As the UK prepares to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, Nickie has joined Variety, the Children’s Charity, in partnership with 23 March - a campaign to commemorate the day the Prime Minister first announced lockdown.
The 23 March campaign aims to inspire the public to keep passing on the acts of kindness that flourished so noticeably during the past year to ensure that the community spirit seen during lockdown - and embodied by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore - continues, in the good times as well as the bad.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate social, emotional and academic impact on children and young people. However, for the one million disabled children in the UK, as well as the four million children living in poverty, its impact has been particularly severe.
The families of children Variety supports have described facing a range of challenges brought about the pandemic. These include a reduction in their usual support services and therapies, changes in routine, isolation, and the demands of home schooling, 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 families with non-disabled children.
Commenting on the campaign, Nickie said:
“On a day where we reflect on what we have all gone through over the last 12 month and we think of those who we have lost and their loved ones, it is important to consider how local communities have come together even in the darkest of times.
“I have seen how local people across the Two Cities of joined forces to offer help and support to neighbours, friends, family and complete strangers. I have seen it through Westminster Council’s Connects volunteers scheme and places like the Square Mile Food Bank in the City.
“I hope we can continue to encourage such strong community spirit to continue as we come out of lockdown and see restrictions lift and that at least the amazing volunteering and abundance of small acts of kindness that we have seen will continue.”
Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, 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.”