Call for young Manchester Arena survivors to speak out and create change

Young people affected by the Manchester Arena Attack are being urged to complete an online survey being launched today by a group of young survivors of the bombing.

The easy-to-complete survey invites children and young people to share their experiences of the support they’ve received since the 2017 attack to identify what help will be most beneficial to future young survivors of terror.

The survey forms part of Bee The Difference, a unique new research project giving young people affected by the attack a platform to voice their experiences for the first time and a chance to create better outcomes for future young survivors.

Bee The Difference is a collaboration between nine young survivors from the Manchester attack, UK disaster response charity, the National Emergencies Trust, and researchers from Lancaster University.

The project’s Lead Researcher, Dr Cath Hill, is a Lecturer in Social Work at Lancaster University, co-founder of the Manchester Survivors Choir and a member of the National Emergencies Trust’s Survivors Forum.

Dr Hill said: “I know through my experience with The Choir that young people affected by the Manchester attack have sought support in a range of places – their GP, counsellors, teachers, social groups and social media.

“Some of this was incredibly helpful, some of it missed the mark completely, while some measures taken inadvertently introduced more trauma. Five years on it’s time to start to talk about this and make sure young people who experience similar events in the future get the best possible care.”

Ellie Taylor, one of the young survivors who has designed the research project, was 15 when she was caught up in the attack. Ellie said: “Bee The Difference is a chance to take something that changed our lives completely in a negative way and turn it into something positive for the future. The questionnaire isn’t invasive. It’s not about your personal story and what you went through. It’s just a few questions to find out what worked mentally for you, and what didn’t help, so we can find out what needs to happen in the future.”

Ava Turner, another of the project’s designers was just 10 when she was traumatised by the attack. Ava said: “This project is about saying our opinions are valid. They are extremely valid and they do need to be brought up at some point. They can’t be hidden forever.”

Chief Executive of the National Emergencies Trust Mhairi Sharp said: “Only those who have lived through an act of terror can truly understand the needs of those affected, which is why this project gives a vital voice to young Manchester survivors. The findings will inform the way our charity gives financial gifts to those affected by terror attacks. But we hope it will also provide insights to enable all areas of society to provide the best possible support to children and young people who are affected by terrorism in future.”

Later this year the anonymised survey findings will be shared with organisations who can help to make a difference to young people affected by terror; from government, to healthcare and education providers, to other civic and charitable bodies.

The nine young researchers who helped to design the study have created a video to raise awareness of the project. It features the young women singing their own arrangement of Beyonce’s song ‘Listen’ to encourage as many young participants as possible to take part and have their voices heard:

The ‘Bee The Difference’ survey is open to all young people whose lives were affected by the attack in some way and who were aged under 18 at the time. This includes those impacted by what happened to a loved one or friend, as well as those who were present at the Arena when the attack happened.

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