Bromley by Bow Community Engagement and Citizen Science


Community research for Bromley by Bow means working together with local residents, to design, explore and analyse research questions together. The team investigates questions related to health and happiness that are important for the local community often with a place-based and asset-based lens.

Our experienced social researchers recruit and train local members of the community to conduct primary qualitative research from study design through to sharing findings, with strong support and guidance. The team develops bespoke and creative methods and accessible language to amplify the local voice from multiple angles e.g. photos that represent peer support, art that illustrates important features of ideal local surroundings for children. During the pandemic the team successfully transitioned into delivering digital research methods.

We work independently and often in partnership e.g. with University College London and City, University of London. We have been funded by a range of bodies, including the Wellcome Trust and the Health Foundation.

Our work

We Support Together: Peer support for mental health, 2021-22

In this study, the research team explored understandings of mental health and the landscape of mental health support.

This pilot study draws on the stories of eight interview participants sharing their experience of peer support for mental health within the South Asian communities of East London. The study was run between the Bromley by Bow Centre and the Centre for Mental Health Research at City, University of London.


COVID-19 and Long Term Health Conditions: Interaction with Ethnicity and Migration

This research explores the impact of COVID-19 on people with long-term health conditions and how this has interacted with ethnicity and migration experiences in particular, through 34 semi-structured interviews, predominantly with participants from an Asian or Asian British background. This research was conducted with the support of UCL as part of the wider CICADA-ME study which was funded by the National Institute for Health and Social Care (project NIHR132914).


‘What makes the best start in life for Tower Hamlets’ Families?’, 2021

Bromley by Bow’s new research identifies ‘What makes the best start in life for Tower Hamlets’ Families?’ and we have set our commitment in the ‘Bromley by Bow Families Action Plan’. This new report heralds a fresh approach to commissioning, research and action. We urge anyone working in this space to read and formulate a response. We are open to doing this together.

This research, delivered in partnership with UCL, the London team of the ActEarly Prevention Research Partnership, explored what makes the best start in life for local children.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we  engaged more than 500 families by integrating online and offline methods within social distancing rules, to reach and support as many families as possible. This included sharing summer play packs, facilitating art workshops for children to build a “Best Start Village”, online support in our Family Playrooms Facebook group and website and deeper dives into themes generated through 20 in-depth interviews.

Spaces for wellbeing The intersection of the home inside and outside, 2021

The Bromley by Bow Centre’s community research with local families in Tower Hamlets shows how families’ space, inside and outside the home, is both enabling and preventing children’s wellbeing, and much needed improvements can and need to be made. Environment and space is a major theme coming out of our research ‘What makes the best start in life for children in Tower Hamlets?’. This is a major step in filling a gap in evidence to enable change.

We urge anyone working in this space to read and formulate a response. We are open to doing this together.


Unleashing Health Communities, 2016-2018

Unleashing Healthy Communities Summary Report Image Unleashing Healthy Communities cover image

In the summer of 2018, we published the results of our research project, Unleashing Healthy Communities. Two years of embedded research across the Bromley by Bow Centre and Health Partnership has:

  • Worked with staff and community members in creative and participatory ways
  • Investigated the Bromley by Bow model, through building a bank of stories and experience of living and working at Bromley by Bow
  • Explored what our community valued and ways to build health in a community
  • Provided a set of aspirational outcomes to help Bromley by Bow tell its story and measure its impact

Community in the Making, 2016-2018

Community in the making flyer image

As part of the Unleashing Healthy Communities study, members of the community were asked in “pop-up stalls” “what makes the ingredients of a good life?” Community in the Making was a six-week collective analysis study including creative workshops with residents to exploring themes arising from the main Unleashing Healthy Communities study: work, environment, home and relationships. Members of the workshops created poetry and sculpted objects whilst considering these themes in their own lives, finally designing an event to share these thoughts and reflections with others and invite the community into this conversation.