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Exploring living conditions among minority older Bangladeshi communities in East London

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An OU academic is leading a project titled ‘Amar Bari Amar Jibon’ [my home my life], which explores living conditions among older Bangladeshi communities in East London.

Dr Manik Gopinath, a lecturer in Ageing in the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, has received just under £280,000 from Dunhill Medical Trust to collate evidence with older adults and their families in Bangladeshi communities in East London about their current living conditions the effect they have on their wellbeing including their aspirations and expectations regarding suitable living environments.

Working in partnership with Bangla Housing Association (BHA) and Housing LIN (Learning and Improvement Network) on a three-year project, the team will research diversity and inclusion in later life living environments and communities focusing on Bangladeshi elders (‘probin’ in Bangla) in East London.  It will develop a co-produced knowledge base of their experiences and aspirations regarding meaning of place - home, housing, and neighbourhood environments, and implications for wellbeing.

Dr Gopinath said:

We are delighted to partner with Bangla Housing Association and Housing LIN on this timely piece of work that will foreground the ‘missing’ voices and perspectives of minority Bangladeshi older communities in East London – a group with entrenched housing and health inequalities This study will contribute to a better understanding of the lived experiences and housing/living environments of Bangladeshi ‘probin’ and their families in a UK/London context and of minority group preferences and aspirations about living arrangements for later life. More broadly findings will add to an emerging discussion about inter and multigenerational living arrangements and preferences and related housing choices and constraints.”

Informing a more nuanced approach to cultural housing preferences

The project team aims for the outcomes of this research to feed into national policy and local policy, informing local and metropolitan practitioner networks and decision-makers, local authorities and mainstream and specialist housing associations about taking a more nuanced approach to cultural housing preferences and multigenerational family living.

The project research team added:

“Our unique Community-University partnership and co-produced approach to research aims to create an environment for meaningful sustained dialogue and relationships between residents in these Bangladeshi communities and local policy makers, planners, and practitioners, as a catalyst for change.”

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