'There's nowt to do': Middlesbrough community hit hard by coronavirus lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has been particularly cruel to the young.

There are no furlough payments in careers which haven’t yet begun.

You can’t work from home in a job you haven’t yet got.

And in places where opportunities for young people are already few, the closure of schools and colleges and the suspension of so much economic activity seem to have lessened still further the chances of getting on.

There are stubbornly high unemployment rates in Middlesbrough.

The same goes for child poverty.

And yet I found no lack of ambition among the young people I met on the Pallister Park housing estate.

Maca Cosgrove, 21, compared lockdown to ‘"being stuck in quicksand".

He recently completed a joinery qualification, and was just starting to find work on renovation projects when the outbreak hit.

“Now there’s nowt to do", he said.

Amelia Thomas is just 16 years old and overcame severe dyslexia to win a place on a veterinary assistant’s course, which was supposed to start in the autumn.

Now she doesn’t know if she’ll get the grades she needs, or even if the course is still happening.

Emma Sayers is raising two children on her own, and gave up her full-time job in a fast food restaurant to go to university and pursue her dream of becoming an occupational therapist.

Now she finds herself building up thousands of pounds of debt in the hope of getting a job which may no longer be there in a lockdown-wrecked economy.

The government has spent billions on trying to keep businesses afloat, and employees in their jobs, through lockdown.

There’s no money though for ambitions which have had to be postponed, or hopes which might be dashed.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know