Harbour Housing’s Sexual Health Initiative

Date: 24th June

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Harbour Housing is joining forces with Brook Sexual Health Clinic, the Eddystone Trust and the Hepatitis C Trust to increase testing and improve education surrounding sexual health for our residents.

During the pandemic, all the regular testing for COVID got our Outer Properties Team Lead, Bella Moore, thinking about other regular testing that was desperately needed: sexual health.

To begin with we partnered with Brook Sexual Health Clinic, who have come to our property Cosgarne Hall to run a drop-in testing clinic, which several residents utilised.

Although under 25s have access to free condoms through the C-Card scheme, this is not available to many of our residents. To overcome this, Paul King, from the Eddystone Trust, has helped us access funding for free condoms for over 25s, which we will be able to hand out to those who need them.

Bella, as the spearhead of this project, notes the importance of this endeavour: “As many of our residents are dealing with complex needs their sexual health often is not a priority. However, sexual health needs to be addressed and the lack of education surrounding the issue needs to change.”

"Sexual health needs to be addressed"

Bella reports that she has started great discussions with residents: “One resident was willing to sit down and talk to me about the importance of sexual health and was very appreciative of the free condoms, as they are expensive.”  Bella hopes that this is just the start of more difficult, but necessary, conversations.

As well as the drop-in clinic, Brook has also provided training for some of our staff. We hope to continue this so that more of our support workers are able be confident to advise our residents about sexual health and signpost them to more specific services.

The Hepatitis C Trust has also come on board with this initiative to help our residents. Their workers, Sarah and Gillian, have visited some of our properties in Newquay and St Austell to test our residents.

We are delighted that at the beginning of August representatives from Brook, Eddystone and Hep C Trust will all be at our Cosgarne Hall property for a testing day. This will include HIV screenings and liver functionality tests.

We hope that this event will be well-attended and that we will see more important conversations and improved understanding of matters pertaining to sexual health.