Ronnie Brown, our Philanthropy Director, looks at a new report “Bristol children and young people’s voluntary and community sector response to Covid 19” by Rachel Robinson from Learning Partnership West
The survey reveals the issues our young people face today, such as hunger and domestic abuse, and the cumulative impact these and other challenges are having on their lives and wellbeing. It also shines a light on the youth sector and what it needs to help young people through this crisis.
“This report echoes what we see every day and it will help focus attention on children and young people to have this evidence of the issues some of them face today, such as the threat of going hungry, living with domestic abuse and falling behind at school” says Ronnie Brown.
“These young people face the cumulative impact of mental health and neglect; the widening education gap; tightening household finances; family tensions; the impact of chronic neglect from many months confined to a home that is neither nurturing or secure; the shutdown of places offering respite such as schools and clubs; being cut off from learning through lack of technology to access online schooling; loss of relations with other young people and the respite provided by the extended family network as grandparents self-isolate.
“Amid this unfolding situation we’ve seen countless acts of kindness and solidarity so I wasn’t surprised to see the report highlight the personal strengths of the children, young people and families.
“The creativity and innovation shown by the youth sector gets special mention, and we saw this first- hand in mid-March as they responded overnight to this sudden crisis.
“Last year we highlighted the fragile state of youth sector support which has only been made worse over the past two months. It’s clear many of our young people are paying a heavy price as the coronavirus restrictions continue to severely disrupt their lives. I hope that we can generate new funding to tackle long-standing issues and get much better, long-term support for young people’s activities.
“From the outset our grants through the Coroanvirus Response Fund have been tackling these vital issues such as the grant to Hannah More Primary School, to help feed those struggling under the lockdown to a grant to Mentoring Plus who are helping young people whose wellbeing is affected by the current crisis.
“Many of our grants have been tackling these pressing needs since day one and we’ll use this report to help prioritise our grant-making in the coming months.”
If you’d like to join us in helping create a better future for these children and their families, please get in touch with Ronnie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Key report findings about the issues children, young people and families face today
· The organisations surveyed fear that a rise in family tensions, exacerbated by money problems, is giving rise to profound mental health issues. Organisations are expecting a massive rise in mental health issues as coronavirus restrictions continue.
· Younger children can’t always access online resources and need physical resources to play with
· Many families are affected by lack of access to technology and low/poor connectivity
· Children and young people eligible for free school meals are struggling to access the government’s voucher scheme and hunger is a real issue
· Our vulnerable children and young people are more exposed to risk as their places of safety diminish
· For our most vulnerable children and young people, online safeguarding is a huge issue.