young people in a park

Cost of living crisis has negatively impacted half of young people’s mental health in London

A survey from one leading UK youth charity found that half of young people in London have had their mental health negatively impacted by the cost of living crisis.

The polling from UK Youth, which was carried out on 16-25 year olds in Greater London, also revealed a number of concerns around loneliness, home heating and access to food.

UK Youth is focused on supporting young people in the UK with an open network of more than 8000 youth organisations and nation partners.

The UK’s cost of living crisis refers to the fall in ‘real’ disposable incomes since late 2021 caused by a number of coinciding factors, such as the war in Ukraine and ongoing economic problems following Covid-19.

Chief Executive of UK Youth, Ndidi Okezie OBE, said: “These figures must be a wake-up call for our country. Our young people are struggling in the face of the cost of living crisis and they need help. 

“Youth organisations, who provide essential support to young people, are also on their knees. The situation cannot be allowed to continue as it is.”

A separate UK Youth survey found nearly two-thirds of youth organisations (63%) are seeing increased demand for services from young people, with a similar figure (67%) facing increased operating costs.

According to UK Youth, more than eight in ten young people (82%) in London are concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on their ability to get a secure job now and in the future.

More than eight in ten parents (84%) worry that the cost of living crisis will impact their child’s future with almost three-quarters of those concerned (74%) believing better or increased access to youth work would help.

UK Youth, which launched a new £5m grant fund last February in partnership with Pears Foundation to support youth organisations through the cost of living crisis, is calling for greater government investment into young people.

Code 7 Ltd is one youth organisation to have been awarded a grant of £17,000 a year for three years by the charity to help it cope with the cost of living crisis.

Its CEO Peter St Aubyn, said: “We are doing our best to support as many young people and families as possible but council services are shrinking and people need us more than ever.

“One mother told us the other day that one of her child’s socks went missing in the wash and she can’t afford to buy a new pair.

“It seems like a small thing but to be a child who can’t go to school in matching socks is a shocking indication of where things are.”

Marian Spiers, Director of the Dost Centre, which has been awarded £8,300 a year for three years by UK Youth, said: “We spend twice what we used to on food to accommodate the growing numbers.

“We are also seeing more and more young people coming to us, which means more staff and more resources.”

UK Youth claims there has been a decade of cuts to the sector, with local authorities spending 77% less on youth services, a £1bn real terms decrease, leading to the closure of hundreds of youth clubs and the loss of thousands of highly skilled youth work jobs.

The charity is urging the government—together with local councils, businesses and community funders—to guarantee quality youth work provision for young people across the UK.

Featured image credit: Kojot333, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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