From mental health to digital poverty, young people across the borough have shared their thoughts and fears around the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Over 40 young people joined an online event with the Hackney Young Futures Commission last weekend called ‘Hackney’s Covid Conversation’, and was attended by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Hackney. The conversation was centred around how the current crisis is impacting the lives of young residents.
Young people raised a variety of issues affecting their lives including education and employment, health and wellbeing, the impact of domestic violence, digital poverty and the length of lockdown.
The online webinar was facilitated by youth-led charity My Life My Say and began with introductions by commission chairs Jermain Jackman and Shekeila Scarlett, followed by an open discussion around the question ‘What worries you the most about covid-19?’.
The Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor of Hackney, Anntoinette Bramble were both on hand to listen and respond directly as young people expressed what they were most anxious about.
One young person, aged 17 said: “I’m in sixth form and I’m worried about how we’re going to go back to school and continue like nothing has happened. Cramming a term’s learning into a few months will be stressful, our teachers will be stressed, the impact on year 12 going into year 13 will be big.”
Another recurring theme during the online conversation was the concern for older family members and family businesses.
One young person, aged 13 said: “My dad’s side of the family has underlying health issues, I’m scared that I could catch the virus and pass it onto my dad. There are still so many people outside all the time, and just not listening or thinking about others. Especially in London Fields”
The open conversation was followed by a Q&A with Mayor Glanville. Questions asked during this section ranged from youth-specific ‘When will youth clubs open again?’ to wider issues affecting the families of young people such as ‘How are the council dealing with housing issues?’
The online event concluded with a number of young people expressing their gratitude for a space where they could share their experiences and concerns.
Jermain Jackman, Hackney Young Futures Co-Chair said: “My fellow Chair Shekeila and I were very concerned that young people are a group often forgotten about in the various conversations surrounding Covid-19. And when they are spoken about it’s mainly in relation to education, which is a huge concern but equally they are going through so much more and the Commission really wanted to provide a space for them to be heard. We look forward to working with the Mayor and his Cabinet to create more spaces to amplify young people’s voices, especially during this time”