Pupils could be given free condoms at school

SCHOOL pupils in the Cheddar area could soon be handed free condoms and advice as part of a discreet sexual health campaign

SCHOOL pupils in the Cheddar area could soon be handed free condoms and advice as part of a discreet sexual health campaign.The successful Somerset Condom Card, or C-Card, scheme is a way for young people to pick up condoms and get advice without embarrassment.The scheme has attracted more than 1,000 C-Card holders in the county and now organisers want to move the scheme into schools.The card entitles the holder to 10 batches of condoms available from places such as Cheddar Medical Centre.Health promotion manager Karen Butt said: "We are now starting to try to engage schools with the scheme."We already have several agencies on board which we have had success with and are now looking to go into schools as well."All schools are different however and the service we provide at each school will differ."Some may allow us to do a general talk and others may allow us to work individually with pupils."The C-Card has been developed by youth workers, health professionals and voluntary agencies as well as young people themselves. It is funded by the Somerset Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board.The majority of people who have signed up for the scheme so far are aged from 16-17 and health professionals are keen for young people to learn about safer sex and have access to condoms even if they are not sexually active.A spokesman said: "The C-Card puts young people, especially young men, at the centre of the project and recognises the particular needs of young people living in Somerset."In rural villages and small towns, young people have great concerns about confidentiality and often experience difficulty in accessing established services."To obtain a C-Card, young people first receive information regarding safer sex, how to deal with unwanted peer pressure to have sex, information on sexually transmitted infections and information on what to do and where to go if a problem arises.

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