Lockdown Lowdown sends decision makers a powerful message from Scotland's young people

Young people chatting around a table.

#IWill Scottish ambassador Rachael Hatfield blogs about the results of the #LockdownLowdown survey, calling for the voices of young people to be heard as Scotland prepares for a new normal.

Never have the voices of Scotland’s young people been so crucial but at risk of being put to the side. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every single of us in some way and, even though young people might still be getting some negative press, the #LockdownLowdown report reminds us that our young people are trying to navigate their way through this very unknown and challenging time.

They’ve seen schools close and suddenly go online. Colleges and universities closing with a delay in getting things ready for this ‘new normal’ way of learning. The fact that nearly half of young people who answered the survey told us that they were moderately or extremely concerned about coursework and exams shows us that this isn’t just the impact of today, it’s the impact on tomorrow.

Young people need to be taking their seat around the table (virtual of course!) because the only true experts of young people, are the young people themselves. They are the ones best to tell you the impacts on mental health, on the impact of sudden removal of support, or what this experience has taught them.

Right now, we, as young people of Scotland, are counting on the adult decision makers and people in positions of power to make the right choices for us. #LockdownLowdown helps these people understand that young people in Scotland are not just numbers, or stats, we are people with stories and with lives.

For example, the increased burden of being a young carer during the Covid-19 lockdown is having a significant impact on young people across Scotland, with 30% of respondents saying they are now concerned about their ability to look after others.

On top of that, 30% of young people who answered the survey are moderately or extremely concerned about their financial situation. After all, young people who may have been in employment could now be impacted by reduced hours, being furloughed or even losing their job completely. It’s important we remember young people do fall under this category as well.

Moving forward, it is important that young people understand what is happening, and why it is happening. The clearer the messages that are sent out, the easier things can be, and I’m not just talking about the rules or enforcements. I’m talking about positive messages too. Let young people know you’re there, let them know you see them as individuals.

In a time where being apart is getting tough, it’s time we show how connected the sectors are with our young people. It’s no longer an ‘us and them’ kind of playing field. Let’s get through this together, let’s show that Scotland’s decision makers and young people can link up on something that will undoubtably change the future forever.