Written evidence submitted by R. Clayton, C. Clayton and M. Potter,

Leeds Trinity University (CVD0001)


‘British Families in Lockdown’ is a qualitative study led by Leeds Trinity University which has investigated the day-to-day experiences of British families during the first seven weeks of lockdown. Fifty-six families from a diverse set of socio-economic backgrounds, geographies, religions and cultures participated in telephone or video calling semi-structured interviews and they shared their detailed, personal stories and experiences of employment, children’s schooling, health, well-being, family life, leisure time and technology use during the first phase of lockdown.

Outside of this study, reported Covid-19 evidence is overwhelmingly quantitative based, scientific, clinical, anecdotal or journalistic, as such, these qualitative insights will help build a more rounded picture of British family experiences. The study was quick to respond to the pandemic and is one of the few qualitative studies collecting data from the UK population during the initial stage of lockdown. Our initial findings demonstrate some of the complex ways in which Covid-19 has impacted equalities debates related to ethnicity, disabilities and gender. Our data supports quantitative reports to some extent but there is contrasting evidence and wider issues to also consider.




In our study we did not expressly ask the participants about any disabilities they may or may not have.  We did ask questions about general health and lifestyle, including questions about exercise, moving around and any difficulties experienced. We asked about changes to people’s daily routines and what aspects of life may have become more difficult or easier during lockdown. There were many opportunities for the participants to speak about any physical and mental impairments as and when they felt it was important. Some of the parents that we interviewed at times discussed their impairments, and those of their spouses/partners and their children. In our initial findings, we have identified that the significant majority of families in our study were affected by physical and mental health concerns to differing degrees.



There were clear inequalities present for parents and families who were living with physical or mental impairments within the home compared to those who were not. For these families and particularly for those who were used to significant levels of support, the lack of continued support alongside increased and compounding pressures associated with work, childcare, coronavirus threat and additional needs made home life more difficult.




June 2020