There have been significant changes and challenges in the political, economic and social climate over the last year, and our response has been, and will continue to be, to intensify our efforts on behalf of the rights and needs of young people. To do this we need to be flexible, and make the changes necessary to deliver quality services and an authentic voice for young people in line with our vision, mission and values.
Change and flexibility has included a review of the structure of our organisation to enable us to be in the best position to reach out to, and advocate for, more young people, as we work to be bigger, bolder and better in all that we do.
We have committed to reporting on our progress and impact through ten promises that we made last year, and by monitoring six key areas that we know are important indicators that sexual health and emotional wellbeing for young people are improving.
In this report we show evidence of our progress and impact with reports of our work across the UK and through the voice of young people themselves.
This review also provides examples of the breadth and depth of work that happens within Brook on a daily basis to support young people. I am particularly inspired by the young people who were willing to share their stories with us, so we get a sense of the journey of change that Brook can support a young person with.
Fundamental to our work and impact are the Brook staff, volunteers, and trustees, who work together with energy and passion to make a positive difference. My experience of Brook is that whether someone’s role is on the board, campaigning, in administration, or directly providing services, they are driven by making things better for young people.
Regardless of the pressures of the external environment, I am confident that Brook will remain a trusted and effective resource for young people and those who support them, and I am excited to be part of that work.
While we remain focused on our day-to-day work of providing quality services for young people, we continue to plan and campaign to secure the future of services that support and represent young people.
We are committed to monitoring and reporting on our progress and impact, and will continue to generate and share data on how we are contributing to improvements in young people’s sexual health.
We are pleased to report that Brook had contact with over 300,000 young people last year, an increase of almost 40,000 since 2009/10 – setting us well ahead of our target to double our reach by 2019. Within that, our Ask Brook service responded to just over 25,000 enquiries from young people. This is a 52% increase from the year 2009/10 and reflects our investment in the development of a service that young people can access if they can’t get to a Brook Centre.
I was delighted to read the testimonies from Brook’s Campaign Volunteers on their time with us, and also to see the quality of campaign work they all delivered during that time. I am particularly proud of their brave and ambitious Sex:Positive campaign, which aims to challenge society’s attitude towards sex and young people.
It has been a busy and successful year, but there is no room for complacency and I am proud to be leading Brook through the next set of challenges, and grateful for the commitment, enthusiasm and expertise of staff, volunteers and trustees that is so crucial to propelling Brook forward, even through choppy waters.
When all Brook Centres became part of one new organisation on 1 April 2011, it was necessary for all trustees of individual Centres to resign, and they were replaced by a single board of trustees. I would like to express particular thanks to all Centre trustees and members for their hard work and commitment to Brook over the years that contributed to being a vibrant Brook network, and I look forward to working with ex-trustees in a different way going forward.
I would also like to thank our funders, who include government, corporate organisations, trusts and foundations, as well as individual donors and supporters. These contributions enable us to deliver and develop the services that young people tell us they want.
Thank you also to all our members for your continued support for the work that is necessary to improve the sexual and emotional health of young people. I look forward to working with colleagues, trustees, volunteers, partners, funders, stakeholders, and supporters in the coming year to take forward our aspirations for Brook.
And a final thank you – to the young people who use our services and work with us to improve and develop them. Your trust in Brook is our most valuable asset, and I will always take great care with it.