Inequalities that already existed between families are magnified by lockdown, Leeds Councillor says

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INEQUALITIES that already existed between families are magnified by lockdown, Executive Member for Children and Families at Leeds City Council told Public Sector Executive’s new podcast.

14 authorities across Yorkshire and Humber have been working together to support families during the pandemic, offering them resources online.

Councillor Fiona Venner joined host Emily Rodgers on Public Sector Voices last week to discuss how families in Leeds are being supported.

“Children have been amazing at coping but the lockdown has obviously been a stressful time for families”, she explained.

“We are aware that there is potential for children to return to school very anxious because they might have experienced things such as domestic abuse, family breakdown and conflict.

“They might also be very anxious about what the crisis means and be frightened about the people they care about becoming ill.”

As academic differences will be amplified by differing levels of home schooling and everyday life is going to be different from what pupils are used to post-lockdown, Councillor Venner recognises the continued need for support.

“Going into lockdown was a big adjustment but going back to school is a big adjustment as well, getting them back into routine and feeling safe at school”, she explained.

“Children are going to need a lot of emotional support. Schools are very aware of that and there is support that the council can put in place to help with that, like early help and educational psychology.”

She also recognises young people will continue to need support as the lockdown eases.

“I think the economic and mental health fallout from the pandemic is going to last a lot longer than the virus itself”, Councillor Venner added.

“Young people have bore the brunt of the economic impact as well as places where they are most likely to work such as cafes and restaurants have been shut down.

“There is going to be a need for the council and the NHS to work together to plan the mental health support for young people going forward.”

You can listen to the full episode here