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Keeping Indigo Out of the Red
Cotswold District Council is backing a fund-raising campaign by a local GP to boost an award-winning health promotion and advice service which provides a lifeline to young people in the Cirencester area.
Efforts are underway to raise money for Indigo, a confidential service which promotes health issues and lifestyle advice to young people attending secondary school or college in the Cirencester area. The service, which specialises in sexual health matters, is operated by the Phoenix Surgery, in collaboration with the Youth Service, school nurses, and Gloucestershire Health Promotion, and has provided much needed support to young people in the community, including the most vulnerable in the 13-16 age group who are often unaware of the risks of casual sex. Guaranteeing confidentiality, Indigo provides youngsters with young people-friendly clinics and makes them available at convenient times and places.
Cotswold District Council helped establish Indigo in 2001 with an initial cash injection and has continued to contribute small amounts; other funding has come from a variety of sources including local businesses and charities, Parish Councils and Hospital Friends. Despite these donations, Indigo’s leader, Dr Gill McInerney of Cirencester's Phoenix Surgery, acknowledges that the scheme is being hampered by a lack of financial support despite having won two prestigious awards recently.
Dr McInerney commented: "A couple of months ago, we received the Gloucestershire Innovation Award in Primary Care for services for young people and we were also awarded the Royal College of General Practitioner's Adolescent Health Care Award. It was a great boost for Indigo, and we are hoping that the kudos which comes with this kind of recognition will help raise our profile and encourage more benefactors to dig deep.
"When we launched Indigo almost ten years ago, it coincided with a national government drive to reduce teenage pregnancy rates. Over the years we have helped a number of young girls cope with the distress of falling pregnant and the attendant risks of social exclusion, poor educational achievement, single parenthood and poverty. More generally, we have created an environment where young people feel important and command attention, and many of our clients have had a say in the design of the services we provide.
"We have received fantastic feedback from schools around the town, particularly since we established a youth bus which visits them at lunchtimes, and it would be great to extend Indigo across a wider area. For the time being, however, we are keen to make ends meet and would love to hear from anyone who would like to support us."
Donations to Indigo should be made to Dr Gill McInerney, Phoenix Surgery, 9 Chesterton Lane, Cirencester, Glos, GL7 1XG, email: gillmcinerney@gp-L84012.nhs.uk Tel: 01285 652056.
: 19/02/2010 12:49:05
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