Statement on the Coronavirus Crisis

Covid-19 Coronavirus and Children

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on children and young people

Over 25 years, Eikon has been through a lot, but nothing comes close to the current challenges we face.  For many children and young people, support from The Eikon Charity – at school, in their local youth club or with their counsellor, is a lifeline.  Covid-19 threatens that lifeline because we have had to take the difficult decision to suspend face to face work. 

Caring for the most vulnerable

The public, media and government focus is rightly on protecting people who are physically vulnerable to the virus or who are in need of care and affected by the lockdown.  But we are also concerned about the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children who were already struggling to cope before the crisis hit.  Their existing challenges are now being compounded by worries created by the pandemic. 

Many are deeply concerned about their mental or physical health, their schoolwork and exams, and the finances or health of their parents, carers or family members – older relatives in particular who are often the most stable relationships they have, yet are now most at risk from the virus.  For some, home is not a safe place to be or has a negative impact on their wellbeing or mental health, but with schools closed they are there most of the time. 

Steps we have had to take to ensure the safety of our volunteers and staff and the young people they support

As of 17th March, for an initial period of 4 weeks:

  • All youth clubs have stopped
  • Face to face work in schools is suspended, including one to one and group work with young people, and our programmes supporting school staff
  • Face to face sessions delivered by Eikon’s partners are suspended 
  • All Eikon staff and volunteers are working from home.

How we have adapted to the crisis

  • Eikon’s work is continuing insofar as it can safely without risking anyone’s health.  We want to continue to be there for children and young people that need us. 
  • We are doing all that we can to support them remotely via safe and appropriate means of communication. Where obstacles exist, we’re pulling out all the stops to get over or go around them.
  • We are working closely with schools, community groups, local authorities and health and social care bodies to coordinate our activities and try to ensure that those children most at risk as a result of the crisis are cared for.  The whole system is working together in a way I’ve not seen before. Long may it continue!
  • We have also written and published a Wellbeing at Home resource with ideas for building “5 Ways to Wellbeing” into home life. 

How you can support us to be there for children during and after the pandemic

Our voluntary income has been badly affected by this crisis.  We had to cancel a major fundraising event in Westminster which would have raised tens of thousands of pounds.  Fundraising challenge events such as the London Marathon have been postponed and the pandemic has meant that our staff and volunteers have less time and opportunity to raise funds.  So how are we responding?

We are grateful to those that help fund our work who have already said that they will stand by us, continue their support and allow us to adapt how we work.  We are contacting other funders and donors and asking them to allow us the same flexibility and to renew their support. 

But we have also heard from other funders and donors that they will be unable to support us through this crisis, either because they are redirecting funds to support the physical health of other groups or because their investments have been hit by the crisis, which in turn means they are now unable to give to Eikon.

So we have launched a public appeal to

  1. raise the funds we need to remain strong and available throughout the crisis, and
  2. ensure that when it’s over, we can still deliver the same high-quality support that we do now. 

Action

To donate so that our work can continue:

If you have questions

Finally, we encourage you to support children in your community during the crisis by helping them to feel that they matter, and that this crisis will pass.  Do please also follow government guidance to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Chris Hickford, Chief Executive, The Eikon Charity

About the author

I simply want all young people to thrive and I work enthusiastically and collaboratively towards this objective. I remain hugely optimistic about what more can be done to help young people thrive. I live locally in New Haw with my wife Clare and two teenage children. I'm a man of faith, an Arsenal fan, an England rugby fan and enjoy most sports......largely from an armchair these days!

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