Households in the UK, more than any other Western European country, are being hit particularly hard by the increased energy prices and cost of living. Moreover, the cost burden is largely taken on by the most deprived households in the country, with even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressing concerns about this.

It is against this backdrop that this project was developed by Impact on Urban Health and Centric in order to document the experiences of financial precarity and increases in the cost of living on people from Black and ethnic minority communities at risk, or/and living with multiple long-term conditions (MLTCs) in Lambeth and Southwark, two London boroughs which have significant levels of deprivation.

With the findings of this research we are looking to influence the responses of stakeholders and then inform tangible interventions to reduce the progression to MLTCs within these communities. But more importantly, this work is about giving a voice to those who are often overlooked in traditional research.

Our Approach:

For this research project we focused on Lambeth & Southwark residents from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds who are dealing with multiple long-term health conditions. Our aim was to understand how our participants were coping with the increased cost of living and if and how this was having an effect on their physical and mental health. We selected a team of Community Researchers from a range of demographic backgrounds which would allow us to use their personal and professional networks to identify and approach potential participants.

Semi-Structured Interviews

Talking about finances and health conditions is often considered a taboo in Black and ethnic minority communities. We therefore anticipated that there could be hesitation from participants to take part in this research and to really open up about their personal circumstances.

We brainstormed as a team with the aim to identify potential objections and discuss these to help prepare our Community Researcher to address these objections when speaking with people in their networks. With this approach we were able to conduct 40 one-to-one interviews, exceeding our target of 35 interviews, with participants speaking openly and honestly about their health and current financial pressures allowing us to capture some rich insights.

Online & In-Person Focus Groups

Focus groups are a great way to open up conversations and dive deeper into insights obtained from the one-to-one interviews. We initially planned one online and one in-person focus group to accommodate everyone in an accessible manner. Due to oversubscription on our online focus groups, we decided to add another online session. In total 45 participants participated in these three sessions facilitated by our Community Researchers, allowing for open and conversations about their individual circumstances.

Insights & Discussion Event

As a community-focused organisation we feel it is important to disseminate our research and insights to our communities in accessible ways. We also recognise the importance of bringing together local communities and institutions for open and honest dialogue that will lead to better informed interventions and decision making. With this in mind, we decided to organise an event at the end of the project to present back our findings to the community and relevant stakeholders which led to meaningful discussions.

What’s Next?

As our research was conducted at the start of the winter, we feel that it’s important to get the full picture by ensuring that we also capture the actual winter period itself. We will therefore be approaching a range of relevant stakeholders to seek a further and larger extension to this research around April 2023. Conversations for this are currently underway.

We are also working with a range of partners to test some of our recommendations to ensure that our research is followed by meaningful action. More around this will be made public soon so make sure you sign up to our newsletter to find out more.

Interested in working with us? Send an email to to the attention of Sylvana Walcott.



Project Team


Further Reading

Reflections on the Cost of Living


  I wanted to be involved in The Cost of Living and Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTCs) project because the ...

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Hidden Pains of The Cost of Living Crisi...


  The Cost of Living and Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTCs) work is proving to be very exciting and closely...

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Traumatising Impacts Of The Cost Of Livi...


  When I heard about this project, I honestly didn’t have much idea how it would go or play out but, I wanted ...

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Cost of Living Impacting Inner City Comm...


The current cost of living crisis is having a detrimental impact upon so many people’s lives. Our own experiences mean...

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Financial Trauma a Factor in the Urban L...


Introduction Financial trauma is an issue which in the current context of rising energy prices, cost of living crises...

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History and Methods of Community Researc...


Historically, health research has not considered the experiences of black people and people from other minority ethnic g...

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Extraction Models of Research


  “If we own our innovation that comes from our cultural nuance, then we could empower ourselves” - Brixton ...

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Our Partner(s)


Downloadable Resources

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Cost Of Living & MLTC's Report 2023


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