Sexual health drop-in clinics operate in Student Services at Truro College, on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays, 11.30am -14.30pm, and in the Lamorna building at Penwith College, Student Services offer support and guidance. Any students can drop by without an appointment.
Sexual health advice, free pregnancy testing, free emergency contraception and STD testing are available, as well as general support and advice.
Students can register for a ‘C-Card’ that gives access to free condoms, with no appointment necessary. The College also gives advice and signposting as to where to go externally if necessary, outside of these drop-in times. The College works with the Brook clinic at Penhaligon House in the centre of Truro, which can give support Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and is available on 0300 303 0714.
“All our support is non-judgemental and everything’s confidential,” says Bud Byass, the Sexual Health Nurse at Truro College.
As well as the drop-in clinics, Bud gives tutorials, where tutors can book a talk during tutor time. “Often students come to see me after my tutor group talks, as they’ve already met me there,” she says.
Bud trained in Nursing at St Thomas Hospital in London, then worked for the ‘Save the Children Fund’ in Sudan, helping Ethiopian refugees in the 80s during the ‘Band Aid and ‘Live aid’ period, where the attention of the Western world was on helping the victims of the terrible Ethiopian famine.
She then went to Mount Edgecumbe Hospice as a staff nurse, then had midwifery training in Bristol. Next she worked at the Beacon Care Centre sexual health clinic in Falmouth, then started at Truro College.
Bud has been at the College almost 20 years and has given life-changing help, advice and services to thousands of young people during that time. She can see from 60 to 100 young people a month in her drop-in sessions. She also supports a clinic in Uganda, the ‘Pearl of Africa Child Care’ charity and the ‘Molly and Paul Childcare foundation,’ and goes to Uganda regularly.
“Student Services isn’t a strict place where students are afraid to go,” says Bud. “It’s accessible for all. When people see it’s so informal here, they’re fine. I’m not very frightening.
“It’s an amazing college in many ways. Schools don’t suit some young people. Here they get an opportunity to have another start. I like the acceptance of everyone, here. I like the broadness of the College, that everyone is mixing with all types of people, that’s what life’s about and it prepares you for the bigger world.
“I don’t think there’s many FE Colleges that have this type of support and have been so good for so long. The College should be very proud. I’m proud to work here.”
Bud’s tutor group talks also include a whole section on consent, informing students about healthy relationships and what consent really means and why it is so important. She says: “To give consent, you have to know what you really feel and think. It’s about building confidence and self-esteem, so you know you can make the decision you want. It’s about self-confidence.”