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Young Londoners fear cost of living crisis will have worse impact on their life than pandemic and how an Acton resident is overcoming her fears

A new report from The Prince’s Trust on the overall wellbeing of 16-25 year olds in London has found the the cost of living crisis and the prospect of recession are their biggest worries for their future with 44% saying that economic uncertainty makes them feel hopeless.

The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023, released today, finds that nearly half (47 per cent) of young people in London think the cost of living will have a worse impact on their life than the pandemic. The report reveals the overall wellbeing of 16–25-year-olds in the UK is at the lowest point in its fourteen-year history, with young people least happy and confident in their money and mental health.

According to the study, happiness and confidence with money is now lower than when polling began in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis, and over a third (34 per cent) in London state thinking about money depresses or stresses them.

Over half (59 per cent) of young people in London report financial security as their biggest goal in life, followed by good mental health (40 per cent) and having a family (36 per cent). Over two thirds (68 per cent) state that having a job gives them the financial stability they need and over half (58 per cent) state being in work is good for their mental health.

The Youth Index is based on YouGov research with 2,025 16- to 25-year-olds across the UK.

Katherine Eveleigh, senior head of service delivery, at The Prince’s Trust said: “Having already lived through one of the most turbulent times to be young, this year’s Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index is a warning sign that, post pandemic, in London young people’s wellbeing has not recovered. It reveals that for this generation – the Class of Covid – economic uncertainty is having a profound impact on their wellbeing and confidence in achieving their aspirations in the future.”

Ms Eveleigh added: “Most concerningly, the report also suggests that these challenges are hitting young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds hardest, with those who received free school meals or who are unemployed reporting consistently worse wellbeing in all aspects of life.”

Ms Eveleigh also revealed the importance of taking action to combat this and supporting young people.  She said: “The findings show us that young people remain determined to achieve their goals in life, but that they require practical support to do so. Employers, government, charities and individuals must work together to provide a lifeline for those who need us most.”

The findings echo 24-year-old Hannah Joseph who recently moved to Acton and how being involved with The Prince’s Trust to develop her creative talents has helped her.

Hannah had challenges with her mental health growing up and during the pandemic was unemployed and not in education which impacted her and lead to a breakdown where she was later diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.

Hannah said: “I lived a life where I couldn’t see tomorrow, where my purpose was to make everyone proud except myself.”

Following the diagnosis and with help from her mum, she discovered The Prince’s Trust and got involved with its Explore programme.

Hannah said: “Having something to look forward to each week made a huge impact and more importantly helped me to finally find a home within myself.”

She added: “I had decided that I no longer wanted to pursue a career that just didn’t fit my personality. I am naturally a creative person, and I decided to take a leap of faith and create and sell my art online. With support from The Trust, I finally had faith in myself to keep going, even though it meant a couple months of not knowing when finances would come in.”

Hannah went on to sell 35 pieces across the world.

During this period, Hannah went on to complete The Prince’s Trust Get Started in Product Design with Marvel and boosted her skills in design and marketing.

Hannah has now got a job as a member of the planning team in a media and marketing firm.

Alison Rose DBE, chief executive of NatWest Group said: “Young people’s confidence and happiness with money is now lower than during the Global Financial Crisis – which is something that should concern us all. This report provides a stark warning about the debilitating impact of economic pressures on young people’s lives, and emphasises the importance of providing the tools and support necessary to build their financial capability and confidence. As a bank, we are resolute in supporting young people to fulfil their potential, and will continue to work closely with the Prince’s Trust to ensure no one is left behind as they navigate the challenges ahead.”

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