Published on
04 June 2021

Reality TV star Sam Thompson will be joined by his celebrity friends, Twitch stars, and gamers as he hosts a 24-hour livestream in aid of Barnardo’s. 

The 28-year-old will be broadcasting on the live streaming platform Twitch from 11.59pm today (Friday June 4th) to 11.59pm tomorrow (Saturday June 5th). 

His celeb friends will be on hand to ensure he doesn’t fall asleep at 3pm, but will be hoping his sleep deprivation will mean they can beat him at one of the games he’ll be playing like Super Bomberman, Fall Guys and FIFA. 

They are set to include model and mental health advocate Bobby Brazier, Radio 1 DJs and streamers Rickie Haywood-Williams and Jack Saunders, EDM producer and streamer Jordan Comolli, Streamers MiaxMon, Emmzy Plays and Loeya, comedians and streamers Terry Mynott and Pierre Novellie, actor and streamer Anto Sharp, rock band The Amazons, musician Amun, and gaming personality Adam Savage.   

Sam’s fundraiser is part of Ready Player B, where gamers on Twitch host live streams to raise funds for the UK’s leading children’s charity while also raising awareness about mental health. 

Speaking about the event, Sam Thompson said: “As Barnardo’s emotional health and wellbeing ambassador, I know how vital the charity’s work is in supporting children and young people who are experiencing mental health issues. 

“And, as a keen gamer myself, I know how gaming can be good for my own mental health by allowing me to de-stress and lose myself in another world, especially over the last 15 months! So, when I saw Barnardo’s launch their Ready Player B fundraising challenge I knew it was one I had to get involved in. 

“While the sleep deprivation is going to be a challenge, I am looking forward to beating some of my friends in front of a live audience! Come and join us any time throughout the 24 hours on my Twitch channel for a lot of gaming and interesting conversations.” 

Polling published by Barnardo’s shows how the pandemic has affected children and young people who are experiencing issues with their mental health and wellbeing. 

In a recent online poll conducted by YouGov*, Barnardo’s asked more than 4,000 children and young people aged eight-24 across Great Britain about how they were feeling now compared to before the pandemic.   

More than half of 16-24-year-olds surveyed said they were feeling stressed (58%), worried (54%), sad (52%) and lonely (56%) more now than before the coronavirus pandemic. 

This is the second year Barnardo’s has used YouGov to survey children and young people during the pandemic to gauge how children were coping during lockdown.    

Worryingly, the number of 16-24-year-olds who say they are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing has increased from last year, suggesting mental health and wellbeing has worsened despite the recent positive news about the vaccine rollout and the lifting of restrictions.  

The issue this age group is currently most concerned about because of the pandemic is their mental health - the top answer, chosen by 37% of respondents, up from 26% last year.     

Not seeing friends was one of the hardest things 16-24-year-olds found about the Covid-19 restrictions, with 54% choosing it as one of their top three options, along with loneliness and isolation which was chosen by a third (33%) of respondents. 

The poll results suggest younger children have fared better than their older peers, but almost a third of eight-15-year-olds surveyed said they were experiencing feeling stressed (29%) and worried (30%) more now than before the coronavirus pandemic.  

Only 16% of GB children aged eight-15 reported they were experiencing these respective feelings less now than before the coronavirus pandemic. 

Anyone who wants to donate can go to Sam Thompson's Ready Player B JustGiving page.

Notes to editors 

Barnardo’s acknowledges the importance of responsible gaming and always want to encourage both children and adults to be safe online. That is why we are committed to investing in technology that supports and protects children’s mental health through interventions like our Swindon Trailblazers Service – a game designed to help mental health professionals deliver Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) interventions to young people. 

Visit Barnardo's online life sub-hub for resources, tools, videos and more to support you in talking to your child about their online life.

For more information and resources about gaming, please visit ygam – the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust. 

*16-24-year-old stats 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2009 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th April - 10th May 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16 to 24). 

Young children stats 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2018 children aged 8 to 15. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th April - 10th May 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 8 to 15).