Barrie Grunewald - Teen mums on decrease

Council leader 'Barrie Grunewald
Council leader 'Barrie Grunewald
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Good news on teenage pregnancies – with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of teenage pregnancies in St Helens has fallen for the third year running – mirroring a national trend.

In 2013 there were 106 under 18 conceptions, compared to 123 in the previous year and 147 in 2011. It’s the lowest figure locally since 2005.

In addition, the number of under 16 conceptions, which is measured on a rolling three year basis, has also fallen, with 88 pregnancies for 2011-2013, compared to 108 for 2010-2012 and 113 for 2009-2011.

Our figures are still significantly higher than the England and North West averages (24.3 and 27.6 per 1,000 respectively) but in recent years, teenage conceptions in St Helens have fallen at a faster rate than both national and regional values – and we’re committed to building on the positive work undertaken locally.

Reducing teenage pregnancy rates is not straightforward – it’s a complex area. Increasing aspirations among young people is the key to reducing risk-taking behaviours, while a new sexual health strategy has helped to link the work of the various partner agencies involved.

The strategy sets out a clear vision for improving the sexual health needs of young people in St Helens and there are many examples of work across the borough that support this agenda.

MORE proof last week that it really is better to switch when it comes to energy providers.

The Switch Together, Save Together campaign – which includes St Helens residents – has negotiated some amazing exclusive offers which are now available to all those who register.

Winning tariffs from e.on and Scottish Power average out at £877 a year - beating not only all other recent collectives – but all other tariffs in the market!

The campaign is organised by local charity, Energy Projects Plus, together with all the Merseyside local authorities and social housing providers.

An average home can save a whopping £428 a year. The last time a domestic energy tariff was at a lower price for average usage monthly direct debit customers was in November 2010.

I’d encourage more residents to take advantage of this scheme and see how much they can save.

You can see the offers as part of a full market comparison, and generate a personalised quotation to see how much you could save. Simply register before 19 March at www.lcrenergyswitch.co.uk or call freephone 0800 043 0151 to speak to an advisor.

FINALLY, well done to all those who took part in the St Helens 10k Run at the weekend.

Now in its fifth year, the increasingly popular event starts and finishes at Langtree Park.

No less than 2,000 people took part, many from other parts of the country, raising tens of thousands of pounds for local and national charities.

The race, organised by the Steve Prescott Foundation, was founded by the local sports legend himself.

Steve was a true hero in sport and in life. He was, and will remain, a St Helens legend. The St Helens 10k demonstrates all the incredible qualities that he was known for.