The Childhood Trust, London's Child Poverty Charity, has published a new report on the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for children living in poverty in the UK. They contacted children and their families living in poverty in London for whom the lockdown worsened the already existing challenges such as hunger, fear, isolation and stigma. Parallel to completing a research, they aslo started a campain to raise £3 million for 96 charities working in London, who are able to reach 170,000 children in need through their work.
In the report they name 6 areas, on which government and charity workers should focus when working with children living in poverty.
1. Emotional and Physical Abuse
Unfortunately, due to the problems brought by the economic crisis such as unemployment, children are more likely to witness violent behaviour at home, where at the moment they spend most of their time due to the lockdown. In some cases children can also become victims of such abuse and as they lack connection with teachers or coaches, it is harder to identify such cases.
2. Mental health concerns
The coronavirus crisis had a sever impact on children's mental health and the fear of becoming ill or loosing a loved one brought new forms of anxiety into their lives. Due to the lockdown they also lack connection with their social support groups (friends) and more frequently struggle with depression, anxiety or lonliness than other age groups.
3. Educational Learning Loss
The closing of schools had a harmful impact on disadvantaged children's educational development as they are often unable to acces the material because of the lack of available technological equipment at home or lack supervision and guidance in learning and a stable working environment at home. In the future this could lead to a bigger gap between children living in poverty and their advantaged peers.
4. Hunger and food security
With the closing of schools many children have been deprived from their only hot meal per day and the voucher system has not been able to act as an adequate substitute. Many families are facing even more sever economic challenges and with the ending of the voucher system food banks could be overwhelmed.
5. Homelessness and temporary housing risks
Social distancing has been impossible for those families who are experiencing homelessnes or live in temporary housing, with very little space for children to move around or play. Moreover, the shared kitchen and bathroom creates a higher hygiene risk for all those living in such facilities. Lastly, spending entire days in overcrowded places could mean detremental impacts on children's and young people's mental health as well.
6. Playtime and Well-being
In the recovery process playing and spending time with their peers and being outside will play a crucial role. The re-opening or starting of schools, youth clubs or libraries could also benefit children, who struggle to find peace at home.