Toynbee Hall report highlights Covid social inequality impact

Toynbee Hall Report on building stronger community networks to improve mental wellbeing

The Toynbee Hall report tells the stories of those “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic. - Credit: Toynbee Hall

Whitechapel's Toynbee Hall has published a number of recommendations to address social inequalities during the Covid pandemic recovery.

The “peer to peer” report tells the stories of those who are “disproportionately impacted” because of lower quality of life, taken from interviews by a diverse group of trained researchers with members of their own communities.

Researchers talked to those on low wages, usually living in rented accommodation or with disabilities, about their income, jobs, what community support they get and the effects on their mental wellbeing. 

“The pandemic is the latest crisis in a worsening systemic exclusion and inequality,” Toynbee Hall director Sian Williams said. 

“But our researchers have identified solutions and set out ways for building stronger community networks, increasing financial resilience and improving mental wellbeing. 

“Acting on these recommendations is essential for a fairer future for those most affected who must play a key part of any recovery strategy.”  

The recommendations were being put to MPs and peers at Westminster yesterday (August 5) at the joint meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary groups on Ending the Need for Food Banks and on Universal Credit.  

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They were also made to the Greater London Authority’s London Recovery Board on employment and digital inclusion and to City Hall’s Women and Equalities inquiry into the “disproportionate impact” of Covid on Black and ethnic communities. 

The findings suggest developing “a listening infrastructure” for London’s recovery, including the opportunity to speak to and be listened to by decision-makers.

The Toynbee Hall research was carried out with Thrive LDN, a movement for mental wellbeing focusing on suicide prevention. 

The latter's director Dan Barrett said: “We must put people and communities in the lead as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, for those who need help now and beyond the pandemic.” 

The report is dedicated to Toynbee Hall worker Jennifer Griffith, who died in March.

She carried out interviews for the project and helped shape the research.