This time last year, we were in the midst of a series of unpredictable lockdowns as we all battled to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact on our community was intense. Many jobs were lost, mental health problems escalated, and all of our lives were disrupted. We were on a rocky road without a map. Like our team, you may still be feeling the effects of this period of significant uncertainty.
Thankfully, Governments stepped up their support for the most vulnerable and organisations like ours, and supporters like you donated what they could to ensure that Concern Australia continued to play a crucial role supporting at-risk and vulnerable young people.
One year on our community may be COVID-free, but we aren’t out of the woods. In fact, we know the situation is about to get much worse. Analysis shows that any stability in the economy was the result of Government support, and much of this support has been wound up.
In March the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme ended.
JobKeeper was essential for sustaining our work throughout the pandemic. But now it’s gone.
We are pulling up our sleeves and working tirelessly to source funding for our ongoing support for vulnerable and at-risk young people and children. We know they have been hit the hardest by the devastating combination of the end of JobKeeper, the end of the moratorium on rent evictions, the end of many casual jobs that they relied upon and the reduction in JobSeeker back to levels that are below official measures of poverty.
Federal and State Government measures to contain COVID-19 significantly reduced the impact on public health. But these measures also created widespread economic shocks that will be felt hardest by young people now and into the future.
Just some of the outcomes include:
- Youth unemployment was a problem before the pandemic. A University of Sydney paper estimates youth unemployment is likely to reach 28% by August this year.
- There could be up to 4500 young people living in out-of-home care by 2026.
- Every night 44,000 young Australians under 25 are without a safe and secure place to sleep.
We are so grateful to those who generously donated to our COVID-19 Crisis Appeal last year. You made a real difference with your generosity that directly supported young people through:
- Enabling our Steps Outreach Service to help young people get off the street and into accommodation, and provide crucial support for isolated and frightened young people who had been housed in hotels.
- Ensuring that our Values for Life team could remain employed and use the time to further refine the incursions they offer in primary and secondary school settings.
- The Inside Out team providing food and care packs for young people in our homes.
- Helping young people enrolled in our Hand Brake Turn course to stay engaged with cool new digital tools even though they were stuck at home and feeling isolated.
Together, with your help, we made a difference during an incredibly difficult time and were able to keep all staff meaningfully employed during the periods of lockdown.
The reality is that the money we raised from last year’s appeal was equal to just one month of JobKeeper support!
Support that has recently dropped off right when young people need us more than ever.
It’s becoming clearer that some people actually did well through the pandemic, and even thrived personally and financially.
But many did not.
If you were impacted by the pandemic, please know that you have our love and support, and we would not expect you to donate.
But if you were one of those who did well throughout the challenges of the past year, could you please consider a one-off donation to ensure we can continue to offer a helping hand to at-risk young people who are incredibly vulnerable right now, particularly through our self-funded programs such as Steps Outreach Service and Values for Life?
And even better – could you please encourage your family and friends to donate too?
The need is urgent. The moment is now. Please donate generously, and make a real difference for young people who need the hope and care that we offer each and every day.
You may have noticed our new logo and look. We’re excited about it, and we hope you like it. You can find out more in this story. Please let us know what you think – we hope you love it as much as we do!