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  • Run by Toynbee Hall, a charitable institution that works alongside people facing poverty and injustice to build a fairer and happier East London; in partnership with Thrive LDN, a city-wide movement to improve mental health and wellbeing.
  • Investigates whether young Londoners get the emotional support they need from their families, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Working with a group of young Londoners, taking a participatory action research approach.
  • Runs from November 2022 to April 2024.

Research shows that young people have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They report more mental distress and loneliness than any other group, and will experience more long-term harm due to the disruption of their education.

London is experiencing the highest overcrowding levels in the UK, which placed strain on young people and their families during the movement restrictions due to COVID-19. Alongside this, rising living costs mean that for low-income families, supporting themselves and their children is now even more challenging.

Toynbee Hall’s recent work with young Londoners suggests that parents are often unable to provide effective emotional support due to their own life circumstances and stresses, intergenerational differences, and cultural barriers.

This project investigates the impact of increased living costs on families’ capacity to provide emotional support, and the consequences on young people’s health and development. Understanding the impact on young people is central to mitigating the long-term negative impact on them.

Using a participatory action research approach, a group of 10 young Londoners (aged 16 to 22 years) from low-income families are trained and supported to be ‘peer researchers’. They conduct 14 focus groups with up to 55 young people and 30 family representatives, and co-design a nationally representative survey reaching 1,000 participants.

They will then be supported to analyse the responses to identify key issues, and develop proposals about how to help families, services and the government to support young people better, and share the findings and proposals with decision makers.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Rushaa Hamid, Research Manager, Toynbee Hall.

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