Researchers conducted this study to evaluate a sexual health outreach program in an adventure playground.
A qualitative approach to evaluation is appropriate for a sexual health project where outcomes are unpredictable, difficult to define in numerical terms, and the small scale of the intervention means that an impact on indices such as teenage pregnancy rates is unlikely. The data collection techniques used were the outreach worker’s diary, questionnaires and interviews with youth workers, and a focus group with young people.
Work in young people’s leisure space requires flexible working in disrupted environments and a responsive approach to diverse individual needs. The outreach worker successfully engaged boys and girls in sexual health discussions. As a result of the project, youth workers’ confidence in discussing sexual health issues and their ability to refer to the clinic increased.
Clinical staff providing a sexual health outreach service for young people offer knowledge of sexual health and local clinical services and an opportunity to build positive relationships between clinics and local community organizations. The connections help youth workers raise sexual health issues with young people and refer to problems appropriately. Clinical staff doing outreach work may require additional skills to work in young people’s leisure space, such as the ability to negotiate the content of sessions and tolerate disruption.