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The Impact of COVID-19 on young people in Merton

Updated: May 8

This research was designed, carried out, and analysed by Merton's Young Inspectors. A group of young people who live, and learn, in Merton. It looked at the impact of Covid-19 on young people in 2021.

To download the full report please click here.

Denise Vidal-Candengue, peer researcher:

"I believe that it is not enough to listen to the voices of young residents in Merton. Young residents need to actively participate with senior decision makers to make Merton a better place for both adults and young residents.

This research project explored the impact of Covid-19 on our young people who live or study in the London Borough of Merton. This peer research project was designed and conducted by us, the peer researchers, as we spoke to hundreds of young people face to face in interviews and focus groups, and over 2,000 young people in a survey. We want to thank all the young people who took the time to do our survey or speak to us in person."

Some of the key findings:

  • Covid-19 negatively impacted the mental health of young people: Covid-19 and lockdown has had a negative impact on the physical and mental health of young residents in Merton. However, young people are feeling better, and are more active now that lockdown has been lifted.

  • Food poverty is disproportionately experienced by different groups: One in ten young people has had to skip meals because there wasn’t enough food, while one in twenty went a whole day without eating. Additionally different groups disproportionately are impacted by food poverty.

  • It was harder to see friends, and make friends: Young people were less able to see friends, and found it harder to make friends, however many relied on their friendships more during lockdown. As a result, this strengthened existing relationships, and support between friends played a huge role.

  • Many young people found the transition to online learning difficult: There was a mixed experience of online education and learning. Older young people and those who were impacted by changes in exams were more likely to have a negative experience of education during lockdown.

  • Green spaces were important for young people in lockdown: Covid-19 and lockdown made young residents feel positive about their local area, and the community that they lived in, and used local parks and green spaces more.

  • Young people don't think that they have a say in decision making: Young residents feel excluded, and not listened to, when it comes to decisions that impact them locally. Their perception that their voice does not matter also means that they’re less likely to want to get involved, whether that’s having a say, or volunteering.

Merton Young Inspector Authors:

Lurdes De Jesus Moreno, Toby Podger-Taylor, Anna Huk, Halima Mehmood, Denise Vidal-Candengue, Lola Kareem

Partnership for Young London: Matthew Walsham (


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