TEENAGE girls from poor homes have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a charity.

Mentoring charity, The Girls Network has said the most negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been experienced by women, under 25s, and those from the least advantaged communities.

It has said school closures have widened the attainment gap, with state school pupils managing far fewer hours of remote learning than private school pupils.

The charity, which supports young women aged 14-19, has warned that thousands of the least advantaged girls across the UK face a “bleak” future unless they are given the support and empowerment they need.

The Girls Network has now launched a new campaign urging people to donate before International Women’s Day on March 8 to help with their efforts to “save the class of 2021.

A spokesperson said: “The Girls’ Network was able to stay fully operational throughout the pandemic, partly thanks to emergency funding, matching 1319 teenage girls with a mentor since the first lockdown.

“Data shows mentoring works, with 98% of girls mentored during the pandemic saying their mentor helped them feel more positive about their future, 81% saying mentoring helped them focus more on virtual school work, and teachers calling the programme a “lifeline” for their worst-off pupils.”

According to the charity’s research, young women stand to lose £40k each in lifetime earnings, and their mental health is at a 12-year low.

It is hoping to raise enough money to expand its mentoring network nationally and continue supporting girls in Sussex.

The charity said it was able to continue running during the pandemic after receiving emergency grants and by running 70 per cent of its mentoring sessions virtually.

To support or to find out more, visit https://www.thegirlsnetwork.org.uk/news/womens-day-2021