Our Co-CEO, Jack Reynolds, was recently interviewed by the Guardian newspaper.‘One of the most striking features of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ Jack began, ‘was the light it had shone on pre-existing inequalities.’ In Jack’s view the pandemic ‘had hit the UK’s poorest communities hardest because the system in which they were living left them the least able to cope.’
Jack explained that young people who were struggling because they had relatively poor access to education before the pandemic sometimes had almost none now.
Households where several generations are living under one roof have found it especially difficult to get by. Jack cited one of the many (typical) examples that FBB has recently experienced.
In this a 13-year-old boy has a bunk bed immediately above one shared by his three-year-old and six-year-old brother. Because of positive tests the boy’s school has been closed for a lot of the year; learning from home has therefore become vital. But trying to find some quiet time in a busy house with younger siblings competing for bedroom space is far from easy.
‘Children from poorer backgrounds,’ Jack said, ‘were more likely to be living with their elderly relatives, meaning they sometimes had to effectively shield with them, rather than taking the risk of becoming infected at school and then bringing the virus home.’
Jack added that the mental stress many people were feeling could hit poorer communities harder. He gave the example of one young person who was already missing a day of school a week on average before the pandemic: ‘He’s now been pulled out to be home-schooled because his mother doesn’t think it’s safe for him to be in school any more.’
The piece which gives valuable national media coverage to the work that FBB does, concludes with Jack stating that
‘I think this link between economic inequalities and those emotional and mental health difficulties means that, more often than not, those young people with anxiety who have grown up in low-income households are now being seen pulled out of school ever more frequently.’ The article appeared in the Guardian edition of 15th December 2020.