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Major consultation launched to capture children’s current views and experiences of the pandemic in Wales

Following the success of the first survey of its kind in the UK last year, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales is today launching another listening exercise, asking Wales’ children and young people for their current views and opinions of the effect of the pandemic on various aspects of their lives.

Working with the Welsh Government, Children in Wales and Welsh Youth Parliament, nearly 24,000 responses were received to the first survey, which launched in May last year, the results of which have shaped decision-making by local governments and the Welsh Government. As restrictions continue, the Commissioner and partners are keen to hear children and young people’s first-hand views on key themes and issues including their health and wellbeing, education, the impact on social aspects of their lives and the needs of specific groups.

The results of the ‘Coronavirus and Me’ consultation will be made available to Welsh Government ahead of the 3-week review in mid-February, which is likely to be considering next steps on restrictions on schools, colleges, sport and leisure facilities and rules for social gatherings – all of which have enormous impacts on children and young people’s lives.

Professor Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:

“There can be no substitute to hearing first-hand experiences; this is why I’m so determined to make sure children’s views and experiences are captured and listened to as we continue to work our way through this pandemic. Their voices must be heard by those making such enormous decisions affecting their lives.

“Much of the debate recently has been solely between adults and I’m keen to shift the focus back onto what children and young people think and are experiencing. In a country which prides itself in championing children’s rights, these young voices should be centre-stage in every decision-making process and as their independent champion, this is what I’m here to do.”

To enable a diverse range of children and young people to take part – including children under 7 and those with additional support needs – a symbols version of the survey is available as well as a picture activity task as an alternative of filling out the text version of the survey. All versions of the survey will be made available from the Commissioner’s website today (20 January 2021).

Welsh Government’s Deputy Health Minister, Julie Morgan MS, said: “It is very important we understand what children and young people are going through and their experiences during the pandemic.

“Their responses to the ‘Coronavirus and Me’ survey will give us an insight into how their lives have been affected and how they feel about it.

“We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with other organisations, so that together we hear the voices of children and young people, and can learn from these challenging times and to influence our decision making going forward.

“We look forward to seeing the responses and urge everyone eligible to take part.”