Community Participatory Action Research: Findings

Find out about Independent Lives' research into the effects of the cost-of-living on disabled people and carers.

During 2023/24, Independent Lives surveyed and interviewed disabled people and carers to understand how the cost-of-living crisis has affected them. What we discovered was a community struggling to manage their most basic needs. 

As a result of our research, we have found that disabled people and carers have been forced into making dire choices between heating, eating and care. We also found how few options there were for people, often contributing to them feeling trapped. People also told us how they were surviving but not thriving and how they were suffering from the consequences of the cost-of-living crisis, often with devastating impact on their mental health.   

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Pressure points:

Experiences of the cost-of-living on disabled people and carers in Sussex.

The report into the effect of the cost-of-living crisis paints a stark picture for disabled people and carers. You can download the full report below which includes direct quotes from those hardest hit by the crisis alongside suggestions for improvements.

If you would like to be sent a printed copy of our report then please send an email to  

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As part of our research process, we conducted eight face-to-face interviews with disabled people and carers across Sussex. From these interviews, we have created several short videos.

The first video examines the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their lives more broadly, while the second video looks at its effect on the quality and care they receive from the NHS and how this has affected them.



What is an audioscape?

An audioscape is an immersive audio experience that uses a combination of voices and music to create a vivid auditory landscape. It is designed to convey emotions, tell stories, and provide listeners with a deep and engaging sensory experience. Unlike traditional audio recordings, an audioscape layers various audio elements to paint a picture in the listener's mind, making them feel as though they are part of the scene.

Purpose of the audioscape

This audioscape was created to capture and share the real-life experiences of disabled individuals and carers in Sussex who are struggling with the rising cost-of-living. By compiling their comments, we aim to bring their stories to life in a powerful and relatable way.

Impact and message

The primary goal of this audioscape is to highlight the significant and often overlooked impact that the cost-of-living crisis has on disabled people and carers in Sussex. Through their own words, the audioscape conveys the daily challenges, frustrations, and emotional toll that the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis impose on their lives.

By listening to this audioscape, we hope to foster empathy, raise awareness, and prompt meaningful discussions about the need for better support and solutions. We hope that this is a powerful reminder that behind every comment, there is a human story deserving of
attention and compassion.

Survey comments

As part of our research we carried out a survey of disabled people and carers. Many of the comments made in the survey can be found in the above research report. if you would like to view a full copy of all the comments made then you can download them below.

This work has been funded by the Workforce Training & Education Directorate, NHS England South East.

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