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‘We have made the same sacrifice’ - young people respond to coronavirus complacency claims

PUBLISHED: 13:24 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:47 20 July 2020

Members of the Youth Advisory Board have responded to claims young people have been complacent over coronavirus risks. This picture was taken before the pandemic. Pic: Mancroft Advice Project.

Members of the Youth Advisory Board have responded to claims young people have been complacent over coronavirus risks. This picture was taken before the pandemic. Pic: Mancroft Advice Project.

Mancroft Advice Project

Young people have hit back at councillors who claimed they were not taking coronavirus social distancing seriously.

Young people from the Youth Advisory Board at the Mancroft Advice Project. Will the charity's services be needed even more post-covid? This picture was taken before the pandemic. Pic: Mancroft Advice Project.Young people from the Youth Advisory Board at the Mancroft Advice Project. Will the charity's services be needed even more post-covid? This picture was taken before the pandemic. Pic: Mancroft Advice Project.

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s people and communities select committee, councillors raised concerns people had become complacent about the virus - and made remarks about young people.

Among them was Sheila Young, Conservative councillor for Gaywood North and Central, who said: “Some of the young people are abusing everything.”

The comments led to accusations young people had been demonised.

And Maisie and Izzy, young commissioners on the Norwich Youth Advisory Board - which commissions services for young people - said people their age had been doing “amazing work”, caring for family members, teaching younger sibling and coping with stress.

The pair, who are both under 16, said: “Youth Advisory Boards have been raising awareness of COVID-related issues, to ensure everyone keeps themselves safe. There needs be a huge response to support young people right now around mental health, education and careers. Our future looks so uncertain.

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“We’ve been disappointed to read how a small minority of people in positions of power have framed young people in a negative way in the last week.

“Negative stereotyping of young people has gone on for generations and it’s easy to blame us, as we don’t have a voice in many public spaces or forums. If there was more of a push to involve young people in the political system and local democracy, people would view us differently.

“Some people aren’t following the guidance but this isn’t just young people, it’s unfair to single out a group in society so specifically.

“Young people have made the same sacrifice as anyone else. Our education has been damaged, our schools closed, we haven’t seen family or friends and our futures have been thrown into uncertainly. It’s been a huge culture shock to everyone in society and young people’s support networks disappeared overnight.

“We’ve been meeting outside with our friends to reduce the risk and are being singled out, as we are more identifiable and being unfairly blamed for a lot of things.

“The vast majority of young people have been following the rules, taking the situation seriously and following procedures like wearing masks, washing our hands with sanitiser and social distancing.”


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