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Poverty and Deprivation During the Pandemic

Covid-19 and the global pandemic are likely to hit the young people experiencing deprivation and poverty within your education setting the hardest. Global poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years due to the pandemic and the towns and cities across the United Kingdom will unfortunately feel this burden. These concerns around finances, poverty and deprivation could exacerbate any events around trauma, loss or bereavement for young people.

Marmot (2020) advises that poverty experienced during childhood can harm health throughout life, with children and young people living in these conditions more susceptible to experience adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, experiencing domestic abuse, increased chance of trauma, drug or alcohol misuse within the family home, poor parental mental health and increased separation from a parent. Although, this is not the case universally, it is important to note this for the children and young people within your education setting and using a strength-based relationship approach to support those in need is always advisable.

There have been a number of pandemic related negative impacts on poverty and deprivation already witnessed nationwide, including:

  • school closures impacting children and young people’s access to education, emotional development and free meals programmes
  • shortages of food, water and essential items for many households and families as supermarkets and local community service delivery have been impacted
  • families being impacted by unemployment, the furlough scheme and having to utilise emergency savings to survive
  • families being unable to access supports due to a lack of access to digital technology whilst in lockdown periods.

Children and young people experiencing poverty and deprivation are unlikely to see an improvement during the winter months. The Trussell Trust advise new research shows food banks are set to provide six emergency food parcels a minute during these months. Their analysis also states that:

  • there is a forecast of 61% increase in food parcels needed across the UK between October and December;
  • during the start of the pandemic, around half of those accessing food banks had never needed one before;
  • families with children have suffered the most significant impact.

The charity further states that with the prediction of mass unemployment expected, there will be a further rise in poverty levels with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of the 2020, advising that this will impact issues such as housing and paying energy bills.

Supporting children and young people who are experiencing levels of deprivation and poverty is everyone’s responsibility, including yourself and colleagues within your education setting. Building positive relationships and creating safe, warm and inclusive environments will provide much needed support to those who are experiencing this adversity. Keeping them in mind during any periods of absence, self-isolation or during school closures will continue to provide much needed support and consistency within their lives.

Further reading / resources

Useful Worksheets:

"I need you to..." Stepping into the shoes of a young person who has experienced trauma, loss & change:

Compensate for my Brain State - Dr Bruce Perry’s Arousal Continuum:

6 Steps of Trauma-Sensitive Connection:

Supporting the Return to School with Hobfoll’s Five Principles of Recovery:

The Learning Triangle: A Model of Attachment & Learning by Heather Geddes:

“What if?” Using a trauma-informed lens to reframe behaviour:

The Trauma-informed Classroom - Providing a Safe Base:

Treating Trauma with Hope and Optimism:

Applying the 4 Rs of Trauma-Informed approaches in the return to school:


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