Students’ sexual health campaign

STUDENTS at Great Yarmouth College have crossed subject boundaries to work together to devise effective and creative sexual health messages for their peers.

Health and social care students are busy collaborating with design and media students hoping their ideas will be chosen for a widespread community campaign aimed at teenagers and young people.

Detailed research about sexual issues that affect young people has been carried by second year health and social care students.

Their findings, themes and statistics have been passed on to art, design and photography students who are translating them into hard-hitting posters and visual messages.

Media students will be making a film based on the research, experiences and messages.

Six health and social care students were so affected by their research they are now going on to take an extra qualification in volunteering so they can work as peer mentors in college for sexual health.

They realised there was still stigma and misinformation about sex and sexual health among young people and wanted to offer practical help.

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Their posters, film ideas and messages will be presented to health professionals at a special event on Valentine’s Day at the Burrage Centre at the James Paget University Hospital.

Former JPH consultant Hugh Sturzaker invited students’ ideas after the success of the anti-binge-drinking film, One Drink Too Far, made by two Great Yarmouth College students Charlie Baldwin and Siobhan Barrow.

Posters by design students from Great Yarmouth College were also used for that campaign.

This time students will pitch their ideas – a maximum of 20 posters from each college - against designs and messages from students from East Norfolk Sixth form College, Gorleston and Lowestoft College.

The concepts and ideas chosen by the judges will be used as the campaign.

It is the first time health and social care students have worked with art students on a joint project at Great Yarmouth College.

Course leader Amanda Reeve said the students had worked hard researching local problems in sexual health as well as national and global issues.

“They came up with reasons why the Great Yarmouth area had increased teenage pregnancies and one in four young people between 14 and 25 have Chlamydia.

“The main thing that my students have come up with is that accessing contraception like condoms is still difficult. There is still a stigma attached to young people having sex. They still have to walk in somewhere and ask for condoms and they find it difficult because they feel this stigma.

“They also feel that people don’t know how to use protection properly and that is something the peer mentors want to address.

“They have also identified that when they were at school a lot of the relationship issues and use of contraception wasn’t really addressed so there are still many stigmas and schools are not as pro-active as they should be.”

The project will form part of the students’ graphic design unit and will count towards their final qualification.