At a time when over a third (37%) of young people feel that the odds are stacked against them (1), Co-op has announced a new charity partnership to bring communities together to support young people.
Co-op will be working with Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, to support 750,000 young people aged 10-25 years old to help improve their mental wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem, as well as helping young people and their families to meet basic needs, including access to food, at a time when the lasting effects of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are exacerbating underlying challenges.
Co-op research shows more than a quarter (29%) of those aged 16-25, say that the rising cost of living will make it harder to get a job, whilst over a third (35%) say that these factors will negatively impact their mental wellbeing. In addition, 84% of Co-op customers agreed supporting young people is important for their community and 72% think someone they know could benefit from support (2).
Co-op aims to raise £5 million through the partnership by engaging colleagues, members and customers in a range of national and local fundraising.
The initial focus will be on fundraising, but the partnership will develop to enable the charity to deliver innovative new services in communities most at need across the UK, as identified by Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index. In addition, an online offering will be available to ensure young people across the UK receive the support they need.
The partnership will see the creation of a youth advisory group to enable young people to co-produce activity.
Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO at Co-op said: “Our work within communities has shown us the impact that the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis is having, most especially on young people – there has never been a more important time to support them.
“Supporting the communities we serve is in our Co-op DNA and a big part of our vision of ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’. We’re excited to be to working with Barnardo’s as the partnership builds on our ongoing activity to provide young people with access to opportunities, including through the Peer Action Collective that give young people a voice, our work supporting apprenticeships and our 30 Co-op Academy schools.”
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Lynn Perry MBE, said: “More than one in four children in the UK are living in poverty and the cost-of-living crisis will make this worse as families struggle to pay their bills. Growing up in poverty means children are at risk of going hungry, they miss out on opportunities and their mental health suffers – all of which can affect them long into adulthood.
“We are really excited to be working in partnership with Co-op to bring about positive change for children and young people across the UK. Together, we are aiming to help young people access basic needs, like food, improve their mental wellbeing and create better opportunities for their future.”
To find out more, including how you or a young person you know can get help, visit coop.co.uk/SupportYoungPeople.