion aged 19, about how limited RSE meant he had to learn about sex and consent on his own, and what he thinks RSE should include to properly equip young people with… Read more

  • Toby Hollins smiling at the camera.

    Consent education: from the 1980s to Love Island

    17th September 2021 by

    The theme of Sexual Health Week 2021 is Consent: Do You Get It? In this blog, we hear from Toby Hollins, a Brook Champion aged 20, about how RSE could benefit from drawing on the current culture to facilitate conversations about consent. The 1980s have undoubtedly left footprints on our society: lycra, legwarmers, the biggest haircuts you’ve ever seen… Read more

  • Consent and BDSM: what lessons can we learn from a professional Dominatrix?

    17th September 2021 by

    The theme of Sexual Health Week 2021 is Consent: Do You Get It? In this blog, we hear from Madam Storm, International Dominatrix, writer, teacher, speaker and women’s empowerment coach about what we can learn about consent from the BDSM community. I entered the world of BDSM in my twenties and was quickly educated on… Read more

  • Ellen Goodey smiling, with her hands clasped on her knee.

    Information about consent needs to be fully accessible

    16th September 2021 by

    As part of Sexual Health Week 2021 we hear from Ellen Goodey, Project Support Assistant at Mencap, who explains what consent means to her and why it’s essential that information about consent is accessible for everyone. I am engaged to get married to my fiancé, as he is now. He was my boyfriend for 3… Read more

  • photo of a young person speaking enthusiastically in a Brook workshop

    How I’m building on the consent education I got in school

    15th September 2021 by

    The theme for Sexual Health Week this year is Consent: Do You Get It? In this blog, 19-year-old Brook Champion Elise Perks shares her experiences of consent education at school and university, how she thinks it could be improved, and tells us why we need to normalise conversations about consent amongst our friends and family.… Read more

  • a child's hands holding a buttercup

    Brook responds to BBC Panorama Who’s protecting our kids? documentary

    7th September 2021 by

    Police and young people confirm sexual assault and harassment between young people is widespread. Police reports of thousands of sexual assaults between children, everyday experiences of harassment in schools and the increasingly ubiquitous sharing of unsolicited nudes referenced in the Panorama documentary (6/09/21) build on our existing concerns about the safety and wellbeing of young… Read more

  • Bell v Tavistock Appeal

    23rd June 2021 by

    Brook is intervening in the appeal as we believe the Bell judgement poses serious risks to other forms of healthcare and young people’s autonomy. Many clinicians across a range of disciplines and other interested parties will be following the Tavistock’s appeal of the Bell judgment closely and with concern. Young people have a right to… Read more

  • A smiling woman with grey hair stands with blue and gold baloons next to a sign that reads 'Manchester Brook Advisory Centre' in the same colours.

    Brook Manchester at 25

    22nd June 2021 by

    We are celebrating 25 years of Brook Manchester. To find out more about the service and the role it has played in the city we spoke to Helen Carroll, who worked at the clinic when it first opened in the mid 1990s, and to Debbie Quinn, who has worked at Brook Manchester for the last 16 years.  When Brook opened its doors… Read more

  • holding hands

    Brook responds to the announcement of the review of sexual harassment in Welsh schools

    18th June 2021 by

    Brook welcomes the news that the Wales education watchdog is to conduct a review of sexual harassment in schools. No young person should be subject to the behaviours described on Everyone’s Invited, particularly in schools and colleges, which should be a place where they feel safe. Sadly for many young people that is not the case, as… Read more

  • Brook statement on OFSTED review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges

    10th June 2021 by

    Brook is saddened, but not surprised at the findings from the OFSTED review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, including that: sexual harassment has become ‘normalised’ in schools; teachers don’t feel prepared to teach the subject, and may lack knowledge on topics like consent, healthy relationships and sharing of sexual images; RSE does not… Read more

  • two young people smiling at the camera

    Power of Youth Day: Participation in the pandemic

    2nd June 2021 by

    Sarah Simons, Participation Coordinator at Brook, talks about her experiences of youth social action during the pandemic as part of Power of Youth Day. Power of Youth Day is an annual celebration of the contributions children and young people make to society through volunteering and social action. It’s a chance to spotlight the achievements of… Read more

  • How to support young people to look after their mental health on social media

    26th May 2021 by

    This month we’ve been focusing on mental health across our social channels. But at Brook we know that the relationship between mental health and social media doesn’t always seem positive. In this blog, Brook’s Media and Communications Coordinator Eliza Bell uses her 5 years’ experience as a social media manager to offer 5 top tips on how you can support your young people’s mental… Read more

  • My Broken Vagina: Extract

    19th May 2021 by

    My Broken Vagina by Fran Bushe is one woman’s funny, moving, and sometimes awkward quest to fix her sex life. But it’s also the story of millions of women everywhere – half of all women have felt pain during sex. The below extract is taken from the introduction of the book. Introduction  My name is… Read more

  • smiling young person

    The importance of RSE for disabled and neurodiverse young people

    23rd April 2021 by

    Lucy Dabner and Amber Newman-Clark are Education and Wellbeing Specialists at Brook, and are in the Brook staff working group on RSE for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. In this blog, they talk about the importance of inclusive and fair RSE for disabled and neurodiverse young people. Working at Brook, we always talk about sex… Read more

  • Consent must be the bedrock of RSE curriculums

    1st April 2021 by

    Nick Dunne is Brook’s Business Development Manager. He has many years of experience as a sexual health educator and trauma-informed counsellor. In this blog, he explains why consent education needs to be a consistent theme throughout a young person’s time at school.  The Everyone’s Invited campaign has seen a huge number of responses from people sharing their experiences of harassment, sexual… Read more

  • holding hands

    Brook statement about Everyone’s Invited

    30th March 2021 by

    Brook has been at the forefront of providing relationships and sex education, and clinical sexual and reproductive health services to young people for nearly 60 years. Brook staff are experts in safeguarding young people and educating them about consent, the law, and how to achieve healthy, enjoyable and safe relationships on and offline. What is… Read more

  • person looking at a computer creen with a slide from Brook Learn's puberty course

    5 top tips for teaching about puberty

    23rd February 2021 by

    Brook Education and Wellbeing Specialist, Ramoya Randall, explains 5 top tips for teaching puberty to young people in an inclusive and effective way. As many of us are aware, puberty is a roller-coaster of changes that everyone experiences. This can be particularly overwhelming for young people if they are uninformed, especially as the speed that these changes happen will… Read more

  • Why teaching young people about puberty is essential

    22nd February 2021 by

    Brook Education and Wellbeing Specialist, Elyssa Rider, explains why puberty education plays a fundamental role in equipping young people to navigate healthy relationships with themselves and their bodies as well as with others around them. Puberty education is arguably foundational to most other sex and relationships education topics. It encompasses not only body changes and… Read more

  • It’s a Sin: My experience of working through the AIDS crisis

    5th February 2021 by

    As part of National HIV Testing Week, Brook’s Assistant Director of Operations Jackie Redding discusses the hit Channel 4 show and reflects on her own work as an HIV counsellor in the 1980s. Within the first half hour of episode one of It’s a Sin, I was fully invested in the lives of the protagonists. I cared about what happened to them and I was routing… Read more

  • nurse typing on laptop, with stethoscope next to her

    How I got here: Brook CASH Nurse

    21st January 2021 by

    Megan Chambers is a Contraception and Sexual Health Nurse for Brook in Cornwall. She shares her journey of having various health and social care jobs before deciding to work in sexual health. Back in school, I was never sure what I wanted to do, I’d always been the “mother” of the friendship group, caring and… Read more

  • A week in the life of a Brook Senior Administrator

    21st December 2020 by

    In this blog, Grace Ransley explains some of the roles and responsibilities she carries out on a weekly basis as a Senior Administrator for Brook in London. Admin roles are vital in ensuring Brook’s clinical services are able to run smoothly, allowing Brook to support as many young people as possible. When I graduated from… Read more

  • a person's hands cupped, full of tiny colourful stars

    Bell v Tavistock Brook Statement

    8th December 2020 by

    Trans young people must be reassured that the judgment in Bell v Tavistock does not affect their right to sexual and reproductive healthcare. The judgment in the Bell v Tavistock judicial review has caused significant distress to those Trans young people receiving and seeking treatment with puberty blockers. The clinical staff supporting them at the… Read more

  • How I got here: Brook Director of Digital and Communications

    25th November 2020 by

    Laura Hamzic, Director of Digital & Communications at Brook, is responsible for the digital strategy and transformation of the organisation. Here, she talks about her journey into a digital career in sexual health. When I think back to careers conversations at school, I have to laugh. Admittedly it was the late 1990s and careers in ‘digital’ just weren’t… Read more

  • A week in the life of a Brook Education & Wellbeing Specialist

    29th October 2020 by

    Amber Newman-Clark, Education & Wellbeing Specialist for Brook in London, works hard every day to challenge stigma around sex and sexuality so that young people feel empowered to take control of their own lives. This is a week in Amber’s shoes… Why I do what I do   The message that sex, bodies and certain aspects of… Read more

  • Looking ahead: Brook’s 2020-23 Strategic Plan

    7th April 2020 by

    Brook’s Assistant Director of Business Support, Sally Hutchings, explains how Brook’s four core values – collaborative, trailblazing, courageous and trustworthy – underpinned every stage of development of our bold 2020-23 Strategic Plan. Brook wants a society where all young people are free to be themselves. In order to make this a reality, we believe that our services must be… Read more

  • Covid 19: Periods in isolation

    7th April 2020 by

    As we all adjust to these new ways of living, Brook’s Let’s Talk. Period team in Liverpool, give some practical advice for parents and carers on how to use this time to have important conversations with young people. Written by Education and Wellbeing Specialists Jenny Gilchrist and Emma-Louise Kemp, with support from Education and Wellbeing… Read more

  • Mandatory RSE: welcome but flawed

    8th January 2020 by

    Brook’s Head of Education, Dougie Boyd, writes on the advent of mandatory RSE in September 2020. He tells us that while definitely welcome and long overdue, the legislation remains fundamentally flawed.

  • Talking to teenagers about consent and pleasure

    12th December 2019 by

    Education and Wellbeing Specialist, Lota Bantić, explains why teaching young people about consent and pleasure is an essential component of Relationships and Sex Education, and gives some tips for if you’re approaching these topics for the first time.

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