The Cost of Living and Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTCs) work is proving to be very exciting and closely reflects my own experiences. This project focussed on our community's lived experience of how the increased cost of living has been impacting the daily lives of Lambeth and Southwark residents who battle with multiple long-term health conditions.
From our interviews to our community event, we learnt, cried and reflected on all of the lived experiences of our residents. Many people often forget the effect that these tough and emotional conversations have on our Community Researchers (CRs) and what they learn from this process. They listened to the different challenges and issues these residents faced, opening the eyes of our CRs to the real effects of the cost of living crisis for those who live with MLTCs.
The quotes below highlight this:
Haidee, Trainee Community Researcher:
“The fact that there is a cost of living crisis going on, and there has always been a cost of living crisis in terms of people living with multiple or long-term conditions, was something that has stuck with me now.”
Femi, Senior Community Researcher:
“I found that many are struggling with the cost of living crisis but there are some organisations that are helping, such as food banks, which are at capacity, and pantries which give good discounts on basic shopping needs. We also found that work places can offer some more support for employees with MLTCs with either more flexible hours or paid hospital visits.”
Yazmin, Community Researcher:
“I could better understand how the cost of living affects people with long-term conditions and consequently affects their lifestyle, making it harder to cope with this problem. The interviews allowed me to become more aware of the system, which could do more for that community. People are struggling and trying to adapt the best they can.”
One of our learnings is the importance of our safe spaces and especially in our in-person focus groups and events where residents in Lambeth and Southwark can come together to discuss difficult topics that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunities to.
Some residents quotes below:
“So for me, it's more than just the conversation. By the time I finish this, I will feel more like I've been heard, like I've been seen. Okay. And this will provide peace. So I'm grateful for this opportunity and that someone is interested or wants to hear my opinion about anything. So, and, and that maybe I'm great. I hope that this can help in some shape or form.”
“I would say just a way of connecting with grassroot organisations that are trying to support, because there are many of us, if you're not going outside or you're not mixing with the community, you're not going to know that they exist. Or, maybe a way of the grassroot organisations getting support so that people can be close to them.”
Centric is a community research organisation led by the community, for the community. We engage, connect and amplify the voices of Black and minority communities through semi-structured one-to-one interviews, in-person and online focus groups, plus events. They go through this journey with us to help influence institutions into engaging more effectively with our communities and uplifting the Black and ethnic minority groups, whose voices remain too often unheard.
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