Understanding Southwark

This is the interim report of a year long research project project that started in April 2020, exploring daily life in six areas of Southwark: Camberwell, Dulwich, Elephant and Castle, Old Kent Road, Peckham and Walworth. The research asked how people feel about their local areas and recent changes, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on residents’ lives.

This first stage of work took place between June and early September 2020. It gives a snapshot of life in these areas at this time. At the start of the period, London was emerging from lockdown restrictions and non-essential retail and facilities were still closed. As we moved into the summer, thelockdown restrictions were progressively relaxed.

A second round of research will take place in November 2020, with a final round in early 2021.

In this first round of the research we spoke to 246 residents through street interviews, and 24 took part in walking ethnographies. 41 traders and 55 stakeholders from different public sector and third sector agencies, as well as community groups and local activists, were also interviewed.

This research is part of a wider commission from Southwark Council. Alongside this research, Social Life has carried out a residents survey, using phone interviews, and is completing a survey of businesses. The final strand is in-depth research into the experience of people who are financially vulnerable, including people with no recourse to public funds, people experiencing benefit sanctions, people in precarious and poorly paid work, and people who have multiple needs and vulnerabilities.

Download the full publication