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SWU Blog: Funding for AAG group secured for another year

SWU is delighted that our funding of the Austerity Action group will continue for another 12 months. Carol Reid of the Austerity Action Group shares a service-user perspective on Covid19.

A recent conversation with a young person and friend “Jade” (not her real name) highlighted the impact of Covid19 on younger age groups.  Nationally, we quite rightly focus on the horrendous implications to elderly citizens, particularly those in residential care, but my chats with Jade reiterate the worries and concerns of young care leavers, living alone, isolated, and afraid.

Jade explains how her thoughts about the lockdown have changed as the weeks have passed.  The initial anxiety and fears still exist but have been overshadowed by boredom and resentment.  She can understand why people “break the lockdown” when government advice is regularly breached and broken by those who make the rules.  “They have lovely, big houses and gardens and don’t even follow the rules.  I have a one bed flat with tiny windows, and I want fresh air!”

Jade tells me about some lads in her street who had a party and the police came.  She thought they were stupid but could understand their restlessness and desire to resume some form of normality.   She’s glad that the police seem to be around more now – it makes her feel protected, especially at night.

Social media has been Jade’s main source of communication and she admits that this has been a hindrance as well as a help.  Conflicting information, stories and articles promoting fear and paranoia often crop up in her newsfeeds, and she emphasises the difficulties of “knowing fact from fiction”.  She misses “human contact” and thinks about the importance of relationships more now.  A “To Do List” includes plans and aspirations for the post-Covid future, and Jade tells me she wants to go to college and eventually work in care.  She claps for carers each week with pride.  Jade believes in “fighting for your rights” and wants to join a Union when she starts work.

Jade described her experience of lockdown as feeling “trapped and scared” with initial fears of “illness and even death”, followed by “boredom and discovering ways to fill her days”.  This has led to reflection, planning, and hope for a better future. 

The Austerity Action Group are a campaigning group representing SWU, BASW and service-user groups experienced in mental health, disability, the children’s sector, and care leavers.

The Group actively campaigns against the continuing Austerity policy and collaborates with service users and other similar groups to ensure that we work 'Side by Side for Social Justice'.  We welcome service user groups to be involved.