A new film starring comedian Kernow King has been produced in Cornwall to encourage sexual health conversations between young people aged over 15, and their teachers.
The film, which is being launched at Cornwall College Camborne’s Union Building at 1.30pm on 25 June, uses humour to get young people talking and provides important sexual health information in a humorous way.
Produced by Cornwall Council’s Health Promotion Service, RCHT’s Sexual Health Services and Cornwall College, in partnership with Cornish film company Motion Film, the 20-minute film is part of a new sexual health interactive resource – the first of its kind to be produced in England – which will be used in schools and further education colleges across Cornwall.
"The Motion Farm and I were delighted to be able to make this light-hearted film, with a serious message," said the film’s leading man Ed Rowe, AKA Kernow King.
"We didn't want to scare young people about sexual health, but look to bring it to the forefront of their thoughts when the time is right. It's also important for people to know that there is plenty of support available to them if they need it, and it's not terrifying."
Cornwall’s Director of Public Health, Felicity Owen, said the film had been produced in direct response to calls from young people for more information about sexual health. ‘When they were asked for their views on sex education and support services, it became clear that there was very little Relationships and Sexual Education available to them,’ she said.
"They had fears and barriers to accessing what they saw as painful and intrusive sexual health testing services and wanted a current, informative and fun approach to RSE. The film has been developed by sexual health experts, FE tutors and young people in response to this request."
Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, added, ‘This new resource will make a real difference to our young people. Not only will it help them to be healthier, it will also encourage them to have the kind of conversations that really matter.’
As well as leading man Kernow King, the film also features students from Cornwall College, with a professional actress playing the love interest.
Nat Mitchell from Cornwall College, said, ‘It has been a great pleasure to work with the Health Promotion Service, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, and Kernow King to produce a fit-for-purpose, connected and fun sexual health resource for the young people of Cornwall. Our students were a credit to themselves and worked professionally with the production crew.
"Some of the filming took place at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust Sexual Health Hub. ‘This was a great opportunity for us at the Hub to provide young people with important, relevant information about sexual health in a fun way and dispel any myths or concerns they may have about attending our clinics,’ said Kathryn Eccleston, Interim Lead for Sexual Health.
"The Hub at Truro is open to everyone. We have drop-in sessions during the week where people can just come in or appointments are available. It is a confidential service and we are able to send results by text message. For those who can’t get to the Truro centre, we also hold clinics in community hospitals around the county. There is no charge for the tests, treatments or condoms, so you don’t need to take any chances just because you’ve spent all your money on iTunes!’ For more information on when and where services are available, call 01872 255044 or visit www.cornwallshac.org.uk.
In Cornwall the latest figures showing cases of Chlamydia for 15–24-year-olds falling 15 per cent last year. Cornwall’s average rate of teenage pregnancy (under 18) fell from 30.6 per 1,000 women in March 2012 to 26.2 per 1,000 women in March 2013.
Grace Charles, student liaison officer from Cornwall College, has already used the new resource to discuss the importance of relationships, respect, individual choice and self-esteem with students.
"The resource is a fantastic ice-breaker, relieving students from feeling that they can’t talk about safe sex," she said.
"No more embarrassment, instead it enables students to confidently engage in open, non-judgemental discussion with their peers and professionals."
Schools, colleges and youth organisations across Cornwall will start using the resource over the coming year. For more information, or to obtain a copy for use with youth groups, contact Emma Gardner, Health Promotion Service, on 01209 313419.