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BBC Children in Need launches its 2021 fundraising appeal as new survey highlights childrens’ feelings about the future and parents’ worries for their children

Tuesday 12 October 2021 – To launch BBC Children in Need’s 2021 fundraising Appeal – Together, We Can – a Censuswide poll on behalf of BBC Children in Need has shed light on the impact of the past eighteen months on the lives of children and young people across the UK. The survey also offers insight into the how positive children and young people feel about their futures and explores issues relating to poverty, disability and mental health.

The UK-wide survey of 1008 parents and 1000 children and young people respectively reveals that:

  • Nearly three quarters of parents surveyed (73%) worry about the impact of the pandemic on their children. In addition, 73% of parents believe children and young people will be worse off in general as a result of the pandemic whilst 77% of parents believe children and young people across the UK are facing greater disadvantages because of the pandemic
  • 1 in 3 children surveyed feel their lives have become worse over the past eighteen months (33%)
  • Just over 1 in 5 children and young people often feel sad (22%), 1 in 3 often feel anxious (35%) and 1 in 3 often feel worried about their future (36%).
  • Over 70% of parents surveyed underestimated the number of children and young people living in poverty in the UK
  • Two-thirds of parents (67%) believe it is difficult to get support for children’s mental health issues at the present time and over half (52%) believe it is too difficult to get support for a disabled child
  • Over 1 in 3 parents surveyed (38%) do not have any savings in case of an emergency or an unexpected bill or expense
  • Just over 1 in 5 parents worry every day about being able to provide for their family (23%)

The online surveys of 1008 parents with children aged 11-18 years old* and 1000 children aged 11 – 18 years old** were carried out by Censuswide on behalf of BBC Children in Need to launch the charity’s 2021 Together, We Can fundraising campaign. BBC Children in Need’s 2021 campaign aims to inspire the nation to show their support for children and young people facing disadvantage across the UK, and demonstrate that Together, we can make a difference to young lives.

BBC Children in Need’s survey highlights the impact of recent events on children and young people. The survey revealed that three quarters of parents surveyed (73%) worry about the impact of the pandemic on their children, 73% of parents believe children and young people will be worse off in general as a result of the pandemic whilst 77% of parents feel that children and young people across the UK are facing greater disadvantages because of the pandemic. Thanks to the generosity of the British public, BBC Children in Need is currently funding over 2,500 local charities and projects across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages. Funds raised through BBC Children in Need’s 2021 Appeal will support disadvantaged children and young people in communities right across the UK, at a time when this help is needed more than ever.

As part of BBC Children in Need’s 2021 fundraising launch, celebrities including Ade Adepitan MBE, Giovanna Fletcher, Ella Henderson, Professor Green, Lady Leshurr, Nikki Lilly and Joe Wicks MBE came together to powerfully share their personal experiences relating to issues such as mental health, poverty, disability and bereavement, with the aim of showing children and young people facing disadvantage that they’re not alone and give them hope that things can get better.  In a year that has left lasting effects on the lives of children and young people across the UK, the short films aim to provide advice, reassurance and hope for those facing unimaginable challenges, reinforcing the message that together, we can show children and young people that there are better days ahead.

The survey highlighted that 1 in 3 children surveyed often feel anxious (35%), whilst 1 in 3 often feel worried about their future (36%) and a further 1 in 5 (22%) often feel sad. Additionally, the research highlighted disparities between children and young people from less affluent (C2DE) backgrounds, versus those from higher-earning (ABC1) households.  Children and young people from poorer backgrounds reported feeling much less positive about their futures (38% vs 73% of children and young people from more affluent households), and were also less confident that they would secure their dream job in the future (33% vs 66%).  One of BBC Children in Need’s primary aims is to support children and young people to reach their full potential whilst raising their confidence and aspirations, and money raised through this year’s Appeal will help support disadvantaged children and young people to achieve their goals.

Over 70% of parents surveyed underestimated the number of children and young people living in poverty in the UK. The survey also revealed that nearly a third of parents surveyed (30%) say they and their family do not have any savings in case of an emergency or an unexpected bill or expense and that over one third of parents find it difficult to make ends meet each month (39%). With over 4 million children living in poverty in the UK, the impact of Covid-19 has left children and young people across the UK facing increased financial uncertainty and hardship. Thanks to the support of fundraisers across the UK, BBC Children in Need is currently funding 1,200 projects supporting children and young people impacted by poverty and deprivation to a value of £69m.

In his film, Professor Green spoke of the challenges he faced in childhood, saying: “When I was a kid, the phrase ‘mental health’ wasn’t something that you heard anywhere. There was no help really, and I didn’t know how to ask for it because I didn’t really understand what I was feeling myself.” Professor Green also offered some words of advice to others facing challenges relating to poverty and mental health:  “You are resilient and you are strong. Open up and tell someone how you’re feeling. Do not suffer in silence. Never suffer in silence.”

The charity’s survey highlighted that 2 in 3 parents surveyed (67%) believe it is too difficult to get support for children’s mental health issues at the present time and showed that 44% of parents underestimate the number of school age children and young people with mental health issues in the UK, with one in six now affected. Facing increased worry and uncertainty, children’s mental health has been drastically impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, but thanks to donations from the UK public, BBC Children in Need is currently funding 1,500 projects supporting children and young people across the UK with their emotional wellbeing and mental health to a value of £97m.

Ella Henderson also spoke of a time in her life when she struggled with her mental health, and offered a message of hope to others struggling, saying: “You are not alone. It sounds so clichéd to say, but every day might not be perfect, every day might be tough at first, but it does get better, I promise you that.”

BBC Children in Need’s survey revealed that over half of parents surveyed (52%) believe it is too difficult to get support for a disabled child at the present time, in addition, nearly a third (32%) of parents underestimate the number of disabled children and young people in the UK (8% of children in the UK are disabled). The Covid-19 crisis has left lasting effects on the lives of disabled children and young people who have been severely affected by reduced access to key social activities, but thanks to donations from the UK public, BBC Children in Need is currently funding 700 projects supporting disabled children and young people across the UK to a value of £37m.

As part of this year’s campaign, Ade Adepitan MBE reflected on living with a disability and how support from BBC Children in Need made a difference to his childhood, saying: “BBC Children in Need put money towards one of my first basketball wheelchairs and it totally changed my life. I probably wouldn’t have achieved half the things that I’ve done in my life if it wasn’t for that chair and if it wasn’t for BBC Children in Need. Together, we can help more children and young people across the UK realise their dreams.”

The Covid-19 crisis has sadly left many children and young people across the UK facing the complexities of bereavement, but thanks to donations from the UK public, BBC Children in Need is currently funding 80 projects supporting bereaved children and young people across the UK to a value of £6m.

In another film, Lady Leshurr reflected on the grief she faced when she lost her sister and shared  advice for those who have suffered a bereavement, saying: “You need to have an outlet, whether it’s writing it down in a piece of paper, poetry or just a diary. And you need to speak to people, express and get it out, because once you’ve got out, you feel so much lighter. Try to heal and always talk to people.”

Another powerful film shows Nikki Lilly sharing what life is like living with a chronic illness, and the advice she would give to others facing similar challenges. Nikki said: “It’s really lonely living with chronic illness, and it’s really hard. You’re constantly living with that anxiety of what the next day is going to be like.  It really helps speaking to someone. If you are struggling you will be able to find help and they will be able to help you find the light at the end of the tunnel.”

In Joe Wicks MBE’s film, Joe reflected on his childhood, saying: “As a child, I grew up in a household with two parents who both experienced mental health issues and as a young kid, I was scared and confused. There are millions of children across the UK living with parents with mental health issues and you’re not alone. It’s not your fault and things are going to get better, that’s the most important thing to know, that however you’re feeling today, it’s temporary. Together, we can help children and young people across the UK know that they are not alone, and that we are here for them.”

Alongside the words of advice and support offered by BBC Children in Need’s celebrity supporters, the charity’s survey revealed how children themselves get through bad days, and what advice they would offer to friends who are struggling, revealing:

The top five things that help children surveyed when they are having a bad day include listening to music (47%), talking to friends (39%), watching TV or a film (38%), talking to family (36%) or playing a video game (31%)
The top five ways children help a friend having a hard day include listening to them (53%), asking if they want to talk about it (43%), telling them everything will be ok (31%), giving them advice (30%) and asking them if they want to go out or do something fun (29%)

The top five recommendations from children to a friend having a hard day include advising them to talk to friends (50%), advising them to talk to family (46%), suggesting they listen to music (37%), recommending they get a hug from someone kind (31%) and advising them to go for a walk (30%)

BBC Children in Need’s Chief Executive, Simon Antrobus said: “Our research clearly shows that the lasting effects of the pandemic are continuing to impact the lives of children and young people across the UK. As a charity, we want to ensure no child feels alone and that every child is supported to thrive and be the best they can be. We hope our supporters unite once again to show children and young people that there is hope, and that despite the challenges they may be facing, we will be right behind them.  Together, we really can change young lives and bring hope for the future.”

BBC Children in Need hopes to inspire the nation to get fundraising to help make a difference at time when it is needed most. BBC Children in Need’s official 2021 fundraising pack is available to download now from bbcchildreninneed.co.uk and is bursting with ideas to inspire Together, we can fundraising ahead of the charity’s 2021 Appeal show on Friday 19 November.

To find out more, please go to bbcchildreninneed.co.uk

~ENDS~

Individual films featuring Ade Adepitan MBE, Giovanna Fletcher, Professor Green, Lady Leshurr, Nikki Lilly and Joe Wicks MBE can be found here

Group film featuring Ade Adepitan MBE, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Giovanna Fletcher, Professor Green, Ella Henderson, Lady Leshurr, Nikki Lilly, Katie Piper, Laura Whitmore and Joe Wicks MBE can be found here

Images featuring Ade Adepitan MBE, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Giovanna Fletcher, Professor Green, Rickie Haywood-Williams, Ella Henderson, Lady Leshurr, Nikki Lilly, Janette Manrara, Melvin Odoom, Ore Oduba, Katie Piper, Anita Rani, Laura Whitmore and Joe Wicks MBE can be found here

For more information please contact: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Censuswide.  Total sample size was 1008 parents who have children aged 11-18. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th September – 1st October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Censuswide.  Total sample size was 1000 children aged 11 to 18. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th September – 1st October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK children (aged 11 to 18).

BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every child in the UK has a safe, happy and secure childhood and the chance to reach their potential.  The charity will realise this vision by supporting, promoting and publicising work that addresses the challenges that children and young people face and work that builds their skills and resilience.

BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 2,500 local charities and projects in communities across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.

Further information on BBC Children in Need can be found at bbcchildreninneed.co.uk 

Twitter: @BBCCiN
Facebook: @bbcchildreninneed
Instagram: @BBCCiN

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