How does low-income affect children?
The connotation of money has changed throughout the years with it now playing a huge part in modern life. From education to health, the implication of having a low income has the potential to affect children and young people in ways you wouldn’t have thought.
Cognitive development and education
The most common impact is on cognitive development and school achievement. Education in the UK is funded by the government and is free for all pupils, however, the added costs of receiving an education such as school trips, uniforms, extra-curricular activities and school meals have implications on low-income families.
All of these contribute to cognitive development and achievements within school. A child from a low-income background is likely to question why they can’t do the same things as their peers and in turn, the child feels less capable of exploring and fulfilling their potential in education.
All children should have equal opportunities within school, despite their background of income. A child can quickly develop poor thoughts and feelings about themselves, resulting in them becoming distant from wanting to learn. There have been many research studies (including those available on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website) into the effect of little money on a child’s cognitive and schooling outcomes, so it is hard to steer away from the facts of little money.
Life at home
Children can very easily pick up on emotions and if their family are struggling with a low income that child will quickly capture the stress and anxiety from their household. No child should have to take on worry from their home.
Children are born into their circumstances; they don’t choose them. Their future is largely defined by the experiences and ambitions of their parents, teachers and role models. Where these influencers are negative or absent, these children and young people are more likely to struggle to contribute to society due to a lack of confidence and poor self-view worth.
Health and wellbeing
Heath is a huge factor that is affected by money. According to the NHS Scotland, children growing up with little money suffer from health inequalities. This covers a broad spectrum from tooth decay to obesity and it is more likely that their mental and physical health will also be impacted upon.
Our response to the outbreak of the pandemic
The pandemic has been challenging for most, including children and young people. During the outbreak, we quickly adapted our services to support our mentees and their families. Several families that we work with live in food poverty due to no fault of their own. This number sharply increased throughout the pandemic due to parents being made redundant or having to step back from work due to childcare struggles.
Keen to maintain our mentees confidence, self-esteem and resilience levels, The Island team worked hard to ensure those struggling received regular Hampers of Hope which prevented food insecurity for many Island families across York.
Throughout the lockdown period, we provided over 3,000 hampers to families across York as well as ran all of our mentoring sessions online which maintained and developed our relationships with the children and young people that we worked with.
The support we offered over the last 18 months has been a lifeline for many, with a high number of our mentees being able to maintain a positive outlook on life despite the challenges of COVID-19.
COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on society at large from the economy to employment, to the way we interact. We’re determined to maintain and expand our mentoring programmes over the coming years to ensure that the needs of today’s youth and future generations are met.
The above are just some factors of how low-income affects children and young people. By supporting us as your Work For Good cause, you will ensure that we can provide food security for vulnerable families across York.
The Island's Plan of Action
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we're offering more support to Island families who are struggling to remain positive during this unsettling time. Below you will find a list of ways in which we are supporting our Island families. If you wish to donate towards our work then please click here.
What are we doing to support Island families?
We are currently supporting the existing cohort of young people in various ways. This includes all young people who have been through the assessment process and remain on our waiting list, in groups or accessing one-to-one mentoring. This is open to 165 families and young people in the City of York and we are doing this through:
Regular food hampers
All of The Island families are contacted on a fortnightly basis to see how they are doing and if they require a hamper of hope to be delivered. This service will continue over the summer holidays to the most vulnerable of Island families.
Activity and resource packs
All of The Island families are contacted regularly to see how their children are doing and to see if an activity and resource pack is needed to keep them busy during this unsettling time.
Support, guidance and signposting
We are currently operating a 24/7 phone line where our Island families can get in touch for some additional support if they require it.
The Island quiz night
We are offering a weekly quiz night through Zoom for Island families to get involved in. The quiz nights are a great way for them to further develop their relationships with their families as well as get the opportunity to meet other families virtually.
Each week, we send out a newsletter to all of The Island families which provides them with a wide range of information, guidance, support and home activities that they can do at home.
Virtual and penpal mentoring
Our temporary virtual and penpal mentoring service has been a huge success and has enabled our mentors to stay in touch with their mentees during this difficult time.
Regular family check-ins
We are committed to ensuring that our Island families remain happy and resilience during this unsettling time. We remain in regular contact with all of our families via phone/video calls and text which have provided parents and carers with much-needed advice to ensure the whole family remains positive during COVID-19.
What's next and important dates?
As a small independent charity, we are currently working on our plans for safe working practice and undertaking extensive consultation with our volunteers.
Our plans going forward include:
Bubble summer holiday groups
We will be offering some group sessions throughout 2020 in line with the current guidelines. We will take a maximum of 6 young people per group and this will only be open to existing Island families only. Places will be allocated by The Island staff team supported by correspondence and feedback from the families.
Ongoing virtual training for new volunteer mentors
We envisage that there will be a high demand for our services once the referral process reopens. With this in mind, we are currently recruiting and training new volunteer mentors so that we can reduce our waiting list numbers significantly. Anyone wishing to volunteer with us should visit our website to download an application form.
Re-engagement of existing one-to-one mentoring relationships
We hope by early 2021 to reintroduce existing mentoring relationships, however, this is currently being monitored daily to ensure things can move forward safely.
Contact with pending referrals
By December, we hope to start accessing and pairing up mentors with their mentees.
Reopening of new referrals
We are hoping to reopen our mentoring services to new referrals by spring 2021, however, this will be completely dependent on how the situation is going with the ongoing pandemic.
New assessments, matching and home visits to commence taking place
We hope by spring, we will be able to start assessing children and matching them up with a suitable mentor.
Group based mentoring
We are unable to give a date on when our group based mentoring sessions will resume. We will continue to follow government guideline and will reopen all of our services once it is safe to do so.
All of the above is subject to the continued progression and lifting of restrictions concerning COVID-19. If at any point The Island does not feel it is safe or practical to implement any of the above they will review service delivery as required in the best interests of all parties and their safety and wellbeing.
If you have any questions about any of the above then please get in touch. Alternatively, if you would like to donate towards our work then please click on the donate button.
Update on our May Mentoring Training Sessions
Due to COVID-19, we are taking our May mentoring training workshops online to ensure that we keep ourselves and our new volunteer mentors safe during this unsettling time.
The mentoring training programme will take place through several e-learning modules and will teach you the vital skills required in order to enhance the confidence, self-esteem and resilience levels of a vulnerable child or young person living in York.
Once you have completed your online training, you will be contacted via telephone by our Mentoring Recruitment Officer who will go through the mentoring roles with you.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we're expecting to receive a high volume of referrals for our one-to-one mentoring programme ( a 12-month commitment) once we reopen our services. We would urge anyone wishing to volunteer with us to strongly consider joining our one-to-one mentoring programme. The programme is flexible and with your support, we can ensure that we can help vulnerable children and young people to thrive, sooner rather than later.
We have alternative volunteer mentoring roles in a school and group-based capacity ( a 20-week and 6-month commitment), however, we desperately need more volunteers to join our one-to-one mentoring programme (12-month commitment).
Once you become a mentor with us, you will be able to take advantage of our fully-funded qualifications and we'll finance your Enhanced DBS Check.
If you would like to join us for our May volunteer training which will be done via a series of e-learning modules, then please visit the Make a Difference section on our website (www.theislandyork.org) to download an application form and email your completed form to email@example.com
We look forward to hearing and receiving your completed application soon.