Healthy Livelihoods

Working to stop children starting life in poverty

The aim of our Healthy Livelihoods theme is to carry out research and evaluate interventions, initiatives and policies to address child, young person and family wellbeing and opportunities through increasing income, skills and control over community resources.

Our three main objectives are:

  1. Policy advice and translation – such as finding ways to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI) and skills programmes for young people.
  2. New empirical research – such as exploring the impacts of Covid on family precarity and child wellbeing in Bradford and Tower Hamlets.
  3. Evaluation of local, national and international interventions, and initiatives that come from the councils – such as promoting take up of existing policy measures related to the two-year-old early education offer and co-locating welfare benefits in universal health care services for pregnant women and families with infant children.


The overarching aim of our theme is to create a north-south/Bradford-Tower Hamlets alliance to better understand the synergies and divergences of Healthy Livelihoods issues in both locations.

Some of our work so far includes:

Young families and pregnant women

The COVID-19 pandemic led to our project looking at the impact of the pandemic on families with children under five and pregnant women in Tower Hamlets. This included a survey of 992 families, a qualitative longitudinal panel of 22 households, and a community assets map of changes to services for families during the summer of 2020. We were also funded to undertake some work around adapting to COVID-19 with pregnant women and new mothers in ‘The Born in Bradford 2020 Families Study’. We have also collaborated with the public health team in the London borough of Newham and UCL’s Institute of Child Health to run a parallel Covid-19 impact study with young families. For more information visit here

Mapping community assets

We are developing a visualisation of a Tower Hamlets community assets map of support for young families with social enterprise Mapping for Change and working with local parents to ascertain the map’s use and value.

Designing an unconditional income for young adults

Our plan to model how a Universal Basic Income (UBI) would impact mental health and wellbeing among young adults has local support. We are working with Lancaster and Newcastle Universities, plus colleagues at the The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and older teenagers and young adults from across Bradford to co-design a UBI intervention and understand what difference a secure income would make to their lives and livelihoods.

Welfare benefits advice

The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Alliance is a voluntary community organisation developed to co-ordinate the voluntary and community sector in Bradford to deliver health and social care projects across the area. The VCS Alliance co-ordinate a welfare benefits advice programme co-located within the primary care network across the community. We are conducting an evaluation of this service in partnership with the VCS Alliance, to evaluate the health, social and financial impacts of this service and its effect on primary care workload. Read more here

Emergency food hub

Tower Hamlets wanted to know whether to continue to fund their Covid-19 emergency food hub. We interviewed participating voluntary and council run services to find out their views about the use and value of the additional food provision. Read the full report here

To find out more about Healthy Livelihoods contact the theme leads

Additional Resources

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