Posted: 21 September 2019

What are young people saying about their local area?

Our latest Good Childhood report has revealed plummeting levels of happiness in children. By listening to young people across the country, we know they have deep ranging concerns - everything from safety in their local area to whether they'll be able to afford a house when they're older. 

We looked a bit more closely at what young people told us and explored the facts behind their concerns.

Young people's concerns about their local area

Through our research for this year's Good Childhood report, we talked to young people all over the country. Here's what they told us:

'I am nervous of moving to an area that doesn’t accept my religion and identity.'

One secondary school girl told us she was worried about being accepted in a new neighbourhood. This is understandbale given the narratives that dominate the news - there is a general feeling that the world is becoming more and more polarised. 

Statistics over the past five years have shown that there has been a 123% increase in the total number of hate crime offences. Since the Brexit referendum, the number of reported religiously and racially motivated hate crimes did increase however there is some debate on whether the recorded statistics represent an increase or whether they are simply being recorded more reliably. 

Another secondary school girl said,

'I worry that I won’t be able to afford to live where I want to.'

This is a real concern for many young people. The average UK house price was £154,452 in March 2009. In June 2019, the average house price was £230,292 – this is almost £80,000 more. House prices vary greatly across the country but statistics show that they have grown the most in the East Midlands and dropped most in London. That said, London is still the most expensive place to purchase a property and average house prices in England are their highest ever. 

Young people may want to move away from an area due to lack of opportunity or crime, however the price of accommodation means this is often not possible. 

'I want my kids to have better opportunities than me.'

This young person goes on to say 'I grew up in a rough area and I have little opportunities. But I've learnt to care more about family than wealth. I want to be safe and not look over my shoulder every minute'. This isn't what growing up should be like, children shouldn't feel like they constantly have to be looking over their shoulder. 

Only by listening to young people can we help them overcome the challenges of modern childhood and face their future with hope, confidence and optimism. 

It's time to show young people they matter. Pledge your support and let them know.

 PLEDGE #IHEARYOUTH

By Kaja Zuvac-Graves
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