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Ever used a Brook clinic or service? Are you willing to share your stories to celebrate Brook's fiftieth birthday?

(23 Posts)
Preciousbane Fri 08-Nov-13 23:37:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpiceAddict Wed 06-Nov-13 20:20:09

I visited Brook when I was 21 and in the last year of uni. I am British Asian and I couldn't tell my parents that I had a boyfriend as this was not the 'done' thing. I definately couldn't talk to them about sex or contraception as in our culture, you are supposed to be a virgin when you get married!

I didn't want to see my GP as he was also asian and knew my parents. So Brook was my lifeline. I got the pill from there for about 5 years, until I was 26 and no longer eligible.

The doctors were always lovely and professional.
Thank you Brook for providing this service.

ImperialFucker Sat 02-Nov-13 11:10:25

I used to go to the Brook in Tottenham Court Road in the 70s and I'm pretty certain one time I was seen by Hank Wangford. Can anyone at Brook confirm this? We had a good long conversation about whether a woman would sleep with a man who said he was on a contraceptive pill.

Fantastic treatment, every time I went.

MimsyBorogroves Fri 01-Nov-13 01:59:35

I used Brook around 12 years ago.

My boyfriend at the time lived in London and I happily travelled down to spend a dirty weekend with him. It was my first ever weekend away with a boyfriend - at 18 - and as the train got to London I realised I'd left my pills at home.

We used an Internet cafe to find a family planning clinic who saw me, and then handed me an invoice of £50ish to pay for the appointment and a month's worth of the pill. I wasn't even really aware of private medical care and was absolutely devastated as I had nowhere near enough money. Boyfriend paid begrudgingly for the appointment and we left empty handed.

We then found Brook near Euston, who chatted with me and quickly gave me the pill - for free. Relief. We spoke about my sexual history and they offered me counselling for coming to terms with being raped a couple of years earlier. I declined, but it was the first time anyone had shown any compassion.

When I later moved to London, Brook became my base for getting the pill. They were always helpful, kind and honest and I'd like to say thank you for my 5 years of sexual health care.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Nov-13 01:40:41

I never used the Brook Clinic, but they opened, to much opposition round the corner from where I worked.

One day on my way back from the sandwich run, I saw a young girl and her mum going in. The sactimonious religious squad had been yelling abuse at users and the wee girl eas so scared and this was the first time I'd seen anyone going in.

So I pushed in front of her and ran the gauntlet to the door. I screamed back at the protesters: How many of you will help me? You dont know what its like? How many of you foster/ how many of you adopt? You have no right to judge me.

The door closed after the wee girl and her mum. I stopped shouting, said I needed to get through and wrnt back to work with everyone's sarnies.

It was weird and well, just weird. But it felt good.

Does that count?

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Fri 01-Nov-13 01:28:53

I used to walk past a brook on Hamstead Rd Birmingham on the way from nursery school with my mum.

And scream because I couldn,t go into the BOOK centre.

This Brook gave condoms to local sex workers.So thanks on their behalf.

SerialStudent Fri 01-Nov-13 00:56:44

Yes. I've been to Brook. They were amazing.

Jules26 Thu 31-Oct-13 18:03:33

Hope my message didn't make you think we didn't want more stories - please keep them coming! As said before they are really valuable to us, and will help us to shape our future.

Jules26 Thu 31-Oct-13 11:24:35

Hi, I'm Brook's Deputy Chief Exec and an intermittent mumsnet user and I wanted to say thank you to those who have told their stories already.

I also want to acknowledge that for a couple of you, your past experience was not so good and say sorry on Brook's behalf. Our 50th Birthday is a chance to look back at what's good in our history and at what we can learn that will take us into the next 50 years and, clearly, we would never want a young person to feel judged or pressured in the ways that both CoconutRing and something2say were.

I would be happy, if either of you would find it interesting or useful in any way, to invite you to visit today's Brook service and see how it has changed. Of course, you are almost certainly busy women with no time or interest in doing anything of the sort, which is fine, but I wanted to make sure you had that opportunity. something2say I'm not sure when your experience was, but if it was recent (ie last 5 years), will you contact me on with the details and I will investigate it straight away.

Once again, thanks to you all for your stories - good and bad. They are valuable to us and we appreciate your frankness.

CoconutRing Wed 30-Oct-13 20:14:18

I went to the Tottenham Court Road Brook clinic in the 80s. I was told I "had to have" an internal exam and a smear test before I could get the Pill.

I declined and I was offered counselling to help me "get over my fear of being touched". I had no fear of being touched! I was having lots of sex with my BF!

I didn't appreciate my birth control being held hostage until I had a exam and so I went to my GP who gave me a 12 month supply after taking my blood pressure.

something2say Wed 30-Oct-13 17:06:17

I went to Brook when I was about 16. The doctor, once I got in there, was very lovely. Warm, crinkly eyed, kind. However the receptionist said 'Brook?? Thought so; I can tell the type.' I wish I had known the phrase 'I beg your pardon??? How can I complain about you please?' Otherwise the Brook clinic was known as somewhere to go and see the lovely doctor lady.

Pegfreak Wed 30-Oct-13 11:50:23

It would have been about 30 years ago. I don't remember having a smear but then with my great advancing age I don't remember much nowadays. thlgrin

Why was that, Dino? In case you were pregnant already?

tweetytwat Wed 30-Oct-13 07:59:36

Peg, I wonder if you are about my age? I first went on the pill twenty years ago and it was very standard then that you would get three months of the pill but before you got any more you 'had to' have a smear and internal.
I haven't used Brook as they aren't in my area but I have signposted patients to them when I was nursing and I understand they are fabuloussmile

DinoSnores Wed 30-Oct-13 07:53:14

peg, was that recent or a longer time ago? It used be standard medical practice to do an internal exam before prescribing the pill.

Pegfreak Wed 30-Oct-13 07:10:21

The only time in my life I've had internal examinations is when I was getting the pill from Brook. I didn't even have any when I was pregnant. Why is that?

TotallyTeenMum Tue 29-Oct-13 15:53:08

When I found out I was pregnant at 17, in 2008, I was advised to contact Brook for in depth advise by a Connexions advisor. I chickened out of actually contacting anyone at the time because I thought that they would judge me. Fast forward to 2012 when I finally did get into contact with Brook as a young mum, and realised how wrong I hwd been before. Taking part in #youngmumschat on Twitter with Brook's CEO showed me that there were actually actually organisations out there who are there to help with out passing judgement. I've since done a bit of work with Brook on their quest to improving SRE in schools schools and I will always recommend their services to any young person that comes to me in need of support. I love Brook!

CarpeNoctem Tue 29-Oct-13 14:54:00

I went to Brook when I was 16 (back in 2001), after my GP refused to take me seriously and wouldn't fit me with a Mirena coil. It was at the Tottenham Court Road location which has since moved. Think I found the address in the back of a magazine or in a leaflet for teens. It wasn't local to me, but I remember sneaking out of school at lunchtime and taking the Central Line to the clinic. Not condoning truancy here, but I needed to get this sorted without my family knowing about it!

The doctor there was wonderful- she listened to me, addressed my concerns and spoke to me like an adult. She agreed to do the Mirena and I've been using that as my form of contraception ever since. I have good memories of Brook. They were supportive, non-judgemental, and empowered me to take control of making decisions about my own healthcare. Nearly 13 years later I can still remember the patient number they gave me! Thank you Brook smile

Heathcliffscathy Tue 29-Oct-13 10:25:03

Bumping this for the daytime massive

Heathcliffscathy Mon 28-Oct-13 20:21:40

god you two...big stuff.

Strumpetron Mon 28-Oct-13 19:51:10

I used to go a lot, and couldn't thank the people who worked there enough.

Never judgemental, never gave you 'the look'. Took you and helped you no matter what had happened. I've had STI tests, the pill, the implant, pregnancy tests and all sorts from them. Things I would have felt uncomfortable with in any other situation.

They also helped me at school. My school had 2 people from Brook who came every monday and helped us with whatever we needed. I will always remember the help they gave my friend, something that to this day she will never forget as, without going into too much detail, it saved her life.

So thankyou Brook, thankyou to you and your staff for helping us. For breaking down the barriers, enabling us whatever age to seek help in a safe, non judgemental environment.

PrincessFlirtyPants Mon 28-Oct-13 19:27:05

I used Brook for an STI check after I was raped. They were kind, respectful and gentle with me. I'll never forget the support they gave me when I feel like I had no where to go.

Heathcliffscathy Mon 28-Oct-13 19:24:25

I used Brook twice. I used them once in my teens (late 80s). It felt like my whole year at school (it wasn't, just felt like it) went up to Brook on Tottenham Ct Rd to get the pill...It was my first foray into an adult world of looking after myself really. I didn't want to go to the GP, I'd had a disastrous discussion with my mum about my sex life. I was nearly 16, it was love, I was with him until I was 19, we were both virgins but she did not approve at all, which I now understand. I felt like my mum and I went from being 'best friends' (in retrospect I'm not sure how healthy that was) to child and disapproving authority figure overnight. I'm not sure our relationship has ever recovered. I digress as I am wont to. However, her extreme reaction to my burgeoning sexuality was if anything, entrenching me in my decision: I needed contraception. Brook were kind, friendly, extremely respectful of me and of my wish for confidentiality. They didn't just hand me over the pill as I think my GP might have (and subsequently has!). They took time, asked me how I felt in my relationship, talked to me about the bigger picture in terms of starting to have sex. I felt listened to, and valued.
Fast forward to my early 20s and an unwanted pregnancy, he told me (in great, sociopathic in retrospect, detail) how he was infertile due to chicken pox in childhood (impossible). I bought it and was stupid enough (STI's anyone?) not to use contraception. We split up and then I discovered I was pregnant. Weirdly, the week before, my mother and I had had a conversation in which she had turned to me and said, 'If you ever got pregnant, you'd keep it woudln't you? I'd help you look after the baby.'
I felt I had no one I could talk to, I knew absolutely that I didn't want the pregnancy to continue and once again I turned to Brook. I had some amazing counselling through Brook, really looking at my options (including to keep the baby). I don't feel whoopidoo about the abortion that I had, but I know to this day that it was absolutely the right decision.
I should declare that I love Brook so much that I've ended up working for them!
Brook have been there for me in a massive way. There must be more of you out there....

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 28-Oct-13 16:40:11


We've got a request for you from Brook, the sexual health and wellbeing charity for young people.

Brook will be turning 50 next year, and, in their own words: "We're going to be celebrating 50 years of supporting, educating and empowering young people to make their own choices about their sexual health and wellbeing; 50 years of pushing the boundaries and creating choice; 50 years of free and accessible contraception; and 50 years of talking about sex, frankly and positively.'

In order to help celebrate their birthday, Brook are asking for your memories of Brook clinics and services through the ages. That could be a rite-of-passage trip to a Brook Advisory clinic in the 1980s, a story about using Brook to get condoms in the 1960s, or an experience of getting advice about pregnancy in the 2000s - and plenty more besides.

If you have a memory you'd be willing to share, please post it here on the thread, or get in touch with Brook at Brook can make stories anonymous if you'd like, and promise to treat whatever you tell them with respect.


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