SOUTHAMPTON young residents are calling for support amid the coronavirus crisis.

City-based youth advocate group Help Us Move On is calling on Southampton City Council, the two universities in the city and the government to ensure young people have access to employment opportunities.

The news comes as an official report has revealed that 23,000 jobs in Southampton could be lost due to Covid-19.

Both the government and civic chiefs have pledged to support young people in the city.

But James McCombe, social justice advocate at  Help Us Move On, said young people in Southampton are more likely to suffer "serious hardship" during the pandemic as they are often in less secure jobs with zero-hour contracts.

He added: "People are hit but young people are the ones with the least resources to come out of a recession. There's a lot of unanswered questions for young people and it is hard for them to find the answer. They feel stuck and very anxious and I think they have good reasons to be anxious because they are going to be one of the most affected financially. "

He is asking city bosses to work with local and national businesses to create employment opportunities for young people.

Cllr Darren Paffey, cabinet member for children and learning at the city council, said a number of initiatives are already under way. 

He added: "We’re adding to the support available for young people online, and we now have dedicated websites – Flying Start and Access Southampton – providing free and impartial information. We’re also exploring how we can work with others across the city so that we can see where more support might be needed and also to help our young people understand the best options open to them.”

Cllr Paffey also said the council is working with No Limits, which manages Help Us Move On.

Both the University of Southampton and Solent University said they have a history of supporting young students.

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice-Chancellor at Solent University, added: "We are committed to doing what we can to support businesses. We will be working alongside the business sector and with local charities to provide practical help as well as smart thinking, research and knowledge exchange impact that will have a real impact.”

The Government said millions of jobs have been protected through the furlough scheme, grants and loans. 

A Government spokesperson added: "As we switch our focus to safely reopening the economy, we are preparing for the next phase including helping people back into work and making sure there are options for young people. Already the nationwide network of jobcentres is cutting across sectors to match jobseekers with recruiters, and in Southampton we’re working with local organisations including the City Council, Hampshire Futures and the Princes Trust to help young people build their skills and find employment.”