Children and Young People Northern Ireland collaboration

How can we, together, maximise the difference we make in the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland? The impact of COVID-19 on children and young people is deeply concerning – particularly for those young people already experiencing key risk factors. We want to collectively challenge ourselves now to ensure we are working as effectively as possible to support children and young people through and beyond this crisis. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Increases the number of CYP experiencing disadvantages
  • Compounds existing risk factors
  • Weakens the CYP sector’s ability to respond to and meet needs.

Funders are already responding to these challenges through a range of approaches including being flexible with funding, providing grant extensions or through specific grant programmes. Some of these responses are already collaborative (e.g. the London Community response), but as it stands, the majority will be taken forward individually by funders by and large pursuing their own strategies. Where we are operating separately, a lot of good will happen, but some opportunities may be missed, and we may:

  • be inefficient in how we engage with the sector
  • be inefficient and inconsistent in how we hear from and share power with children and young people
  • create additional work for those applying for funding by not being joined up
  • spend more money than we need on tasks where there is duplication or an economy of scale e.g. listening to young people
  • take a piecemeal approach rather than joining forces.

In Northern Ireland we are therefore coming together to explore ways in which, in a fast moving and changing situation, we can collectively ensure our response to COVID-19 for children and young people, is as effective as possible. Topics that will be considered include:

  • Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • Youth social action
  • Young people and rurality
  • Building relationships with the Education Authority Youth Services

Membership

Get involved

For further information contact Fionnuala Walsh, National Head, Northern Ireland, BBC Children in Need fionnuala.walsh@bbc.co.uk