Tea dances and condoms – PACE clinic marks 25 years

ots-dgh Chris Mavis in Eighties 1 southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Tea dances and condoms – PACE clinic marks 25 years

Twenty-five years of great care at a trail-blazing sexual health clinic were marked with a celebration for staff past and present.

The PACE clinic at Bootle Medical Centre, Park Road, was officially opened in 1988 in Knowsley Road to address high rates of teenage pregnancy and terminations in the town. It was one of three funded by the Government, the others being in Hackney, east London, and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

Among the guests at the celebration were two of PACE’s original staff, health promotion worker Chris Davies, of Wavertree, Liverpool, and administrator Mavis Ferguson, of Litherland in Bootle.

Picture above Trust chief executive Jonathan Parry with Mavis Ferguson, left, and Chris Davies holding a picture of themselves working at PACE in the late Eighties

Now both retired, they recall the clinic caused controversy in some quarters when it first opened, even prompting a question to be asked in the House of Commons.

“At first some local people were apprehensive,” said Mavis. “We were based in a community centre and there were all these pensioners having tea dances and bingo, and then we arrived giving condoms out. We had lots of meetings and eventually we all got along great. They understood we were there to educate young people.”

PACE, which stands for pregnancy, advice, contraception and education, has undergone numerous management and funding changes over the years, and moved home more than once. At one time it was housed in a converted shipping container.

It now gives sexual health advice to all young people under 25 and is managed by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust which provides sexual health services across Sefton and West Lancashire, including a consultant-led genito-urinary medicine service at Southport hospital.

Chief Executive Jonathan Parry told staff: “Twenty-five years is a tremendous achievement and PACE has proved to be a fantastic addition to the family of health services the Trust provides.”

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Maureen Fearn, also attended the event and cut a cake to mark PACE’s anniversary.

ots-dgh Chris Mavis in Eighties southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0

Picture above Chris Davies, left, and Mavis Ferguson working at PACE in the late Eighties

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