Throughout my seven years at medical school, I have been a member of (and training officer and Co-ordinator of) a fantastic volunteering and campaigning society- KCL Sexpression.
We are a University-based society that works to raise awareness of sexual health. We do this by teaching in local schools, and hosting events on campus, such as providing STI self-testing kits and hosting lectures.
This works really well for a few reasons- having younger, more approachable volunteers makes Sex Ed less uncomfortable for schoolkids, and having specific training (covering everything from puberty to contraception to relationships) for our volunteers means we are well-equipped to deal with those awkward questions that a schoolteacher may not be. We are well-placed on campus to reach out to our fellow students as well, which we often do in liason with local sexual health trusts.
Personally being a member of KCL Sexpression has been a hugely positive part of my University experience- as well as gaining leadership and teaching skills through it, I've met amazing people, had loads of fun and even done things I never expected like help host a European Sex Ed conference and be nominated for a Brook Award!
KCL Sexpression is just one branch of the brilliant National Sexpression Network- we have 30 branches in total, all based at Medical Schools in the UK, ranging as far as Plymouth and Aberdeen! As well as each branch volunteering in their local area, we are also starting to campaign for change on a National level as well, which is very exciting; supporting calls for Relationships and Sex Education to be compulsory under the National Curriculum, and awesome campaigns like Let Toys Be Toys.
We're growing as a Network and it means we're achieving more and more. In the past year Sexpression has taught an incredible 10,575 young people in 369 teaching sessions, in 53 schools across the UK. (This is based on data collected from approximately 2/3 of our branches, so the real number will be even higher.) In that time our volunteers gave up an amazing 2053.3 hours of their time (equivalent to 362.1 hours of teaching)!
The bigger we get, the better we get as we can share our experiences and reach more people with our work- however it bring it's own unique problems. Communicating the length and breadth of the UK is easier with the internet but it's very difficult for us to meet as an entire network.
Sexpression:UK receives no regular funding whatsoever. We are resourceful and individual branches can source small grants, but our National Committee in particular has to travel around the UK on a limited budget!
This is why we are launching our first ever official fundraiser to secure funding on a National Level. With this money, we would be able to pay for a National Training Event with travel secured for someone from everyone branch to attend- a Sexpression first! This would be vital for networking and ensuring our latest ideas and resources are shared. The money would also go towards vital resources for our branches to use in teaching sessions- such as demonstration condoms and contraception models.
Our goal is £5000, and we are already 1/5 of the way there, which is amazing. But there is just under a month to go and a lot more to raise- so I need your help!
So please please please have a look at our IndieGoGo campaign and think about donating! If everyone who reads this blogpost donated even £1, we'd be so much closer to raising what we need.
Thankyou so much!