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New research reveals top worries for children and young people in Harrow

Harrow’s youth are grappling with serious concerns about money and safety, according to a new report released by the Young Harrow Foundation.

The report, titled “This is Harrow,” sheds light on the worries of children and young people in the area, highlighting pressing issues that need immediate attention.

The report, available for public access at youngharrowfoundation.org/thisisharrow, amalgamates data from various sources, including Harrow Council, NHS, Police, and community organisations. It also incorporates insights gathered from 6,800 surveys conducted across 28 local schools and colleges as part of the HAY Harrow survey.

The report identified four primary areas of concern: Poverty, Safety, Mental Health, and Physical Health. Shocking statistics have been revealed, indicating the extent of these issues:

  • 17% of young people worry about their family running out of food, a figure that rises to 19% for children in years 5 and 6 at primary school.
  • 5% of young people admit to currently self-harming.
  • 11% of young people aged 14-18 consider themselves victims of sexual harassment.
  • Alarmingly, 39.6% of children in year 6 (10-11 years) in Harrow are overweight or obese, surpassing the national average of 37.8%.
  • An overwhelming 74% of young people experience frequent anxiety or nervousness.

It also highlighted specific groups of young people facing heightened challenges, including the LGBTQ+ community, Russian and Ukrainian children in Harrow, children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and young people with caring responsibilities.

In response to the findings, local organisations have joined forces in a new partnership called The Change Makers. Within a month of “This is Harrow’s” release, these organizations, including Young Harrow Foundation, Harrow Borough Based Partnership, John Lyon’s Charity, ES Broadcast, Harrow School, and Deo Duce Foundation, have allocated an initial investment of £225,000 to 21 local charities working with children and young people in Harrow.

The Change Makers’ initiatives cover a wide spectrum, ranging from self-harm support and neurodiversity programs to aiding refugees from Russia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Other funded projects include young carer programs, mental health support, fitness initiatives, and more.

Dan Burke, CEO of Young Harrow Foundation, said, “We know these are areas young people are struggling with – time and time again they keep coming up. This is Harrow has helped us understand more deeply, some of the specific things local children are struggling with. It means we have to do better and be accountable as a community working with children and young people.

We are committed to working with the local charity sector and organisations, like those under the Change Maker Partnership, to fund projects that help those that most need it. We’ve started with an initial £225k boost, and we’re working hard to unlock more over the next year.”

Councillor Hitesh Karia, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Harrow Council, said: “We welcome the findings of this report and are committed to doing everything we can to support the wellbeing of our young residents. We are mindful and aware of some of the struggles young people face in Harrow and this research is important in getting a closer understanding of the concerns that matter to our young Harrow residents.

“We will utilise the details to forge a closer relationship with our partners in the community to continue to help those most in need and give children and young people the best start in life and adulthood.”

Young Harrow also works with Harrow Council to run the Holiday Activities Programme in Harrow in every school holiday. Children on free school meals are provided free access to local clubs and activities which include a free meal every day. Find out more at https://youngharrowfoundation.org/haf-programme

Details about the Change Makers partnership and the projects they have supported can be found at youngharrowfoundation.org/harrow-change-makers.