Saturday, 3 November 2007

Award recognises doctors for sexual health services to young people

DOCTORS in Williton and Watchet have been presented with an award for the advice and support they give young people seeking contraceptive and sexual health advice.
Known as the RESPECT Award, the accolade recognises the positive steps taken by GP surgeries in the two towns to address the specific needs of young people.
Surgeries which receive the award are able to display the RESPECT logo as an identifiable sign to young people that the practice appreciates their particular needs and concerns, respects their confidentiality, and will offer them objective advice.
Health professionals know that too many young people are still reluctant to access contraceptive or sexual health advice due to anxiety or embarrassment.
They mistakenly fear that they may be denied a service unless they are accompanied by their parent or carer, or that a service may not respect their confidentiality.
RESPECT Award surgeries have been able to demonstrate that young people will be welcomed, treated with respect, and have their specific needs met.
RESPECT Project Worker Sara Dove said: “It is wonderful that the surgeries have given such priority to the young people, who should feel confident that they will be welcomed and offered an excellent and confidential service.”
Both GP surgeries are also part of the Somerset Condom Card scheme which enables young people to not only obtain confidential advice and information, but also free condoms.
The scheme was established to address the difficulty many young people living in rural communities have accessing the dedicated contraceptive and sexual health clinics developed in larger towns such as Minehead.
Mark Withers C-Card co-ordinator, said: “By gaining the RESPECT award and operating the Somerset Condom Card these surgeries are ensuring that young people in rural areas have the opportunity to access high quality sexual health services as well as offering support around sex, relationships, and sexuality, enabling young people to make positive choices.”
While the GP surgeries do not have a dedicated young people’s clinic, they do ensure their services to young people are friendly and confidential.
Young people, who register with the Condom Card scheme, can collect free condoms from the reception without an appointment.
They will also be invited to make an appointment to discuss any health related issue, although, in the case of an emergency, every effort will be made for them to be seen without an appointment if they call in during surgery hours.
The RESPECT scheme is key to the work of the Somerset Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board (STPS) and is supported by Somerset Primary Care Trust, Somerset County Council, and Connexions.
STPS aims to reduce the rate of under-18 conceptions by 50 per cent by 2010.

Poems inspire art club autumn competition

MEMBERS of Watchet Art Club have just taken part in what they hope is going to be the first of many in-house painting competitions.
They were tasked with painting a picture inspired by a poem, and the 15 entries were judged by Mrs Chris Hitchins, of FRAMED, in Swain Street, Watchet.
The art group meets on Wednesday mornings in the Methodist School Rooms, Harbour Road, Watchet.
More information about the club is available from Mr Charlie Johns on 01984 631740.
  • Our photograph shows joint-winners Mrs Val Webber, whose entry was It’s Raining, It’s Pouring - a Child’s Poem, and Mrs Marion Bailey, whose entry was Ozymandias of Egypt by Shelley, with their prize of a book by Gordon Benningfield. Photo submitted.

Muddy Matches country-minded roadshow comes to Exmoor for pub grub night

MUDDY Matches, the online community for country-minded people, is bringing its national roadshow to Exmoor on Thursday, November 8.
The two sisters behind the scheme, Emma and Lucy Reeves, are holding a pub grub night in the Royal Oak public house, in Winsford, from 7 pm.
The idea behind a Muddy Matches Pub Grub night is to for some like-minded, muddy people to come together to grab a bite to eat in a nice country pub.
It is open to anybody to attend and is intended to be a relaxed affair with each person paying for their own food and drink, and having an opportunity to meet some new people in the area.
Anybody who wants to go along should call Lucy on 07901 865283 beforehand in order that she has an idea of the number of people attending.
Lucy said: “We loved the sound of this country pub in the Exmoor National Park and thought it would be a great place to have a Pub Grub night.
“If anybody is feeling sociable but skint, they can still pop along for just a drink later.”
The Muddy Matches co-founders are in the middle of a two-month tour of Britain in a motor home and are spending six days in each region of the country to put on events and immerse themselves in all things ‘muddy’, from the traditional to the completely bonkers.
Lucy said: “We want to get out there and find out what makes other country people in Great Britain tick.
“Everybody experiences the countryside in different ways and we really want to embrace that diversity and showcase both its wonderful and whacky sides.
“We also plan to put on some great parties along the way.”
It was Lucy and Emma’s understanding of the countryside and being ‘country minded’ meaning different things to different people which led them to develop their concept of ‘muddiness’ in the first place.
“We had to figure out the one underlying thing that unites country-minded people from all walks of life,” said Lucy.
“The answer was obvious - mud. It does not matter whether you like walking or shooting, whether you grew up in the countryside, or are just hoping to move there, whether you actually live in the countryside or just like to spend time there, if you think you are country-minded, the only thing you cannot have is an aversion to mud.”
Lucy and Emma intend to film their journey and document it all in their Muddy Marathon blog, which went live on their website in October.
More details about the tour can be found at
Anybody who would like to get involved or who has any suggestions can email
  • Our photographs show (top) Lucy and Emma Reeves with their camper van, and (below) the camper van painted to resemble a country cottage. Photos submitted.