Thematic funding spotlight: Children and Young People

Following the Big Night InChildren in Need is coordinating a sector wide response for children and young people affected by COVID-19.

As part of this work, they are setting up both pooled and aligned funds under a shared strategy to enable philanthropists and foundations to contribute collaboratively to the effort.

Based on a survey of its 3,000 portfolio grantees, Children in Need has identified the following needs:

  1. Increase in poverty and deprivation:
    Pre-Covid 19 there were 4.1 million children in poverty overall (30% of children). In some parts of the UK more than half of children are living in poverty. Nearly a million people applied for universal credit benefits over a fortnight in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic worsened.
  2. Worsening mental health and emotional wellbeing among those at risk:
    83% of young people (with mental health needs) said the pandemic had made their mental health problem “worse” ; while 26% who had been accessing support said they were not currently able to do so. There has also been a sharp rise in the number of calls to ChildLine.
  3. Lack of access to essentials for disabled children and their families:
    Nearly nine in 10 [89%] families said the health and wellbeing of their disabled or seriously ill children had been negatively affected as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, and almost three quarters of families [73%] have gone with without some essential household goods.
  4. Increasing incidence of domestic abuse and lack of services and support:
     of survivors who are currently experiencing abuse said it has got worse since Covid-19 and 72% said their abuser had more control over their life. 80% of survivors, who previously had been supported through face-to-face informal networks, said this had stopped completely or decreased.
  5. Anxiety about bereavement and anticipated need for more grief counselling:
    BBC Children in Need
     projects are witnessing increased anxiety levels amongst children who have already experienced loss or have a seriously ill family member. Some projects are already supporting children bereaved due to a Covid-19 related death. There is an anticipation of a significant rise in demand as the number of deaths increases. How children cope with, understand and manage grief will be impacted, as the usual ways people grieve and say goodbye will change.

In response, Children in Need is leading a consultation that will include government, third sector organisations and funders (including trusts and foundations, philanthropists and corporate funders).

The aim is to develop a strategic vision for how funders can collaborate to address critical needs of children and young people across the relief, recovery and resilience phases of the COVID-19 crisis.

The consultation will consider the roles different funders can play to address the following challenges and opportunities:

  • Connecting to those seldom reached and marginalised: identifying gaps in provision and how to address these.
  • Connectivity and collaboration: there have been fast paced connections and collaborations between funders with potential for further development.
  • Data and resource sharing across the sector: infrastructure organisations are already starting to share expertise and tools for free.
  • Innovation: there is the opportunity to innovate and respond, e.g. systemic approaches
  • Mobilisation to digital delivery: support and the resources to do this effectively are needed.
  • A spotlight on inequality: highlighting the challenges for the most vulnerable in society and the importance of community support

The aim is to use the period of social change brought about by COVID-19 to explore how new forms of partnership can meet the needs of children and young people more effectively both during and after the pandemic.

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