Founder of Bedfordshire sexual health service is honoured for life-changing work

Helen Brook
Helen Brook

Helen Brook, founder of Brook - the UK’s leading sexual health and wellbeing charity for young people - has been honoured in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List for her crusade to help unmarried women in the 1960s.

This year’s Power List celebrates seven women who have made the biggest impact on women’s lives over the past seven decades.

The first Brook clinic opened in 1964 with the aim of offering accessible support and contraception to unmarried women and reducing the number of illegal abortions.

Today Brook has 15 services in Bedfordshire, providing local young people under 25 with free and confidential information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and counselling, as well as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

Emma Valentine, operations manager for Bedfordshire, said: “It’s because of Helen Brook’s hard work and bravery that young people in Bedfordshire today are able to access free and confidential sexual health support and services. I feel proud to be part of this legacy”.

Helen Marshall, chief executive of Brook said: “Despite the fierce opposition and prejudice Helen Brook faced over 50 years ago, she created a pioneering health service for young women who desperately needed support.

“Today, faced with the enormous challenge of funding cuts, we must continue to work with the same passion and determination in order to meet the needs of young people nationwide.”

For more information about local Brook services visit: