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Regional publisher launches campaign to champion ‘lost generation’

A group of 17 newspapers and websites are coming together in a joint campaign to highlight what they are calling the UK’s ‘lost generation.’

National World’s city world division news titles are launching ‘Project Peter Pan’ with the aim of championing the needs of those in their 20s and 30s who are frozen out of the housing ladder, stuck in sub-standard rental accommodation, and often struggling with mental health.

A series of reports were published across the group’s city-based titles yesterday, each highlighting the personal story of a young adult trapped in the rental cycle.

They included that of 21-year-old dad of two Levi, who told Liverpool World’s Emma Dukes and Emily Bonner he works as a chef but is forced to sofa surf after a relationship breakdown made him effectively homeless.


Priced out of the housing ladder – the fate of today’s 20-30 year-olds.

Though debt-free, he cannot afford to rent his own property and after bills, he has just £20 a week to live on.

In another case study, Edinburgh Evening News reporter Jamie Saunderson interviewed 34-year-old accountant Martin Dick, who rents with partner Kez, 36, and three-year-old daughter Jade.

Although the couple have been together for 11 years, getting on the property ladder has always eluded them.

In the run-up to this year’s election, National World says it wants to use collective local media power to give a voice to those in their 20s and 30s who have negotiated a pandemic, work hard and are ambitious – yet are lost.

Editor in chief (north) Nicola Adam said: “Project Peter Pan is putting aside any assumptions, generalisations, and unhelpful narratives about the generations of young adults who have had, and are having, a really hard time.

“They are the most informed as digital natives and often ambitious yet the reality of the day to day thanks to crippling costs is – unless they come from wealth – getting decent accommodation or on the property ladder remains a dream.

“This is just stage one of the campaign – listening – there is more to come and our National World titles intend to make a stand for the lost generations across the UK.

“Politicians should take heed of these crucial voices.”

Print titles taking part in the campaign include the Yorkshire Evening Post, The Star Sheffield, Lancashire Post, Blackpool Gazette, Shields Gazette, The News – Portsmouth, Sunderland Echo and Edinburgh Evening News.

They are joined by online-only titles Glasgow World, Manchester World, Derby World, Nottingham World, London World, Liverpool World, Bristol World, Newcastle World and Birmingham World,

Claire Lewis, editor of The Star, said: “For Sheffield to face losing this generation because they can no longer afford to live here is something that cannot be allowed to happen.

“They are the future of our city, so for them to be priced out of the market is wrong.

“Sheffielders deserve to be able to live in their home city where they have grown up. And those who have moved here as students or for work and want to put down roots here should have that option too.

“We need to fight for this trapped generation and make housing more accessible because if we don’t do something now, it is only  going to get worse.”

Paul Trainer, editor of Glasgow World, said: “Traditionally young people priced out of other cities have found a place in Glasgow but even here there are extraordinary pressures on the next generation of workers, particularly young creatives.

“The stifling of potential and lack of opportunities for young people to establish their career and enter the property market has reached a historic crisis point. Their concerns will shape the landscape of the next general election across cities in the UK.”