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New report highlights COVID-19 effect on disadvantaged households in West Cumbria

Research from West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum and University of Central Lancashire underlines family and poverty issues caused by coronavirus lockdown

Families from disadvantaged households will suffer the most from the consequences of COVID-19, whilst many more families will fall into poverty, according to a new report published today, 29 May.

The West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum (WCCPF) has worked with the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Suzanne Wilson to analyse the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on children and young people, particularly those in poverty or who are otherwise vulnerable, in West Cumbria.

The findings reveal concerns about the impact the lockdown measures have had on children’s education.

Many families in poverty face barriers to accessing the resources to facilitate a good quality education from home, and children are missing the conversational component of face-to-face teaching.

Lack of referrals to supportive services during lockdown has raised concerns about the emotional wellbeing, and in some cases, the physical safety of some vulnerable children and young people.

The report also found that many families in West Cumbria were living on the edge with few resources before Covid-19 but the current crisis is revealing the extent of the hardship experienced. Families from disadvantaged households will suffer the most from the consequences of Covid-19, whilst many more families are likely to fall into poverty.

Suzanne, a Research Fellow in Social Inclusion and Community Engagement at UCLan, said: “Times are still very uncertain but we hope that this research gives the local authorities, the public sector and third sector organisations a snapshot of the emerging picture and ways they can act now to support those most in need.”

Services have been collaborating to best meet the needs of families experiencing hardship and the report, written between mid-March and mid-May and which used accounts provided by international literature and local experts in West Cumbria, sets out ways to build on this learning on how to develop innovative ways of addressing inequalities to build a stronger future for everyone.

The WCCPF exists to highlight and improve the plight of those children in the community who live with the harmful consequences of poverty. Chaired by Willie Slavin, WCCPF is an un-constituted group which is open to any organisation with an interest in a collaborative approach to making a real difference to the lives of children and young people in poverty.

Suzanne added: “We remain convinced that our report will make a valuable contribution in informing the recovery effort, which, according to economic and social science experts around the globe, will take some considerable time.”

The report will be available on UCLan’s Centre for Citizenship and Community webpage: https://www.uclan.ac.uk/research/explore/groups/centre_for_citizenship_and_community.php

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