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Moondance in Rochester hands out free pregnancy tests to raise awareness of FASD

ByKatie May Nelson

Taking a pregnancy test may not be something you think of doing before heading for a night on the town.

But a campaign has begun to get women in the Medway to do just that.

From left, Sara Frost, volunteer and Sharon Jackson, Organiser, outside the toilets in the Moondance Bar Rochester promoting pregnancy testing kits at the launch of their free pregnancy testing campaign. Picture: John Westhrop.. (16329539)
From left, Sara Frost, volunteer and Sharon Jackson, Organiser, outside the toilets in the Moondance Bar Rochester promoting pregnancy testing kits at the launch of their free pregnancy testing campaign. Picture: John Westhrop.. (16329539)

Think Before You Drink, which is being run by Much Laughter CIC, aims to encourage women to ensure they aren’t pregnant before they consume alcohol in order to avoid Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD).

FASD is a diagnostic term which refers to the mental and physical problems that can develop in a baby if a woman drinks alcohol while they are pregnant.

Up to 17% of children in the UK could have symptoms consistent with FASD, and the UK has the fourth-highest level of prenatal alcohol use in the world.

Children who have FASD may suffer associated traits such as autism, ADHD and mental health problems.

On International FASD Awareness Day on Monday, September 9, Much Laughter CIC held an event at Moondance in Rochester High Street.

From left front, Sara Frost, volunteer and Sharon Jackson, Organiser with her husband Paul and their son, Andy (suffered from FASD Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and Randy "B" at the Moondance Bar Rochester promoting pregnancy testing kits at the launch of their free pregnancy testing campaign. Picture: John Westhrop.. (16329672)
From left front, Sara Frost, volunteer and Sharon Jackson, Organiser with her husband Paul and their son, Andy (suffered from FASD Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and Randy "B" at the Moondance Bar Rochester promoting pregnancy testing kits at the launch of their free pregnancy testing campaign. Picture: John Westhrop.. (16329672)

The 1920s-themed bar will now be supplying free pregnancy tests as part of the campaign.

Sharon Jackson, who runs Much Laughter CIC, said: “What we want to do is to get free pregnancy testing kits in every pub and nightclub with leaflets and posters on the back of doors.

“One of the reasons women drink while they’re pregnant is because they don’t know they are pregnant.

“We want to say to people, ‘If you’re just out for a good night out, just have a quick pregnancy test’. It’s only a wee on a stick and it will just let you know.”

Sharon, who has been nominated for a Pride in Medway Award, has been raising awareness of the condition after adopting five children from two different families who have FASD.

51 High Street that is to open asMoondance inRochester.Picture: Chris Davey. (9235251)
51 High Street that is to open asMoondance inRochester.Picture: Chris Davey. (9235251)

The Jacob’s Lane, Hoo resident has attended meetings in Parliament to speak about the impact of the condition on people and runs regular comedy nights raising awareness of FASD and money for local charities.

“I was speaking to someone the other day who said they were six weeks into their pregnancy before they even knew they were pregnant, but then they stopped immediately.

“It’s trying to get rid of the stigma, it could happen to any of us.”

She is trying to get other pubs and clubs in the Towns to sign up to the scheme.

  • Much Laughter CIC is holding a charity football match at Brompton Academy, Marlborough Road, Gillingham, today (Saturday

A team of comedians will be playing against the Anchorians Equal disability team.

Kick off is at 2pm.

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