By Simarjeet Kaur
Since November 2020 a group of enthusiastic young people have met each week over Zoom to re-tell Covid messages and guidance. Collaboratively, facilitated by Accord’s Hall Green Families Team, this group of young people formed the Youth Covid Challenge. Together they have challenged the very fact that government messages are tailored and directed to adults and professionals, often ignoring the needs of children and young people.
It’s easy to make assumptions about what our brewing next generations thinks, feels and accepts about this pandemic, but until we give them a platform and listen we will never truly know.
That’s why we developed the Youth Rules Lockdown 2021 competition which asked young people age 10 to 18 to tell us “how have you stayed safe and positive throughout the lockdown?”. We encouraged young people to share their experiences through art, words and digital media. We were blown away with the submissions, a mix of drawings, paintings, short stories, poems and even a comic!
“Phones make it easier to unite, regardless of culture. We’re all huddled in front of a screen suffering together”Cherry, Year 11.
“So, I read books over and over again. Living a different life each time. Because if I were to die, I would die having lived so many lives. And if I did not read, I would have to face the reality that some people just think they are words, but they are not, every book is a different life, a new beginning, and an unexpected end.”Tallulah, Year 8.
Young people are no longer missing out just because of historic funding cuts but even more so as a result of the pandemic. Schools, colleges and universities have been closed, there are a lack of training and apprenticeships, a loss of play and social engagement, loneliness, anxiety, worry, must I go on?
Thank you to NHS England Improvement team for their funding and guidance throughout this project. They have allowed Hall Green Families to create a platform to hear the missing voice of young people living or going to school in Hall Green, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Moseley, Kings Heath and Balsall Heath.
We will continue to work with young people to empower them to see their role in the road to recovery. Because there is a road out and not one that means they stay passive to Boris or any other rule maker. ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ is one step – for the rest we want to hear from them.
To see more Youth Rules Lockdown 2021 submissions click here.