COVID-19 IN THE UK

Helping families get through this

Niamh, aged 5, in the window of her home in Sheffield during lockdown.

When COVID-19 hit the UK, children's lives were turned upside down.



Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

Children’s learning was jeopardised and thousands of families were pushed to the brink of poverty.



Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

Caitlin playing on a swing in her garden

To help, Save the Children started an Emergency Grant for families worst affected by the pandemic.

Emergency Grant recipients

FIGHTING FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN THE UK

For 100 years, Save the Children has been fighting for the rights of children in the UK, so they can become who they want to be.

When COVID-19 hit, we were already working in some of the poorest parts of the country, collaborating with key people and organisations in children’s lives – such as schools, the NHS, and social services – to support children’s early years’ development.

Within weeks, we developed an emergency response plan to help families get what they need to get through this.

Save the Children's Emergency Grant

Emergency Grant recipients

The grant boosts children’s early learning at home and helps families meet their basic needs during this crisis.

It offers families the choice of a range of products up to the value of £340, including:

Learning packs
that include educational books and toys

Argos and food vouchers
that can be used in supermarkets and online

Gifts in kind
including toys from Hasbro and Lego

Household products
to support essential early routines

A COVID-19 resource pack
including ideas for low-cost learning activities, materials to help parents talk to their children about coronavirus, advice for managing parents’ own emotional wellbeing and information on vital services.

Emergency Grant recipients
Emergency Grant recipients
Emergency Grant recipients
Emergency Grant recipients
Emergency Grant recipients
Emergency Grant recipients

It helped children like Ayla, who loves to play outside.

Her mum Leah's* part-time hours got cut when the UK went into lockdown.

"I’m not getting the same [money] as before – people say to you: you shouldn’t be spending money because you’re at home all day.

Electric and food bills have doubled.

There’s only my income – there is only me. I’m struggling to put basic food in our mouths." Said Leah.

For Leah and her family, vouchers from our Emergency Grant were a lifeline – helping to get Ayla and her brother food and other essentials, so they could continue to grow up happy and healthy.

Ayla also got a maths pack through the grant, so that she could keep up with her education while she was out of school.

Lexi-Mae, aged 5, playing in her garden in Sheffield.
Lexi-Mae, aged 5, playing in her garden in Sheffield.

Our Emergency Grant also helped children like Lexi-Mae to keep focusing on their dreams.

"I COULD BE AN ANIMAL RESCUER, AND AN ARTIST, AND A BALLERINA!"

 “She’s one of the brainiest five-year olds I know",
says Lexi-Mae's mum, Georgina. 

Living through lockdown has been hard for her,
but Lexi-Mae has shown remarkable resilience.

“I think she's been coping more than I have,” 
Georgina told us. 

Georgina, who is bringing up Lexi-Mae on her own, 
experienced anxiety before the lockdown,
and was struggling to make ends meet.

We were able to provide Lexi-Mae and Georgina
with support through our Emergency Grant
when they needed it most.

We gave them food vouchers, easing
Georgina’s money worries, a learning pack 
to support Lexi-Mae’s education,
and an Argos voucher which they used
to buy a much-needed new bed for Lexi-Mae.

“Lexi's been excited since she knew she was
getting a new bed. All the toys, she's loved,
and vouchers for food, it's been a massive help.

If I’d not received the grant, I’d be thinking,
‘How am I going to cope?’ and I'd definitely be
cutting down more on food,” said Georgina.

Angela and her grandaughters Andrea, 2, and Carolina, 10, at Carolina's home in Sheffield
Rachel* with her daughter Beth* in their home in Margate, UK

The phrase ‘we’re all in this together’ has never had so much meaning, and we’ve seen how wholeheartedly our donors and partners have embraced this sentiment.

Support for our Emergency Grant so far has raised £2.1 million, giving thousands of children the freedom to flourish despite the challenges they have faced.

Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

But as lockdown measures in the UK begin to ease and the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end, we’re worried children and their families may be facing a deepening crisis.

Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

The situation for UK families


Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

Ziona, 2, on the bed that she received as part of Save The Children's Building Blocks programme, Sheffield

Even before COVID-19, 4 million children were living in poverty in the UK – and it caused a widening education gap.

When the lockdown started, disparities got worse, and it's feared the attainment gap between children living in poverty and their peers has widened further.

With those on lower incomes being more likely to lose their jobs or be furloughed, parents had to choose between paying the bills or feeding their children.

Families found themselves stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide, and increased stress at home further impacted children’s learning and wellbeing.  

One of the parents we work with told us,

“It’s been really so hard keeping them entertained and to have [Save the Children’s learning packs] with their ideas has really helped and eased some of the stress for me.”

We must continue to stand side-by-side with UK families who face no guarantee that their finances will recover as lockdown eases.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE





Image shows a Save the Children UK programme that is separate from the Emergency Grant.

Samira and her daughter Haaniya playing together at a Families Connect session in Chorlton

Save the Children will keep delivering our Emergency Grant, which has now grown to reach 18 locations across the UK.

And as soon as it’s safe, we’ll re-start our regular programmes, taking what we’ve learnt from children’s needs in this pandemic, to continue fighting the injustice of childhood poverty and reducing the early education attainment gap.  

Together, we can make sure all children have the same start in life – so they can go on to change the world.

11 year-old-Lincoln wrote a poem as part of Save the Children's project to share children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
11 year-old-Lincoln wrote a poem as part of Save the Children's project to share children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Don’t give up hope, the end is in sight,

If we all stick together, we’ll all win this fight.”

11 year-old-Lincoln wrote a poem as part of Save the Children's project to share children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Name changed to protect identity.