Communities and lifestyle
Our local communities are becoming increasingly fragmented. Our local infrastructure and shared spaces are being eroded and young people are not involved in decision making processes.
  • Whilst young people care about environmental issues, studies show that they do not feel empowered to lead or make change and there is a sense of hopelessness around climate change issues (1)
  • Historically, approximately 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health issues (2)
  • Young people’s mental well-being is reported to be at its lowest ever recorded level (3)
  • Those aged 16-24 years old are the age group most active on social media (91%). Links have been made between social media use and depression and anxiety issues for young people (4)
  • Obesity is an increasingly common health issue amongst children and young people (5)
There is high unemployment especially amongst young people. Research shows a lack of opportunities for young people to access skills and experience to help them into employment or further education.
  • Unemployment rates are almost three times higher for 16-25 year olds when compared with the rest of the UK population (6)
  • 80,000 young people were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in May 2017 (7)
We are witnessing increased vulnerability to climate change. Nature is in serious decline across the UK but we depend on a healthy environment for our wellbeing and prosperity.
  • Since 2000, the world has experienced 14 out of the 15 hottest years on record, due to climate change (Committee on Climate Change 2017)
  • 53% of species in the UK declined between 2002 and 2013 (8) and the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world with one in seven species facing extinction
  • In 2016, CO2 levels were at their highest ever recorded and Artic Sea ice was at its lowest ever winter level (World Meteorological Organization 2017)
  • Concern has been expressed that young people spend less time in nature compared to previous generations and thus feel disconnected with the environment – a 2016 survey found that 12% of children had not spent any time in the natural environment in the last year (9)
  • There are widespread concerns that young people and children now lack knowledge about nature (10)
  • 62% of young people in the UK said climate change made them fearful for the future, in a recent attitudes survey (11)

The UK must transition to work effectively within environmental limitations. The education and employment opportunities within a resource-efficient, ‘greener’ economy are not readily accessible to young people
  • More than a third of young people have debt of on average £3,000, not including student loans or mortgages (12)
  • Since 2010, almost all local authorities have had to make cuts to youth services due to a lack of funding (13)


(1) Hibbard, M. and Nguyen, A. (2013), (2) ONS on behalf of Department of Health & Scottish Executive (2004), (3) Prince’s Trust (2017). Note: well-being recorded since 2009, (4) Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) & Youth Health Movement  (2017), (5) Public Health England (2017), (6) Office for National Statistics, (7) Office for National Statistics (2017a), (8) State of Nature report (2016), (9) National England (2016a), (10) National Trust (2008), (11) Broadbent et al. (2017), (12) National debtline and Money Advice Trust (2016), (13) Unison (2016)