Three young people on a street

Overcoming a lack of hope

Some children and young people feel there is little or no possibility of a positive future.

For some of the most vulnerable young people, growing up in communities with poor housing, with no qualifications, no jobs and no role models, it’s hard to believe that a positive future lies ahead. And it’s this lack of hope or “poverty of hope” that as a society we must help children to overcome. 

What we know

To find out more about how young people in the UK feel, we polled over 1,000 young people aged 16-25 with YouGov. We also conducted three focus groups with young people aged 14-25 at our services. We found:

  • 67% of young people believe their generation will be worse off than their parents
  • 62% said the Government care more about older generations than their generation

  • 69% believe they will have worse happiness/mental health than their parents

When asked to pick up to three of the most important issues facing this country over the next three to five years, 62% chose Britain leaving the EU, 54% chose the environment and climate change while 25% chose the economy.

It doesn’t matter what the politics are gonna be if we have no future.

Young person

What makes young people feel like this?

Quotes from young people

Many young people are hopeful and ambitious for their own futures, but often hold little hope for the future of their generation. 

They voiced concerns about many different things - these include:

  • mental health services and waiting times
  • climate change
  • crime
  • finding a job
  • access to education opportunities

For many young people, the issue is that they don’t feel heard by society – or by decision makers. They see a Government focused on the concerns of the older generation at the expense of young people.

How we help

Barnardo’s works with children young people and families across the UK to transform their lives, and the system around them, for the better. We’ve helped young people like Gary and Amy find their feet in employment and hope for a bright future.

Robert Halfon speaking at our annual parliamentary reception
This is something very special, very special, it’s original, it’s thoughtful and it is something that I hope all policy makers whatever party will follow

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP

What needs to happen next?

The issues raised by the young people we spoke to are complex and interlinked so a long term, multi-agency approach is needed to help the most disadvantaged young people in the UK feel listened to, involved and more hopeful for the future of their generation.

Read the full report below for all of our recommendations.

Download resources