'My home, my life' - Developing living environments for Bangladeshi elders
Launched on the Bangladeshi Independence Day on Saturday, 26 March 2022, ‘Amar bari, amar jibon’ (My home, my life): developing living environments for Bangladeshi elders, is a pioneering 36-month long research project that will focus on the entrenched housing and health inequalities of Bangladeshi elders (‘probin’ in Bangla) in East London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
Aims & Objectives of the research
This study will explore values, perceptions and aspirations regarding current and future housing and question how age, housing and living arrangements interact and affect health and quality of life of the Bangladeshi ‘probin’ community in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets in East London.
The project will embrace themes of culture, equity, diversity, and inclusion contributing to a better understanding of the everyday life, health and wellbeing of the older Bangladeshi community in mainstream and specialist housing. Drawing on their experiences and needs, it will set out what future housing options might look like and help inform how to enable a wider range of housing choices.
It will further investigate:
- how experiences of living environments vary by sex, age, and health related conditions, living arrangements, tenure, and socio-economic status
- how current circumstances enable and constrain health and wellbeing
- the advantages/disadvantages, experiences, and preferences regarding living in different circumstances: a multi-generational family household, or alone, or in a couple
- how Bangladeshi ‘probin’ respond to and adapt their living environment when their housing no longer meets their needs
- capture sources of informal and formal advice and support that older Bangladeshi’s draw on to sustain their wellbeing over time; and
- share findings on the perspectives of housing, health and social care providers about issues facing Bangladeshi ‘probin’ and ways of addressing these.
Our partnership and overall approach to conducting this study is embedded in participatory and community research traditions reinforced by inclusive and collaborative ways of working.
We aim to conduct:
- Eighty in-depth interviews with Bangladeshi elders aged 50 and over living in multigenerational households, communal extra care settings and/or as a couple in East London boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham – to gather their perspectives on what they value about their ‘ways of living’ and ‘what they would like to change’.
- Ten focus groups will be held separately with families of probin to understand the experiences of and factors influencing multigenerational living.
- Twenty-five semi-structured interviews with key housing, health, social care and design professionals drawn from across the three boroughs including at metropolitan and national levels will also be completed – to enable gathering information about local housing and housing-related provision and practice including surfacing key issues in developing living environments for older people from minority ethnic groups.
Active inclusive involvement of communities (‘Research publics’) will be sought in the following ways:
- Community Co-researchers includes 6 people aged 18 years and above (both women and men) appointed to a paid role, jointly recruited by BHA and OU and trained in research ethics and interviewing by the academic team to conduct interviews with Bangladeshi probin in Sylheti, Bengali and English as required.
- Bangla Research Advisory group (BRAG) comprising 8 community members in place at outset of the study to include both women and men from across the three East London Boroughs. Supported by BHA and OU, BRAG members will be enabled to fully engage and contribute comfortably to different aspects of the research - from shaping the research questions to working with Practitioner Advisory Group to consider dissemination of findings and recommendations and influencing practice and policy.
- Practitioner advisory group (PAG) comprising of 10-12 local service providers, practitioners, policy makers and academics recruited to the study and in place at the outset. They will advise on local and national issues relevant to the research to explore with Bangladeshi probin and through professional interviews and support dissemination, accessibility and usability of findings in practice and policy
The Open University’s mission since 1969 is, ‘to be open to people, places, methods and ideas and this means that a commitment to equality is embedded in all that we do. We celebrate diversity and the strengths that it brings, we challenge under-representation and differences in outcomes.’
Actively promoting educational opportunity and social justice, the Open University has a vibrant research community and a stellar reputation for research excellence. The Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, where the OU team is located, has a dynamic research culture and environment with a strong tradition in methodological innovation and participatory research. For more information visit: https://wels.open.ac.uk/ (opens new window)
Bangla Housing Association (BHA) was formed to support the Bangladeshi community that was experiencing housing problems in the London Borough of Hackney. BHA have since extended their remit and now support and house people from wider communities in the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. BHA’s mission is to provide decent, affordable homes and support services for those in needs in the local BME and the wider community. For more information visit: https://www.banglaha.org.uk/about (opens new window)
The Housing LIN is the 'go to' sharing network for anyone working in housing, health and social care promoting solutions that enable everyone to live well in good quality housing. The network provides market insight and intelligence on latest funding, research, policy and practice to inspire better housing and care choices through its free knowledge and information sharing activities and consultancy business. For more information visit https://www.housinglin.org.uk/
This research project is supported by The Dunhill Medical Trust through the "Building and delivering suitable living environments and communities for an ageing population' grant scheme. For more information visit: http://dunhillmedical.org.uk/ (opens new window)
Press Release / Socials
Download the ‘Amar bari, amar jibon’ press release here (opens new window).
Other useful information
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Funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust through the ‘Building and delivering suitable living environments and communities for an ageing population’ grant, the project is led by The Open University (OU) in partnership with the Bangla Housing Association (BHA) and the Housing LIN (Learning and Improvement Network).