Chlamydia tests for children on beach

Youth workers are offering free chlamydia tests and condom holders to children at Bournemouth beach.

Bournemouth Borough Council is backing the “Summer of Love” scheme, which involves a bus parked at the beach every Friday evening of the summer holidays.

The scheme is aimed at children aged 13 and over but no proof of age is required and youth workers can use their discretion in deciding a child’s maturity.

The Council said the bus had 100 visitors on its first Friday on the beach.

One mother said she was “horrified” at the ‘sex bus’ scheme.

Wendy Hodge said “giving away free condom holders and providing somewhere to go for teenagers to get checked out after they have had sex is only going to encourage promiscuity”.

She continued: “Quite apart from anything else, the beach is packed full of families on a Friday evening.

“Young children are naturally curious and it’s going to put parents in a very awkward position when they have to explain what this bus is there for.”

Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “How much more public money is going to be wasted before the government wakes up to the fact that bombarding young people with information about contraception and offering them free hand-outs is no way to address the sexual health crisis among teenagers?

“The ‘safer sex’ message is abandoning young people to the heartache and misery of a series of broken relationships and exposing them to the risk of disease and mental health problems.

“The answer does not lie in yet more sex education and contraceptive schemes that normalise casual sex.”

He added: “Young people have never had more information about contraception and yet the more money that has been invested in contraceptive education, the higher sexually transmitted infection rates have risen.”

Tim Fewell, head of youth service at Bournemouth Council, said: “This is very much focused on the idea of encouraging young people to delay sexual activity until they are ready.

“It is also extremely important that we are realistic.

“Where young people are having sexual contact we need to ensure they know about contraception and understand the consequences so they can make educated choices.”

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