‘Giving back is important’: Young people helping others during the Covid pandemic

Joshua Neal with a cake he baked for Queen's Hospital staff. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

Joshua Neal with a cake he baked for Queen's Hospital staff. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation - Credit: Jack Petchey Foundation

Young people across east London have been involved in boosting community spirit during the pandemic, with more than half of those surveyed saying they have helped others during lockdown.

Fatma Torbas helped to gather and distribute care packages. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

Fatma Torbas helped to gather and distribute care packages. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation - Credit: Jack Petchey Foundation

The Jack Petchey Foundation carried out a survey of more than 6,000 young people from across London and Essex - including those from Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering, Newham and Tower Hamlets - about their life during the pandemic.

Questions were asked about their experience of the lockdown, what they wanted to see from a post-lockdown society and what opportunities they feel will help young people in the future.

It revealed that a quarter of those who responded went shopping on behalf of a vulnerable relative, neighbour or friend, while one in five provided care for a family member. A similar number helped out with childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

Eight per cent said that they volunteered with their school or youth group to run sessions online over lockdown, while 7pc volunteered with a local or national charity and 6pc helped deliver food and aid parcels in their area.


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The Jack Petchey Community Awards were set up earlier this year to honour 11 to 25-year-olds who were doing their bit for their community during the pandemic.

More than 500 young people were nominated for one of the awards and Fatma Torbas, 18, was among those to be recognised for her efforts during lockdown.

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She worked with fellow members of the 7th Newham Scouts to gather and distribute care packages to more than 250 families across east London.

Fatma said: “It makes me feel great as a person knowing that I’m giving back to my community and helping others in need during these difficult times.”

One of the youngest winners was 11-year-old Joshua Neal, who spent his spare time baking cakes which he delivered to staff at Queen’s Hospital in Romford along with tea, coffee and a thank you card.

He also worked with his family to gather donations of toiletries and hygiene products for the live-in staff at Saint Francis Hospice when he heard they were stuggling to get donations.

Joshua said: “I feel that giving back to the community is very important, especially in this difficult time and to be recognised for this is wonderful.”

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