The campaign with the children’s charity Variety aims to encourage the continued spread of community kindness and highlight the impact of lockdown on children. It links in with the Sunday Express Generation Lockdown campaign for more health, education and financial support for children, teenagers and young adults in recovering from lockdown. The Express is also running a crusade for a day of reflection on lockdown with the cancer charity Marie Curie.
Celebrity supporters of Ms McVey and Variety’s March 23 campaign include Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean, Keith Lemon, Nick Knowles, Eamonn Holmes, Heather Small and Owen Farrell, captain of the England Rugby Team.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate social, emotional and academic impact on all children and young people. However, for the one million disabled children in the UK, as well as the four million children living in poverty, the blow has been particularly severe.
The families of children Variety supports have described facing a range of challenges brought about by the pandemic.
These include a reduction in their usual support services and therapies, changes in routine, being isolated at home, and the demands of homeschooling, which are particularly tough for children with special educational needs. Job losses or reduced employment have also taken their toll, especially given that the outgoings of families with a disabled child are, on average, £600 a month higher than those of families with non-disabled children.
Ms McVey, a Variety Ambassador, said: “It’s absolutely essential that we mark this first anniversary with a national day of reflection. To remember those who have lost so much, have done so much and also to look forward to a brighter future with our freedoms restored.”