A YouGov poll on behalf of BBC Children in Need shed light on the impact of recent events on children and young people across Britain.
The survey took place six months after the UK went into the first lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and offers an insight into the issues that matter most to young people and their hopes for the future.
It came ahead of the annual BBC Children in Need event, which sees people across the UK raising millions of pounds. This year Children in Need is celebrating its 40th anniversary and the popular live show will take place on November 13.
The nationwide survey of 831 parents and 697 children and young people respectively revealed:
n Ninety-four per cent of children and young people have had cause to feel worried, sad or anxious in the last six months.
n More than half of parents (54 per cent) felt lockdown had a negative effect on their child’s overall happiness and wellbeing and 52 percent of children and young people said they felt more lonely during the past six months than they did before lockdown.
n Six months after lockdown, nearly half (45 per cent) of parents felt their child displayed more feelings of worry or anxiety than they did before and more than half of parents (58 per cent) felt the events of the last six months (since lockdown) will have a negative effect on their child’s future career and education prospects.
n Three in ten children and young people (30 per cent) felt it would be harder to get the job or career they want after the pandemic
n When asked about the issues which mattered most to them, over half of children and young people (59 per cent) selected racism as an issue that was important to them personally. Climate change/global warming was also a concern, with 56 percent stating that this was important to them.
n In terms of their hopes for the future, having a happy life is most important to children and parents alike. 74 per cent of children wished for a happy life and 57 per cent also said getting a good job was important to them.
n When asked about their one greatest wish for their child’s future, 66 percent of parents said their child having a happy life was most important, followed by them enjoying good health, while 20 per cent of parents said that was their greatest wish for their child.
BBC Children in Need’s 2020 campaign aims to inspire the nation to show their support for children and young people facing disadvantage across the UK, and demonstrate that Together, we can make a difference to young lives at this time of urgent need.
Simon Antrobus, BBC Children in Need’s chief executive, said: “This research is a clear indication that our work here at BBC Children in Need and this year’s Appeal has never been more needed than right here, right now.
“Whilst everyone has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, this research highlights the enormous and profound impact recent events have had on the UK’s children and young people. It’s incredibly tough growing up in such uncertainty and for many children and young people already vulnerable or at risk, life during the pandemic has become even harder. And, sadly, we are not through it yet.
“Here at BBC Children in Need we are totally focused on helping and supporting children and young people during these uncertain times and we know too that through the kindness and generosity of our supporters that together, we can collectively help children and young people overcome their challenges and be the best they can be.”
In the children’s poll, 52 per cent of children and young people said they felt more lonely that they did before lockdown, with 62 per cent of children and young people saying they felt worried, sad or anxious over the last six months due to missing seeing friends, teachers and classmates, whilst nearly half (48 per cent) of parents said that their child displays more feelings of worry or anxiety than they did before lockdown.
BBC Children in Need currently funds 212 local charities and projects across the UK who are supporting children and young people struggling with their mental wellbeing and in the last six months alone has awarded funding totalling £1.2million to projects supporting children and young people facing mental health issues through the charity’s Covid-19 response programmes.
The charity said money raised through this year’s Appeal would go on to support children and young people facing a range of disadvantages across the UK, including those who are struggling with their mental wellbeing or the impact of loneliness and isolation.
Children in Need also funds 1,294 local charities and projects across the UK who are supporting children and young people affected by poverty and deprivation and in the last six months alone has awarded funding totalling £3.7million to projects supporting children and young people affected by poverty through the charity’s Covid-19 response programmes.
One of its primary aims is to support children and young people to reach their full potential, and money raised through this year’s appeal will help support disadvantaged children and young people to achieve their goals.
Rosie Millard, chairman of BBC Children in Need, said: “Throughout the crisis BBC Children in Need has demonstrated what an effective and inspiring charity it is.
“We have targeted funds to reach children and young people throughout the country, providing essential support to children in crisis, children who are anxious, lonely or afraid and children in families who have been plunged into poverty.
“Through its incredible generosity the public continues to show how trusted BBC Children in Need is. I know people will respond magnificently once again in our forthcoming Appeal, because they know we really can transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people, now more than ever.”
The message from BBC Children in Need is that 2020 has brought a number of challenges.
Fundraising has become harder but the need is greater, so the charity is calling on the pubic to dig deep and help provide extra support.