Children in Lockdown

What coronavirus means for UK children

Children’s lives across the world have been turned upside down by Coronavirus.

For children here in the UK, schools and play spaces have been closed, exams cancelled and loved ones separated. In a blink of an eye, the world they knew has disappeared.

The risks to children’s health, wellbeing and futures are profound:

  • Education: 700 million days of education could be lost this school year
  • Nutrition: More children in the UK will face food insecurity as job losses take their toll on family finances
  • Health: A stretched health system means children have less access to healthcare and other essential services
  • Protection: Thousands of children are at greater risk of abuse in their homes and online
  • Participation: Across the board, the voices of children and young people have been absent from decisions made about their lives.
"We’re worried about what this crisis means for our future."
UNICEF UK Youth Advisory Board

Add your name: An open letter by young people

Our Youth Advisory Board, which represents children and young people across the UK, have written an open letter to the Government asking them to follow the example of other world leaders and address young people directly in a special age-appropriate broadcast.

“We know that the Government is working hard to protect us and help us all recover from this crisis but it’s important that children and young people’s voices aren’t overlooked. It’s our right to be included in decisions that affect us and our futures, like our education.”

Will you add your name to their open letter?

A card to the Prime Minister

On the 9th June 2020 our Youth Advisory Board members joined other young people from across the UK and our dedicated campaigners to send a card to the Prime Minister.

The card includes over 100 messages about why the UK Government should join other world leaders and talk to our nation’s children and young people. Read the card now.

Open letter: Ask the UK government to make a direct address to children

Add your name

What we’re calling for

We acknowledge the unprecedented steps the UK Government has taken to keep children safe, but these efforts must increase to match the impacts on children.

We’re calling on the UK Government to:

  1. Make a dedicated direct address to the nation’s children and young people to acknowledge the enormous impact this crisis is having and listen to them about how it is affecting their lives. This dialogue should directly inform government action in support of children;
  2. Appoint a Special Envoy for Children reporting directly to the Prime Minister who leads an emergency Children’s Taskforce to effectively coordinate across all government departments, service providers, local authorities and civil society to ensure all children are reached and supported now and in the future; 
  3. Create a Comprehensive Children’s Recovery Plan which sets out the necessary actions and provides ringfenced resource for schools, local authorities, civil society, and children’s service providers to help build a better tomorrow for all children. 

As the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights, we stand ready to support the UK Government in our shared ambitions for children’s futures.

Find out more

Address the nation's children: An Open Letter by Young People

Add your name

Coronavirus: a guide for children and young people

Learn more

Coronavirus: Fast facts and what you can do

Learn more