Guardian and Observer readers give £250,000 to help vulnerable young people

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This year’s appeal, backing three charities, receives more than 3,000 donations in its first week

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8 year old boy looks out of bedroom window
‘Now is the time to show that we believe in youth,’ says Ndidi Okezie, head of the charity UK Youth. Photograph: Photofusion/Rex
‘Now is the time to show that we believe in youth,’ says Ndidi Okezie, head of the charity UK Youth. Photograph: Photofusion/Rex
Social policy editor

Last modified on Sun 13 Dec 2020 23.37 EST

Just one week into its 2020 campaign, the Guardian and Observer charity appeal has raised more than £250,000 for charities supporting disadvantaged young people in the UK.

More than 3,000 generous readers have so far given to the appeal, which is backing three charities tackling stark inequalities that have been brought into focus by the pandemic: UK Youth, Young Minds and Child Poverty Action Group.

The money raised will be invested in grassroots youth work projects, initiatives to support emotional wellbeing among young people and improve mental health services, and innovative work to reduce child poverty in the UK.

UK Youth’s chief executive, Ndidi Okezie, thanked readers. “I am heartened that so many people have responded with urgency and generosity to support young people,” she said. “In coming together to support this appeal, we are refusing to accept there will be a lost generation due to the impact of Covid-19.

“Young people are facing extraordinary disruptions and challenges, be it to their education, employment or mental wellbeing; in response organisations right across the UK are stepping up to ensure we also reach the most vulnerable young people. Now is the time to show that we believe in youth.”

Messages by donors show many are up for the challenge: “The Covid crisis has highlighted and exacerbated many inequalities in our society, including those relating to young people. We all have a duty to do what we can to support them at a critical time in their lives, when a little help can make such a lasting difference,” said one.

Another said: “It is so important to protect the young and give them a hope for the future. We can always do more to help young people and I fear they have been adversely affected and severely disadvantaged by previous cuts to services right when help is needed more than ever.”

Alison Garnham, the chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted by the way Guardian and Observer readers have responded. Life was tough enough for children growing up in low-income families across the UK even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

“If ever there was a time to take action against child poverty and improve children’s life chances, it is now. With your support, in 2021 we will be able to do much more to boost family incomes and tackle child poverty.”

Introducing the appeal earlier this month, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, wrote: “By putting young people at the heart of this year’s Guardian and Observer charity appeal, we signal our support for the generation we hope will flourish after Covid. Today’s young people must not become a lost generation.”