This year we held two versions of the event, the first in-person on Friday 13 October 2023 at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre in Waterloo and the second online, on Tuesday 24 October. Both events aimed to bring people together to explore health and care needs, as well as inequalities prevalent in south London, through research.

Participants discussed different perspectives and sources of knowledge for a fuller picture of what helps or hinders health and wellbeing in south London to inform future research, drawing especially on how voluntary and community organisations contribute to knowledge.

The events were co-chaired by Natasha Curran, ARC South London’s implementation and involvement lead and medical director of the Health Innovation Network, alongside Rashmi Kumar, chair of the ARC’s Involvement Advisory Group and a trustee of Lambeth Patients and Public Participation Group.

Opening the in-person event, Natasha Curran emphasised the importance of involving the public throughout the research process.

Involving people from the beginning to the end of research, and back again, and embedding that public involvement is really important

Natasha Curran, ARC South London’s implementation and involvement lead and medical director of the Health Innovation Network

Impacts of the cost-of-living crisis

After this there were three presentations. The first was from Colin Wilson, engagement and projects officer at Healthwatch Sutton, on exploring the health and care impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, including on people who already have chronic health conditions or are using care services.

Colin shared findings from Healthwatch Sutton's cost-of-living survey, highlighting a range of findings, including people’s concerns about the mental health impact of the cost-of-living crisis, especially on their close family and friends.

Precarity among older LGBTQ+ communities in London

The second presentation was from Mark Sladen, research and policy officer at the charity Opening Doors, the largest UK charity for LGBTQ+ individuals over 50, who explored research on precarity among older LGBTQ+ communities living in London.

Highlighting various risk factors contributing to poverty, Mark said, "People from LGBTQ+ communities are drawn to cities to find others from their communities, but this is where the cost of living is high, particularly in London."

Bringing together knowledge from varied sources

The third presentation was from Savi Hensman, ARC South London’s involvement coordinator, on bringing together knowledge from varied sources, including Census and other data. Savi emphasised the importance of synthesising insights from varied sources, particularly those rooted in lived experiences, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of health and wellbeing.

Bringing together knowledge from different sources, especially where this draws on lived experience, can help us explore how to improve health and wellbeing. No one set of data, or sources can give an accurate picture of inequalities.

Savi Hensman

Savi Hensman, ARC South London’s involvement coordinator

Breakout discussions aimed at informing future research

After the presentations, there were a series of smaller breakout discussions at both events aimed at informing future research and considering implications for south London's broader health and care system. Attendees could join one of four breakout groups:

  • Relational care
  • Bringing lived experience and community concerns to work
  • Addressing issues for people with multiple conditions facing disadvantage and/or discrimination
  • Going beyond ‘healthy lifestyles’

Closing the events, Rashmi Kumar thanked all participants, highlighting the power of sharing experiences and knowledge.

Breakout group

We can learn from each other and share our experiences and knowledge, that is the power of an event like this

Rashmi Kumar

Rashmi Kumar, chair of the ARC’s Involvement Advisory Group

Find out more

Vita Swarnjit and Rashmi at the Active Involvement and Research event