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THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN: What is the challenge?

The topic that Kids Matter has most often been asked to discuss in resonse to coronavirus/lockdown is the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable children. We’ve found that the discussion naturally evolves into four different sub-topics, which we have formulated into questions: What is the need? What is the opportunity? What is the challenge? What can we do? As you might expect, there is a lot to say! So, we have created a four-part written series to answer these questions, with insights from Dr Eli Gardner – clinical psychologist and director at Kids Matter. This is the third in the series – What is the opportunity, a continuation of What is the need? and What is the opportunity?


Life is difference. If we cast our minds back to the eve of 2019, not many of us would ever have thought that 2020 would be quite like this. There’s no debate.

The changes wrought by Covid-19 are not the same for everyone; for those of us more fortunate, it’s about cancelled holidays, working from home rather than in an office, wearing masks, avoiding our friends and family, distancing ourselves on the street and no more handshakes, hugs and high-fives. None of which is particularly easy. For others, it’s about the immediate pressure of redundancy and potential unemployment; survival – it’s about literal, hand-to-mouth survival. And for many families in the UK, Covid-19 has merely exacerbated what was the status quo – poverty, loneliness, isolation and fear; hyperbolic fragility and chaos.

Never mitigating nor forgetting the actual virus itself, which at times seems like a silent enemy, there but also where? – dictating our lives from an invisible control pane. And other times its weight is crushing, as we mourn the loss of life and liberty in home, community and country.

It could be quite easy to turn inwards, managing our own turmoil as we figure out how to do ‘different’ in whatever context that might be. And many of us have done just that. How can we give of time, energy, resource even thought when we have no capacity to think beyond our own self preservation and that of our family? This is true. We cannot give what we do not have. But when does this truth become an excuse? At what point do we take a stand against our own mental fatigue?

We – you and I, the fortunate ones – are the challenge on the path to making a difference; our own ‘stuff’ that gets in the way of reaching out to those who are in desperate need. Of course our mental health and wellbeing is as critical as those who are vulnerable – absolutely! But chances are, if you’re ‘fortunate’, you will have the resources (people, money – a home and food, education, stability) to keep yourself, and your family, in check. But what about those who do not.

Another truth is that lives are at stake. The lives of children. The lives of parents. And the wellbeing of families. This matters.

Are you ready to take action? To continue this conversation – to figure out how we address the wellbeing of our most vulnerable children – one further question needs to be answered:

What can we do?

CLICK ON THE LINK to proceed with the discussion!

 

Kids Matter is a programme that engages with families and young children before crisis point – it strengthens families by giving mums and dads the tools to be competent, confident parents or caregivers. To get involved, as a volunteer or by financially supporting our programme, please contact us at info@kidsmatter.org.uk

Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

 

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