Young carer Aimee Hadwin has spent lockdown looking after her disabled mum in Liverpool and shielding to protect her.
“My main worry has been getting prescriptions for the right time and getting food deliveries,” says 18-year-old Aimee, who is in the first year of her A-levels.
Kira Charlton, 23, a young mum and law student from Epsom, Surrey, has had to get up at dawn to study law before her baby son wakes up.
“Lockdown has been really hard,” she says. “I wake up at 5am and get two hours of studying done before he wakes at 7am and then I’ll go back to it when he is having his lunch.”
After studying hard for A-levels, Joao Costa, 18, from Tonbridge, Kent, found himself lost, and struggling with his mental health.
“As a young person it felt like our whole lives got sucked away from us in the space of one day,” he says.
“My mental health took a hit, it was a spiral down. Everything changed overnight.”
Student Sharon Adebola, 17, from London, had to deal with a broken laptop when learning online was the only option.
Sofie Mawdsley-Smith, 18, from Preston, Lancs, lost her job in a cafe and despairs of finding another.
Londoner Athian Akec, 17, worries about differences in support private and state schools have offered students.
As the economy melts down and planned futures melt away, there’s one generation that stand to lose most from the pandemic.
Yet Generation Z are the young people we have heard from least and have the least say in the future of the country.
Now, young people are calling for an inquiry into how Covid has impacted those aged 16-25, and for a national youth task force to tackle issues they face on the road ahead.
“This generation is going to pay a very high cost,” says Athian, who lives with his mum, a nursery school assistant, and his younger sister.
“A generation will be lost. There is already so much inequality and the crisis is only making it worse.
Young people aren’t getting a fair chance. We are at a crossroads in history.”
A new ‘Forgotten Generation’ study from charity My Life My Say and marketers Opinium reveals that three-quarters (73%) of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK believe the coronavirus pandemic has had the biggest impact on them in their lifetime.
Two-thirds (63%) are worried about their future prospects, 42% are worried about losing their jobs, and 48% of renters are worried about paying rent.
Yet only three in 10 (29%) believe the Government thinks about them at all.
The charity HOPE not Hate also fears Generation Z will pay the future price of the coronavirus.
“In the first stages of adulthood, many are feeling that the pandemic has stolen their future,” another new report says, warning of a coming storm of youth disaffection if issues are not tackled.
“You don’t want to burden other people,” Joao says.
“But from having so much to do, this focus on exams and education, suddenly I had nothing. A-levels had been my life for two years.
“One of the key elements in depression is that feeling of not having a purpose and that was me.
"Where you usually have friends around, you were facing it alone, it was a lonely time.
"There has been this deeper, darker side to quarantine that wasn’t thought about by Government.
"I didn’t know where to turn.”
Young people are less likely to die from Covid-19, but many have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, in part due to a “huge intergenerational living conditions divide”, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation.
It adds that millions of children and young people also experienced lockdown in overcrowded homes with no garden.
Young people’s jobs in hospitality were among the first to go too. They have seen the biggest pay swings, along with the oldest workers.
They face mass unemployment, and may suffer “pay scarring” in future.
Tragedies and world events – from the Second World War to Vietnam to 9/11 – shape every coming-of-age generation.
Aimee, Kira, Sofie, Sharon, Athian and Joao are trying hard to play the cards history has dealt them.
Athian’s mental health is back on track, Aimee and Kira have somehow managed their studies and responsibilities. Sofie keeps applying for jobs.
As Sharon says: “Where the Government hasn’t done enough, other people, people in their own communities, have stepped in to fill the gap.”
Now they are among hundreds of young people who have written to the Prime Minister to invite him to speak to young people via the My Life My Say platform.
“As we ease lockdown measures, and discussions are being had about our exit strategy, we must remember the British society relies on young people to rebuild the economy,” their letter says.
“We can no longer ignore the forgotten generation.”
Generation Z now awaits the Prime Minister’s reply.