In the summer of 2020, it was clear that the world had changed beyond recognition as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It quickly became apparent that the economic and social effects of the necessary lockdown measures would take a heavy toll on children’s education and their wellbeing, both in the short term and potentially for months and years to come. 

Like many other charities, we were hit very hard by the pandemic. At the same time, the need to support the UK’s vulnerable children and young people was greater and more urgent now than ever.

Infographic detailing the ways in which Barnardo's has helped vulnerable children and young people this year, numerically

We are clear that our intention is not simply to ‘get through’ this period of difficulty, but to ‘bounce back’ as soon as possible and to do so stronger, more innovative, and better able to meet the increasingly complex needs of vulnerable children and young people. 

Play or pause video
young girl

Supporting vulnerable children and young people

As the Covid-19 crisis hit, we launched the Barnardo’s Coronavirus Crisis Appeal, which raised vital funds, as well as awareness of the needs of vulnerable children and families during the pandemic. 

This enabled us to:  

  • Deliver 7,207 food parcels for children, young people and families living in food poverty
  • Deliver 7,260 mental health and wellbeing packs to children, young people and families we support
  • Make 1,350 emergency fuel payments for families and young people, courtesy of the Energy Savings Trust
  • Buy 1,383 laptops/tablets and 218 mobile phones to connect with online learning and family and friends

In 2020-21, Barnardo's supported 103,057 vulnerable children and young people through our COVID-19 response programme in England, See, Hear, Respond.

Family happily sitting on the couch watching tv

Generating income to invest in our vital services

2020 was a challenging year for fundraising across the charity sector with retail stores closed and activity such as face to face fundraising and events unable to continue during lockdowns. However, it also presented new opportunities to engage our supporters and we adapted our plans to find innovative ways to continue generating income.  

From late March 2020 to the end of March 2021, with the help of our generous supporters, including donations from members of the public, and in-kind contributions from our corporate partners, other organisations, and local businesses, the Barnardo’s Coronavirus Crisis Appeal raised £2.4million.  

We are grateful for the ongoing generosity of all our supporters, not least our individual donors who have continued to give to us during this challenging time. In fact, in 2020-21 our supporter retention improved by almost 10 per cent in comparison to the previous year. In addition, thousands of new and loyal supporters gave to the Crisis Appeal, and our seasonal appeals raised 8 per cent more than in 2019-20. 

Smiling group of people outside of IKEA

Working with partners

The challenges facing the most vulnerable children and young people during the crisis are too complex to solve by working directly with their families alone. We recognise that many issues are structural and involve the complex systems around children and young people. This means harnessing the power of partnership working – joining forces across the charity sector, with Government, with business and beyond, to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people.  

In 2020-2021, we worked with 791 services and partnerships throughout the UK. Through strategic partnerships focussed on innovation and system change, through national centres of expertise and through local delivery partnerships, we will continue to evolve and respond to existing and emerging needs across the four nations of the UK. 

We’re grateful for the ongoing support of Vodafone, IKEA, Amazon, QA and Saint-Gobain, who worked with us to respond to the crisis, adapt our plans and continue to support vulnerable children and young people. 

Teenage boy smiling

Working with volunteers

Volunteers play a crucial role in our retail shops and frontline services, as well as supporting our fundraising. Without them, we would be unable to operate in the way we do today. 

In 2020-21 we had around 11,000 volunteers in retail and frontline services, giving us a total of 2,325,000 hours of their time. In our annual satisfaction survey in 2020, 89% of volunteers said they received support and encouragement from colleagues and 91% said they felt they made a difference by volunteering with Barnardo’s. In addition, we benefit from 31 Barnardo’s Helper Groups who collectively raised £101,803 in 2020/21  

Our volunteers benefit from learning new skills, gaining qualifications and building the confidence to move into paid employment. Job-seeking volunteers regularly report that giving their time at a Barnardo’s retail shop helps improve self-esteem, communication skills, team-working, problem-solving, organisational skills, and numeracy.  

Download resources