This article reports on a participatory, mixed-methods study, of the causes and lived experiences of food insecurity in the context of an unequal city in England. Among families with young children, we find that income and housing tenure are strongly associated with food insecurity and food bank use, and these impacts extend to higher socioeconomic status groups. Higher costs of food, housing and transport associated with life in an unequal context, meant that food formed part of a series of competing pressures on household budgets. We urge future food insecurity research to focus further on these broader socioeconomic drivers of poverty.
Since 2007 Born in Bradford (BiB) has been following the health and wellbeing of over 36,000 families living in Bradford, an ethnically diverse and deprived city in the North of England. It hosts three birth cohort studies, two of which have gathered recent pre-COVID-19 information on their participants. BiB have explored the short- and longer-term societal impacts of the COVID-19 response on health trajectories and inequalities in vulnerable families from minority ethnic and deprived backgrounds. This chapter describes the findings from: two time points of the longitudinal BiB COVID-19 surveys (April–June 2020 and October–December 2020) which were compared to recently collected pre-pandemic baseline information; and an in-depth qualitative study on mental health. When compared to pre-pandemic data, three overarching themes were apparent across a large number of parents and children: (i) increased financial insecurity; (ii) increased mental ill health; and (iii) reduced physical activity. These themes were evident at both survey time points, indicating long-lasting impacts of the pandemic. The Government’s response to the pandemic has had unintended negative consequences, with the greatest impact being on those families who were already vulnerable. To recover effectively from the pandemic, additional support will be needed to support the most vulnerable families.