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21 May 2012, 17:13
JLS visited a sexual health initiative in Nottingham during a flying visit of UK sexual health projects during National Condom Week today.
The band visited Beats and Brains, the brainchild of Nottingham City Council sex and relationship education worker Lucy Sheldon, during their short spell in Nottingham as part of this annual safer sex initiative, run by the world's leading condom brand, Durex.
JLS have a keen interest in delivering safer sex messages, having launched the Durex Just Love Safe range of condoms in 2010. Proceeds from sales of the condoms are ploughed into the band's charity, the JLS Foundation, which has to date pledged £125,000 to good causes, including young people's charity Brook.
Lucy Sheldon founded the project during a university placement with NHS Nottingham City's young people?s contraception and sexual health outreach team in 2008. It was her idea to produce a music CD focusing on exploring sexual health and relationship issues which has been distributed throughout youth clubs, schools and colleges across Nottingham.
In 2010 the project was awarded over £30,000 in funding and led to Lucy teaming up with internationally acclaimed, local, music producer Joe Buhdha and Tim Smith, founder of award winning, Nottingham-based film production company Fourmost Films.
The Trio worked together with over 30 local young people to create Beats and Brains' second production, a short film and music album entitled "Trust Me". Five thousand copies of this production were distributed and used as a teaching resource as part of sex education programmes in schools and youth provisions across the country.
The Beats and Brains initiative has been endorsed by high profile music artists such as Sean Paul, Wretch 32, Bashy and Kano, who all recorded messages for the CD relating to safer sex and positive relationships.
During their visit, Marvin, Aston, JB and Oritsé met Lucy and some of the young people who have worked on the project, watched the short film and listened to some of the music created as part of the project.
The group also took part in some creative sex education activities. Plans for 2012 include developing the project further to focus on the theme of domestic abuse in young people's relationships, given that one in four girls experience violence from a partner, according to new statistics from the NSPCC.
They are currently fundraising to create a trilogy of short films, create an accompanying music album, develop a Beats and Brains website and have 5,000 copies of the CD/DVD produced Lucy Sheldon said: "It is an enormous honour that both Durex and JLS have acknowledged the fantastic work of the young people involved in Beats and Brains. I am extremely happy that the project continues to create fantastic opportunities for the participants. I believe the success of the project is a direct result of the way in which the young people deliver their messages in a way that is real and relevant to their peers.
Oritsé from JLS said: "Working with Durex on great initiatives like National Condom Week enables us to meet great people like Lucy Sheldon, who have started great, real-life projects to help make a difference to young people?s lives. Using music to communicate safer sex message is a great way of reaching people. JLS salutes her!"