In May we started our new project, which we have called s.i. (sexual intelligence). The project has come about as a response to the high numbers of young people who are contracting STI’s and becoming pregnant at a young age in the Borough. Bridgend has the fourth highest teenage pregnancy rate in Wales, after Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Neath Port Talbot (figures taken from Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Sexual Health and Wellbeing Action Plan for Wales’ 2010-2015).
One of the questions we are asking is what can the Arts offer in the way of reducing these figures? And what are the underlying issues? We think there are a number of things which we can do:
- Open a dialogue about these issues with young people in the county. This will be done in a safe and gentle way. Our aim is to foster two-way communication between us (the artists/ facilitators) and young people. We believe that by encouraging young people to talk about their fears and concerns about sex and sexuality, that they will be better able to understand themselves, and ultimately be better placed to make mature decisions about their own bodies and lives.
- Promote the vital importance that emotional intelligence plays alongside the more traditional knowledge-based intelligence of facts and figures, in creating healthy people. Our workshops will not repeat what young people might learn from nurses or health workers, rather our aim is to complement this information, by opening a space for young people to consider this knowledge.
- Work in a Person-Centred way, which means that the work is lead by the needs of the group. Activities and discussions will be developed from the interest of the group members. We do not have an ‘agenda’. We will use creative tools and exercises to facilitate the group.
- Following an initial period of research and exploration, we will invite a group of young people to be involved in a performance which will be devised based on the information and issues that have been brought up. This will tour around Bridgend County Borough in the Autumn term. Follow-up workshops will be offered to all groups who see the performance.
We are delighted to have the support of both the Student Welfare Officers and the Creative Arts department at Bridgend College. Please contact Tracy if you have any further questions or would like to be involved.
Tracy Evans, Drama Development Worker
Tel 01656 729246