What is the purpose of this project?

This project seeks to find out how the cost of living crisis is affecting families who are living on a low income. For example, we want to explore families’ experiences of benefit claims, of paid work, and of looking after children at a time when the costs of basic essentials are rising rapidly.

We know that we are asking families to share their experiences during a time of difficulty and stress, and appreciate that this may stop some families from being involved. However, we also think it is important that families are able to share their experiences of the rising cost of living, if they would like to. We want to do this in partnership with families themselves, who will help us make key decisions across the project. We will share the findings from this project with politicians and civil servants, to help them understand the impact of the cost of living crisis on families, and help them to think about what might be done differently and better.

Information about the Changing Realities project

The University of York invites you to take part in this research project, funded by the abdrn Financial Fairness Trust Foundation -an independent charitable foundation that funds research, campaigning and policy work to improve the living standards and personal finances of people struggling to make ends meet. Before agreeing to take part, please read through the information provided here and let us know if anything is unclear or you would like further information.

This project follows on from a similar project, Covid Realities, that looked at how families on low incomes experienced the Covid-19 pandemic. Changing Realities will include a mixture of people: some will have been part of Covid Realities, some will not have been.

This information sheet is available for you to download here and can also be found on your dashboard on the app.

Why do you want people like me to take part?

We are looking to speak to people who have children under 19 living in their household and who are living on a low income. You may have been getting by on a low income for a while, or you may have only recently started to find it difficult to manage financially.

What does taking part involve?

There are different ways to take part. You can choose to take part in as little or as much as you like.

Firstly, you can complete a diary about your experiences. In this diary, we would like you to tell us how everyday life is for you and your family at this time. These diary entries can be completed using text, audio or video, or you can write the diary by hand and upload a photo of it. You can also add photos to share key features of your daily life. Ideally, we would like you to submit a diary every week for the first month you are involved in the project. After the first full month of involvement, we would like you to submit a monthly update diary. The diary activity will run from September 2022 to February 2023.

Secondly, you can also choose to take part in online activities that will be put up on the project website. These activities will take the form of a simple question or statement around a theme e.g. childcare. You will be able to respond to the activity question/statement by text, audio or video. We will upload new activities once a fortnight. You can also choose to take part in online workshops such as zine making, writing workshops, and media training.

You can choose to do one or more of these activities, and can do as much (or as little) as you wish.

If you decide to take part you will receive £20 in Love2Shop vouchers for the first full month you engage with the project to say thank you for your time. You will also receive £10 in Love2Shop vouchers as a thank you for every subsequent month that you continue to be involved with the project. This will not affect any benefits you may be receiving. We will make available  mobile phone credit to those who need it to participateDo I have to take part?

It’s up to you whether you take part or not. If you change your mind at any point during the study for any reason, you will be able to withdraw without having to explain why. After taking part, you will have up to 7 days to withdraw your data by contacting jim.kaufman@york.ac.uk

The research team is made up of independent academics with no links to government departments. Your decision to participate, decline or withdraw from the study will have no impact on your benefits, or on any other services or support you might receive.

What are the benefits of taking part?

You will have the opportunity to tell researchers what it is really like for you and your family to live on a low income and how the cost of living crisis is affecting you.

On what basis will you process my data?

The General Data Protection Regulation, part of UK law, means that any organisation collecting and processing personal information has to explain why they are doing so and what they will use the data for. These explanations have to be written in ways that do not always communicate their meaning very well, so if you do have any questions in addition to what is linked below, please do get in touch and ask us!

Data management and protection in the study will comply with University of York policy and the General Data Protection Regulation. Your personal data will be securely stored and accessible only to the research team. For further information, please click here. Records of interviews and workshops will be kept for 10 years following their last use in a research publication.

We will remove any identifying or inflammatory content and we will correct typos and misspellings before uploading diary entries and Video Ask responses on to the site. Participants will be able to inform us if they would prefer that we did not correct misspellings by emailing jim.kaufman@york.ac.uk

Key contacts

If you have any questions about this study or your participation, please contact: jim.kaufman@york.ac.uk | 07385 430879

If you have any concerns about how your data is being processed, please contact the University of York research integrity office on 01904 322712 or at alice.wakely@york.ac.uk.

Data Protection

To see our data protection policy, click here

Changing Realities is a collaboration between parents and carers, researchers at the University of York, and Child Poverty Action Group.
Changing Realities is funded by abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.
Changing Realities' sister project is Covid Realities, which ran from 2020 to 2022, and was funded by the Nuffield Foundation
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