Latest Brook blogs

  • Tackling GBV and HIV: a joint approach

    30th Dec 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 Nov 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 Nov 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 Nov 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 Sep 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

  • a boy in school writing something down

    How the RSE I got in school let me down

    17th Sep 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 Sep 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

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

    Information about consent needs to be fully accessible

    16th Sep 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 Sep 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 Sep 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 Jun 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 Jun 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

  • two young people smiling at the camera

    Power of Youth Day: Participation in the pandemic

    2nd Jun 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 Apr 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 Apr 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 Mar 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 Feb 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 be different for everybody.  Education around… Read more

  • Why teaching young people about puberty is essential

    22nd Feb 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 Feb 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 Jan 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 Dec 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 Dec 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 Nov 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 Oct 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

  • Contraception and endometriosis: an arduous journey

    28th Oct 2020 by

    In this guest blog, 27-year-old Bima Loxley compares the lengthy journey she went through to reach an endometriosis diagnosis to the challenge of finding a method of contraception that was right for her. She explains why we need better education for young people to equip them to successfully tackle these issues. A new report has… Read more

  • Abortion pills save lives

    28th Sep 2020 by

    For International Safe Abortion Day, Laura Hurley, Programme Advisor at the Safe Abortion Action Fund writes on why abortion regulations should be based on health needs rather than stigma and explains why abortion services should be more widely available by telemedicine. The majority (73%) of all abortions which take place in England and Wales are… Read more

  • How Relationships Education supports children and their parents

    19th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. Dr Kerry Ashton-Shaw, talks to us from the position of being a parent and psychologist, about the ways in which RSE is beneficial for children’s development. What if there was something that we could provide for our… Read more

  • ‘Relationships’ must be at the forefront of RSE

    18th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. Brook Education and Wellbeing Specialist, Viccie Hamlet, talks to us about how Brook makes teaching about relationships a priority of our RSE model. At Brook, we have used the term ‘Relationships and Sex Education’… Read more

  • From frogs and diaphragms to the modern world of RSE

    17th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. Here, award winning fatherhood and lifestyle blogger John Adams talks to us about his experiences of sex education growing up, and why he thinks mandatory RSE is good for young people. It’s 2020 and… Read more

  • Why all young people deserve RSE

    14th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. This anonymous blog is from a young person whose lack of relationships and sex education (RSE) at school meant she had to turn to porn for information. She hopes the introduction of mandatory RSE… Read more

  • How to make sure your RSE is LGBT+ inclusive

    11th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. Here, Brook Education and Wellbeing Specialist, Emilie Cousins, talks to us about what teachers can do to make their RSE curriculum inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. “What if I say the wrong thing? I’m… Read more

  • 10 top tips for your first time teaching RSE

    10th Sep 2020 by

    For Sexual Health Week 2020 and throughout September, Brook is celebrating the introduction of mandatory RSE in all schools in England. In this blog, Jo Quinn draws on her experience as a Brook Education and Wellbeing Coordinator, to give her top tips on how to approach teaching RSE for the first time.   Research the topic  Be sure… Read more

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

    7th Apr 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 Apr 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 Jan 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 Dec 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.

  • a picture of Caitlin at her graduation

    We need to talk about vulvas

    16th Oct 2019 by

    Brook’s lead clinical champion, 25 year-old Caitlin Gorman, writes of her experience of the shame and stigma that still surrounds young people’s bodies – both in her professional and personal life – and how we can combat this.

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