Young people share pandemic experience with East Ham MP

Stephen Timms attends meeting to hear how young people have experienced Covid-19

East Ham MP Stephen Timms was amongst those in attendance at a recent meeting organised by the Jack Petchey Foundation to learn more about how young people have experienced the pandemic. - Credit: Alice Clarke

The MP for East Ham has received a unique insight into the issues currently facing young people, thanks to a meeting organised by the Jack Petchey Foundation. 

Stephen Timms was invited onto the video call - featuring 10 young people - to discuss the findings of the charity's recent Covid-19 Youth survey, which revealed how this group has experienced every facet of the past year. 

The survey canvassed the opinion of more than 6,000 people, getting their thoughts on the issues that affect them now, and the opportunities they want in the future. 

Education - understandably, given the level of disruption - was a big focus within the survey, the findings of which revealed that three quarters of young people miss going to school. 

Not only did many feel that loss, but a third said they didn't have the resources to study at home adequately. 

Proving that school goes beyond learning, it was found that a fifth of young people have reached out to a teacher for emotional support during lockdown. 

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Employment, to which a good education is considered the gateway, was also a worry for those surveyed. 

The feeling - amongst two thirds of young people - was that Covid-19 could impact future job opportunities, with more than half (53pc) vying for more career advice, internships and work experience. 

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These findings were all discussed at the meeting, which the foundation's chief executive officer Trudy Kilcullen felt was essential: "Covid-19 has impacted on every member of society; however the impact on young people’s futures will be long lasting.

"It is important that their voices be at the centre of decisions influencing our recovery as we rebuild a positive and constructive future for the UK.”

Mr Timms shares the view that young people must be heard, adding that he will be "very interested to learn the findings of the new survey, about how catching up should be supported after this year of disruption".

The MP is referring to the School Catch Up Survey, in which 5297 young people offered their views on how the government should help to make up for education lost. 

Since being founded in 1999, the foundation has supported more than 2000 initiatives for young people, investing £133million-plus in the process. 

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