Together we can help children out of poverty, through bereavement, mental illness and the challenges of the pandemic

Children in Need launches its 2021 ‘Together, We Can’ fundraising campaign with celebrity support

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 4:20 pm
Joe Wicks MBE has pledged his support for the BBC Children in Need 2021 'Together, We Can' fundraising drive. He shares his experiences of growing up in a household in which both parents struggled with mental illness

BBC Children in Need has launched its 2021 fundraising Appeal – Together, We Can - and is calling on supporters across Northern Ireland to once again show their support to help make a difference. Across the province, Children in Need is currently funding 170 projects to a value of £9.3 million.

To launch the campaign a Censuswide poll on behalf of Children in Need has shed light on the impact of the past 18 months on the lives of children and young people across the UK. The survey also offers insight into how positive children and young people feel about their futures and explores issues relating to poverty, disability and mental health.

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 Children in Need to launch the charity’s 2021 fundraising campaign. It 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.

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The survey revealed that three quarters of parents (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 are facing greater disadvantages because of the pandemic. Funds raised through the 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 the 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.

The survey highlighted that one in three children often feel anxious (35%), whilst one in three often feel worried about their future (36%) and a further one in five (22%) often feel sad.

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%).

Its research also revealed that nearly a third of parents (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 four million children living in poverty in the UK, the impact of Covid has left young people across the nation facing increased financial uncertainty and hardship. Thanks to the support of fundraisers.

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 two in three parents (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.

Ella Henderson also spoke of a time in her life when she too struggled with her mental health, 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.”

As part of this year’s campaign, Ade Adepitan MBE reflected on living with a disability and how support from 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 crisis has left many young people facing the complexities of bereavement, but thanks to donations from the UK public, 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 similarly, 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. She said: “It’s really lonely living with chronic illness, and it’s really hard. 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 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 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, outlining that the top five things that help children when they are having a bad day which 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%).

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’s official 2021 fundraising pack is available to download now and is bursting with ideas to inspire ‘Together, We Can’ fundraising ahead of the charity’s 2021 Appeal show on November 19.

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