Amongst the global Coronavirus pandemic there is little known about the immediate impact on young people’s health and wellbeing. Barnardo’s initiated their ‘Big Barnardo’s Conversation’ campaign in May 2020 in order to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people across the UK. In order to gather a localised understanding this consultation was adapted with the permission of Barnardo’s and the endorsements of both Leicester City and Leicestershire & Rutland’s Safeguarding Children Partnerships to enable Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to obtain timely localised data. Young people were invited to complete an online survey over 18 days (10/06/20 - 28/06/20) to enable the quick processing of results and potential service responses in the everchanging landscape. The age range was extended up to 25 years to include young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). Overall there were 676 responses to the survey: • Leicester – 455 • Leicestershire – 147 • Rutland – 74 We received 77 responses from young people identifying themselves as SEND. The average age of those completing the survey was 14 years.
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The majority of young people reported that they found talking to their friends and family the most helpful support during this time with very few accessing professional services. It is hoped that as restrictions begin to ease those experiencing negative emotions will be able to talk more with friends and wider family who do not live in their household.
Young people’s online activity naturally increased during lockdown, but there are concerns that a number stated seeing things that scared them more, young people could benefit from information on how to report concerns.
As we prepare to reopen schools and colleges fully it is worth noting that returning there is a big worry for young people, and messages of reassurance and involving young people fully in plans for return will help mitigate this.
Not learning enough has also been shared as a major worry, alongside worries for their future, such as getting a job. This is coupled with just under one fifth of young people worried about shops and businesses having to close. Young people may benefit from space to explore this with relevant professionals.
Young people have experienced a range of emotions during this time, young people have been able to express positive as well as negative feelings, however there has been an increase in negative and fewer positive emotions. Young people will need support as they return to normal live to explore this and to mitigate any long-lasting impact.
There is learning to be shared from time in lockdown, with young people stating the impact of coronavirus on their future being they will be able to bounce back from difficult situations, time should be spent exploring resilience and coping strategies that can be used in other aspects of their lives.
It is worth exploring if young people having trouble sleeping more is related to a loss of routine or a symptom of underlying worries and/or concerns.
Young people worried more about the happiness of their friends and family than their own.