Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics show that the number of under-18 conceptions in Sheffield are now lower than the Yorkshire and Humber average for the first time since 2000.
The latest figures are for 2008 and show that rates in Sheffield fell from 50.6 to 46.7 in the Aspire for Life pregnancy last 12 months. The rate is calculated as the number of conceptions per 1000 young women in the city who are aged 15-17. Overall Sheffield has achieved a 7.6% reduction since 1998, the baseline year.
The Sheffield Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, with lead membership from Sheffield City Council and NHS Sheffield, has launched a number of initiatives increasing access to contraception, delivering support programmes for young people most at risk, and finding out what young people themselves think.
‘Aspire for Life’ is one of the successful support programmes run by local youth workers, NHS Sheffield staff, and school nurses, that focuses on health and reducing risk taking behaviour.
Evaluation from the pilot of the programme demonstrated that young people’s knowledge about their health and their self-esteem was improved, as was their rate of school attendance. The programme is being rolled out to 600 young people by the end of March 2011.