Straight Talking employs teenage parents to educate young people about early parenthood; enabling them to make responsible choices. The charity employs and trains teenage parents to deliver a programme in schools to 13-16 year old pupils presenting the realities of early parenthood. Straight Talking was founded in 1998 and responded to the previous Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy which aimed to halve the number of pregnancy and enable 40% of teenage parents to access education and training.
Much progress was achieved towards the previous administration’s targets of reducing teenage pregnancy rates (Teenage Pregnancy Strategy 1998) but there is still much more to be done. Britain still has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe.
With our prevention programme of peer education in schools and our work enabling teenage mothers and young fathers to access education and employment , we simultaneously respond to both aims of the report.
Over the last fourteen years, the charity has expanded and we now employ between 50 – 100 teenage mothers and young fathers at any one time. All of these young people show a very high commitment to the work and without them, the charity could not deliver the successful work in schools. Our young people are extraordinary and have made the charity what it is today.
Straight Talking promotes peer educators to management levels within the organisation ensuring that we keep young parents at the heart of everything we do. Two of our teenage parents have achieved post graduate degrees. One of these young parents, Heather Owens sat on our board of trustees for a period of three years and contributed hugely to the strategic direction of our charity. Currently, 95% of our teenage mothers and young fathers go on to access education and employment.
Our local schemes are reliant on close partnerships with teachers, school nurses, health visitors, youth workers, other charities and Local Authorities, some of whom commission our services.