Youth Information Service Van in Catholic School Showdown

'Hi, I'll have a massive bag of condoms please. No flake, thanks...'
A part of the reason - among the many other facets of the State's incremental take-over of British society - that I believe we're headed for a dystopic situation in this country is the way in which central and local Government groom our children and feel it perfectly natural that the State should be the prime moral educators and indeed general educators of children.

The phrase 'to groom' is particularly apt for this blog post as well, because on my way home today from a local park, I saw a Brighton and Hove City Council 'Youth Information Bus'.

Standing a little further away from the vehicle than the little nipper pictured above, you could be forgiven for thinking Preston Park had an ice cream van. It's a sweltering day and I may have even considered a 99 with a flake myself, but on arrival at the scene, I realised the only things of different flavours available at this little van would be condoms.

So, what is a van manned by two Council workers with leaflets, some seating inside and an array of prophylactics doing in Preston Park? Well, the youth workers wait there inside or outside the 'youth bus' for young people coming back from their schools and colleges just in case they 'need a chat' with some youth workers.

Of course the 'service' involved here is one of State to child. So, young people want to talk about things that are bothering them. It could be bullying at school, it could be a sensitive issue at home, or it could be that the young person wants to talk about the fact they drink too much alcohol or something. Or, it could be that they just need to top up their 'C-Card' so that the youth can carry on having sex with whoever they happen to be having sex with, safe in the knowledge that condoms are a not entirely successful way of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.

So, naturally, with my eager Catholic blogger hat on, I approached the workers and asked whether they are involved in abortion referrals. For some reason, the idea of what resembles an ice cream van in a local park preying on young teenagers in order to get them into abortion clinics, I thought, would make for an interesting blog post. The workers replied that only GPs can refer abortions but that if someone approached them telling them they had an unwanted pregnancy and they wanted an abortion that they would be able to "signpost" that person to an abortion clinic. Personally, I thought that wasn't that much of a juicy story, but I did spy some leaflets in their windows from Brook, advertising their 'counselling services' to young people who just wanted a 'confidential chat' about issues that affect them. It's not a juicy story because we've all known for a long time how involved youth 'services' have been in State schools.

If anything, its a surreal, rather 'Big Brother' situation when the ice cream van is absent from the park but the condom van is regularly there waiting for children to come and pick from their selection. I was just about to leave when, astonishingly, the worker decided to voluntarily divulge extra 'information' of which I was certainly previously unaware.

Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove
The youth service worker decided told me that the Council's Youth Information Service (not to be confused with Connexions - who in Brighton, at least, - lost their funding) have been doing some work with the children of Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove.

I replied that what with the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception being what it is, that the fact they are doing this 'sexual health service' thing with Cardinal Newman is rather odd.

She replied that for that reason the 'youth information bus' is not allowed on the school premises. But, she added, instead they situate themselves about 100 - 200 yards away up the road near the Texaco garage, so that Catholic children can access their 'services'. So, naturally, I asked them how the school feel about that situation. The worker replied that the school are 'not unsupportive' of their work.

I wonder, how 'not supportive' of their work with Cardinal Newman's children would the school be if all the parents of Cardinal Newman children knew that there was a van distributing condoms to their children and 'signposting' their children for abortions? How 'not unsupportive' of the work of the youth information bus with Cardinal Newman children be if the Bishop was aware of it? How 'not unsupportive' would the school be if the presence of the bus just yards away from the Catholic High School with the school's tacit consent were a fact known by the Catholic Church on a local and even national level?

It appears to me that the fact that Cardinal Newman don't have the minibus on their premises but have no objections to the youth service's 'work' with Cardinal Newman children just yards down the road means that the school have a 'hear no evil, say no evil, speak no evil' policy towards the Council's 'safe sex' service. Of course, whether a Catholic Bishop with Crozier in hand and Mitre on head, whose chief 'safeguarding' job is to defend Catholic children from those who wish to destroy his little flock members body and soul would take the same view of this situation is perhaps a question which could be directed to His Lordship, once he is fully informed of these affairs. If I were in the Council's youth information service team, right now, I would be very, very worried, because I cannot imagine any Catholic Bishop being in any way happy about this situation in which the State is encroaching on the religion, morality and beliefs of Catholic schools, teachers, parents and, indeed, children.

You (and I) can contact Bishop Kieran Conry to alert His Lordship to this situation by emailing him at: and/or His Lordship's Secretary:

By all means, feel free to quote from this blogpost. Oh and do say a Hail Mary that the Youth Information Service bus gets told to clear off from preying on Catholic high school kids and young adults in Brighton and Hove. As a Catholic who may one day be a parent with a child at school, it would certainly worry me if the Catholic School in my local area did not engage in some kind of a showdown with the Council over this matter. After all, wasn't it the Council who recently cut the local bus transport service to Cardinal Newman Catholic School?


Left-footer said…
"Oh and do say a Hail Mary that the Youth Information Service bus gets told to clear off from preying on Catholic high school kids and young adults in Brighton and Hove."

I shall, and also (forgive me!) that it gets four punctured tyres, big-end problems, severe corrosion, and fails its M.O.T. Test.
umblepie said…
Thank you for this information. I have e-mailed an appropriate letter to his Eminence, Bishop Conry. Keep up the good work Laurence, and God bless you for it.
georgem said…
Um, the Diocese of A&B wesbite lists "Bishops House" (sic) as located in Upper Drive, Hove. Isn't this on the same road as the Cardinal Newman School and Cottesmore St Mary's Primary School?
Lynda said…
Well done! We all have a positive duty to protect our children from such predation. Shame on the school authorities. The parents need to be informed as well as the Bishop, as they have the primary responsibility for the moral safeguarding and education of their children.
Tonia Marshall said…
Great job!

For Catholic parents who would like to support CYIS in their work of grooming young people for the inevitable years of binge drinking and casual sex here are some tips from the parents at my sons former Catholic primary. Hopefully the parents at Cardinal Newman have a bit more sense.

1. Get your child watching the Simpsons by age 5, Top Gear (so they can speak like a man) by age 7 and The Hangover by 10.

2. Teach them to skull cordial (preferably in front of a group of friends chanting 'drink','drink').

3. Get them to join a sports team that treats anyone who 'scores' as a god.

4. Celebrate the end of the each school year with progressively more stupid activities such as getting their mates together so they can all ride their bikes off a pontoon into the sea.

5. Discuss which children in your child's class are hot or not with them.

6. Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach children how to flour bomb other peoples homes.

7. Above all, make sure they know how to fit in, or they're never going to get laid!
Anonymous said…
It sounds like one of those 'Jesus buses' you see in the West End. A sort of liberal evangelisation by the state.

The Bones said…
Bishop Kieran used to live in Bishops House in Hove but moved to a new place in Pease Pottage some years ago.
georgem said…
But is it still an admin office for the diocese, or has it closed down?
If the former, it still means that diocesan staff are a stone's throw from the van.
Simon Platt said…
Aptly enough, I found my way here tonight from Offerimus Tibi Domine, where Fr Henry quotes the Holy Father:

"We see how evil wishes to dominate the world ... We see how it does so ... masked with goodness and precisely this way destroying the moral foundations of society."
StickInTheMud said…
I live locally to Cardinal Newman. Having heard some of the CN students talk at some volume about their sexual activity, I'd say it was a relief that they are going to get some guidance about how to protect themselves from both disease and unwanted pregnancy. In truth, there isn't a great deal the school can do about a service that takes place outside their premises. After all, they are free to discriminate against people through their admissions policy and employment policy and indoctrinate children when called upon by the church. But it really must stop at the gates, no? The fact is that I'd prefer their version of turning a blind eye to that of Cardinal Sean Brady's any day. Call me a stick in the mud.
Steve Dooley said…
I imagine that the vast majority of the parents at most catholic secondary schools would not object to a sexual health education bus being available to their children, whether on or off or near the school premises.
The Bones said…
To both the last commenters, I would ask the question: Why do you accept the sexual activity of Cardinal Newman children so readily when Catholic schools were not only established to promote learning but also virtue and morality among the Catholic community in Brighton and Hove?

It sounds to me like you have abandoned the Catholic Faith and all that it stands for and that in the face of secular encroachment, instead of encouraging others to reject it, you simply accept it and welcome it.

That is not how the Church emerged into the World. It was by a radical new teaching of love of God and neighbour.
Bombadil said…
C-cards... Sounds a lot like the "Malthusian belts" of "A Brave New World"...
John said…
its bad that ppl disobey the pope, they shd obey the pope, he is voice of god on the earth, how can schools teach sumfing not 2 do wiv religion - its bad 4 society not to follow the pope - he dunt allow gays or muslims
Peter Simpstone said…
The Bones - the church may well advocate chastity but it cannot enforce it. The church wasn't able to enforce celibacy among it's own priests so it's hardly going to be successful with a load up hormone charged adolescents.

If some of the young adults at this school are sexually active then they should have appropriate information and protection. You seek to indirectly punish them for not conforming to your world-view by witholding it in the hope that god will smite them with infections, unwanted pregnancies and maybe death.
The Bones said…
I think you've missed the point of the post.

My point is that while obviously I subscribe to the Church's teaching, what concerns me more is that the State is taking on a parenting role of children to an excessive degree - even to the degree of overiding parents, teachers, schools themselves and the religion that all of these people adhere to - that is the Catholic religion.

You also fail to address the fact that condoms have a failure rate - and they don't protect children against herpes which I believe is shooting through the roof.

How you wish to raise your children is up to you. The Catholic Church and parents of these children should be able to raise their children according to Catholic beliefs wihout Big Brother stepping in to throw condoms at kids as they come out of school.
Mockery of the Sacraments said…
Hello Laurence England. I post on James Preece's blog "Catholic & Loving It" as Mockery of the Sacraments.

Surely state schools are a bigger issue with regard to the growth of the state than the Youth Information Service? Perhaps it would be better if the state was not allowed to educate children at all. I've often thought so.

With regard to the Youth Information Service, it seems to me that they would have nothing to offer faithful Catholic youngsters. If anyone from the Cardinal Newman is using the services of the YIS in earnest, it is a consequence of them not accepting church teachings. They have rejected Christ in a very real sense. That is surely the bigger deal.