The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs has announced funding as part of his 2022/23 Budget to help those children in the borough whose development was affected due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. £500,000 will be used to deliver a targeted Covid recovery project over 1 year which has a potential to support an estimated 8,000 children aged 0-4 accessing early education and childcare.
Today marks two years since the UK’s first lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. National and local research in Tower Hamlets has found the temporary closures and restrictions due to the lockdown has resulted in a new and additional inequality creating a ‘Covid cohort’. Those now aged 2 years old have spent almost 80% of their life in the pandemic and those aged 18 months have spent 100% of their life in the pandemic (The People and Nature Survey for England: Children’s survey (Experimental Statistics, 2021).
Many of these children have had limited to no interaction beyond their close family where children have not had the opportunity to socialise with other children.
Tower Hamlets Labour have responded by proposing £500,000 for initiatives to ensure the children of Tower Hamlets recover from the impact of the pandemic. These include:
- Enhanced interventions to promote children’s development, where the Council works with providers to focus on their children’s identified needs and develop their own bespoke recovery package.
- Targeted Covid-recovery related training opportunities. This will be delivered by external trainers at the forefront of research and development related to the pandemic.
- A full day Born in Covid conference to address the challenges experienced by staff in the early education and childcare sector during the pandemic, and ways they can help children’s development to recover.
The Budget was passed at Full Council on Wednesday 2nd March 2021, and the proposals can be viewed here.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said:
“Two years have passed since the first UK-wide lockdown, and the impact of Covid-19 can still be felt amongst our communities.
“It is fundamental that we help our children recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and this proposal aims to invest in our young people’s futures.”
Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth Services, Education and Equalities said:
“I want to pay tribute to the fantastic efforts of our teachers, school staff and parents in supporting our young people during this challenging period, and I am proud of this proposal which looks to address the new inequality for children as a result of the pandemic so the next generation of Tower Hamlets can thrive.”