This year guardian and Observer The charity appeal aims to support young people whose lives have been devastated by Covid-19. The appeal has so far raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for three British youth charities, UK Youth, Young minds and Action group against child poverty. More than 7,000 readers have already donated. Here, six of them tell us why.
‘I felt that the world was my oyster, and now it is not like that for young people’
Jatinder Garcha, 42 years old
“When I went through school and university, I felt that whatever your background was, and I was of working-class Asian descent, you could do it,” says Jatinder Garcha. “In the 1990s, I felt very hopeful, like the world was my oyster. I don’t think young people feel that way now. “
Garcha grew up in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in the 1980s and 1990s, and has fond memories of the youth services that supported him.
“We used to have a Salvation Army that made a kids club. You would learn about arts and crafts, you would build things, you would do Christmas plays. I remember that I really appreciated that outing. It took you out of your normal life, ”says Garcha, who is now 42 years old and lives in Qatar, where he works as a purchasing manager for a department store. “With the closing of community centers and clubs, it’s harder for low-income people to get there. I hope that the call can make a difference in the lives of young people and also help give them hope.
“It is a very difficult time with Covid and unemployment is increasing. I benefited a lot from the school, the clubs and the system I went through; and I hope others can too. “
‘I want young people to see that others care’
Stephanie Brada, 66
For Stephanie Brada, the appeal was an opportunity to restore “hope to people’s lives.”
“I hope the appeal will allow for projects that allow young people to see that others care,” says Brada, who recently moved from Liverpool to London. “As someone approaching retirement, I regret the plight of young people just starting out.
“But, having been through several recessions, we have to give them hope that things will change. I graduated from a recession and work in the construction industry, which is always affected early and very badly. You have the feeling that you are stuck and that things are hopeless, but things go in cycles. Other people are more willing to help than you think, and things get better. “
‘Child poverty leaves scars for life’
Josephine Makepeace, 55
For Josephine Makepeace, who lives in Norwich, the appeal was a step forward in the fight against child poverty. “I lived in poverty as a child and it leaves me scars for life,” she says. “You feel so isolated, when your clothes are not as pretty as other children’s, when you have to put on your grandmother’s shoes because your family can’t afford to buy new ones, when you can’t invite friends over to your house like other children because you don’t have food and your house is in ruins. “
“No child should be poor. No child should be hungry. No child should be excluded because of the behavior or circumstances of their parents, ”adds Makepeace. “We have lost countless brilliant minds and creative talents to this shameful and completely unnecessary scourge of child poverty.”
‘These young people did not choose when they were born’
Carol Wood, 74
“I benefited from free college education, free health care, and a reasonable pension. I did not choose to be born in 1947; these young people did not choose when they were born, ”says Carol Wood, who lives near Bristol. “It is an accident of birth. When I was born, the vaccines came, the war was over and things were supposed to get better. I had a free education, including college, and I was able to get a job. It was all there while you worked for it. “
Wood says he fears that a struggling job market and expensive college education will leave young people unable to enjoy their youth. “As students in the 1960s, we had absolute confidence in the future, but it got a little ugly,” he says. “It should generate anxiety about how the future will unfold for them. It leads to a generational divide and I think we should all be together.
“I pass my good luck to the next generation.”
‘My younger cousins are really concerned about the impact on their exams’
Henna Patel, 34 years old
“BAME communities have suffered disproportionately during this pandemic and the burden on youth within these communities has been especially heavy,” says Henna Patel.
“Fortunately, no one in my immediate family has been affected, but family members who work on the front lines in hospitals, residences and schools have not had the option of working from home. The burden of essential workers has fallen on specific communities that tend to work in those positions. “
Patel, from Reading, Berkshire, says he hopes the Christmas appeal can offer support to young people struggling with their mental health as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“My younger cousins’ schooling has been disrupted and it has caused them to get very involved with politics, which is great, but they are really concerned about the impact on their exams,” says Patel. “Many young people have also been really affected by employment.
“My mental health has suffered a lot, and the existing problems have come to light,” he adds. “When I was younger, mental health was not something that was talked about, and that is still a problem within the BAME communities. When I saw the three charities, I thought it was very necessary to donate. Supporting youth mental health felt like a very good campaign. “
‘I wanted to support those who are struggling financially through the Covid crisis’
Huw Jones, 75
“I feel deeply for the young people who have suffered financially, so I am donating my unnecessary money for winter fuel,” says Huw Jones, a retired teacher who grew up in Wales and lives in London. “It has not affected me financially [by the coronavirus pandemic] to a great extent, and my wife and I have been very fortunate to have our company as well, ”he says. “But I know that young people have also been, emotionally, losing jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Their mental health is also at risk, and I want to help that age group. “
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