Thursday, 17 June 2010
A frank expose of the practical consequences of teenage pregnancy, held at the UCKG HelpCentre in Finsbury Park, attracted over 300 young people from across London and drew praise from Cllr Mouna Hamitouche, the Mayor of Islington.
The event comprised talks by expert speakers, real-life experiences of teenage parents, and Decisions a challenging musical drama, created and performed by a group of north London teenagers.
Commenting on the drama, Cllr Hamitouche said: “I am honoured to have been invited and am holding back the tears. We can’t blame young people; we must give them alternatives and opportunities.” She went on to confirm her willingness to assist or work with the UCKG “in any way I can”.
The event focused on peer pressure and young people’s decision-making processes and considered some of the practical issues surrounding teenage conception and parenthood. It clearly hit the spot with young people, as members of the audience noted.
“The musical was a big eye-opener on teenage pregnancy. The wrong decisions youths make out of the emotions of one moment lead to a lifetime of struggles,” said Nicola Ashitey (Age 29 – Brixton).
However the strongest messages came from two 23 year old single mums. Lurena Victorino of Barnet, who became pregnant at 14, said: “Telling my story is not easy however I’m willing to do it a million times over if it helps prevent just one teenager from having the struggle that I had to face.
Jackline Namacula of Haringey, who has a 6 year old son added: “Safe sex promotions and throwing condoms at our young ones is definitely not the answer. It doesn’t produce the results we all want, namely reducing Britain’s teen pregnancy statistics. UCKG’s campaign really helps youngsters to see the reality of things, the consequences of their actions.”
Although it is over ten years since the Labour government pledged to halve pregnancies for the under-18s by mid 2010, figures published last February indicated that the target is unlikely to be met.
Mindful of the disadvantages facing teenage parents and their children the UCKG arranged this awareness event as part of its secular community outreach programme. The outreach team contacted schools across north London as well as working with Islington Council.
Note to editors:
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are 36 UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.
For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7686 6033.