Children affected by the Manchester Arena terror attack are being urged to share their experiences of the support they have received since the atrocity.
The findings from an easy-to-complete online survey are aimed at identifying what help would be most beneficial to future young survivors of similar events.
It is part of the ground-breaking Bee The Difference project, a collaboration between nine young survivors of the 2017 attack, the National Emergencies Trust and researchers from Lancaster University.
Lead researcher Dr Cath Hill, a lecturer at the university and also co-founder of the Manchester Survivors Choir made up of attack survivors, said: “I know from my experience with the choir that young people affected by the Manchester attack have sought support in a number of places, their GP, counselors, teachers, social groups and social media.
“Some of this was incredibly helpful, some of it missed completely, while some measures taken inadvertently introduced more trauma.
“Five years on, it’s time to start talking about this and make sure that young people who experience similar events in the future get the best possible care.”
Ellie Taylor, 20, who was 15 when she was caught up in the attack, said: “Bee The Difference is a chance to take something that completely changed our lives in a negative way and turn it into something positive for the future.
“The questionnaire is not invasive.
“It’s not about your personal story and what you went through.
“It’s just a few questions to find out what worked for you mentally, and what didn’t, so we can figure out what needs to happen in the future.”
With project designer Ava Turner, 16, who was 10 when she was traumatized by the events at Arena, said: “This project is about saying that our opinions are valid.
“They are extremely valid and they need to be brought up at some point.
“They cannot be hidden forever.”
The chief executive of the charity 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 an important voice to young Manchester survivors. .
“The findings will inform the way our charity provides financial gifts to those affected by terrorist attacks.
“But we hope it will also provide insight to enable all areas of society to provide the best possible support to children and young people affected by terrorism in the future.”
Later this year, the anonymised survey results will be shared with various organisations, including government, health and education providers and other community and charitable bodies.
The nine young researchers who helped design the study have created a YouTube video to raise awareness, including singing their own arrangement of Beyonce’s Listen.
The inquiry is open to anyone under the age of 18 at the time whose life was affected, including those who were affected by what happened to a loved one or friend, as well as those who were present at the Arena when the attack occurred.
Further details of the survey are available from www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/beethedifference