In a matter of days our world changed. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live our lives, perhaps forever. But with alarming figures around the number of young people living in poverty in Liverpool, and the rise in the number of young people suffering from mental health, Positive Futures Liverpool is calling on local communities and business leaders to not forget the invisible children of our city.
1 in 8 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder in the UK – that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom (NHS, 2018). And recent Government reports suggest that more than two in three children are living in poverty in parts of Merseyside. These figures do not take into account the knock-on effect of the pandemic and impacts of the current lock down, which is likely to see these figures increase further. In addition, NYA recently reported that there are over one million young people with known needs that have been amplified by the pandemic and an estimated two million young people with emerging needs triggered or caused by COVID-19. With these staggering statistics surrounding the well-being of children, youth services such as Positive Futures must do everything they can to be that vital life line for those most vulnerable young people who are living in our society.
In the immediate area surrounding Positive Futures Head Quarters in L4, Government figures state that 38.4% of children are living in poverty, this is compared to 18.1% nationally. This means that in addition to many families struggling to be able to afford things such as food, clothing and heating – many children are also currently cut off from society.
With schools and youth centres closed, young people are left without a lifeline to the outside world and without the helping hand of support services which they have come to rely on. This worrying reality has led Positive Futures Liverpool to launch the Invisible Children, Visible Child campaign.
The campaign aims to address the digital divide within our local community. It calls on our local community and business leaders to act now by donating unwanted and old tech, from mobile phones to laptops, dongles to sim cards – the Positive Futures team are calling on communities to help connect them to the invisible children within our community. Talking of the initiative Positive Futures CEO Clare Corran said;
“The startling truth is that right at this very moment, many young people are fighting their own invisible war. Whether they are battling with their mental health issues, trying to simply complete their school work or find enough food to survive, we can only begin to comprehend what they are going through.
“In a society where social media and online communication tools make it easy than ever to stay in touch, we are actually in a situation where this is alienating a whole group of our young people who simply cannot afford the devices which will give them a voice. This is why we have launched this campaign, because we believe that everyone deserves a chance, regardless of circumstances.”
The campaign, which launches on Monday 4 May will give everyone the opportunity to shine a light on those young people who are currently living in the shadows. It will help to unlock them from their own demons and give them the opportunity to speak to friends, family and professionals.