Research and Policy

Research and policy has been a core part of Toynbee Hall’s work since the organisation was founded as a University Settlement in 1884. Today we co-produce research alongside local people on a range of issues affecting the community. Our research and policy work provides a platform for local voices to influence thinking and policy-making both locally and nationally based on lived experiences, to create long-term solutions to the systemic challenges people face. 


Making Tower Hamlets Safer

Since March 2019, Toynbee Hall’s peer researchers have been exploring residents’ concerns about community safety and connection in Tower Hamlets. This project was inspired by our previous peer research which revealed that 1 out of every 3 residents over the age of 50 highlighted the need to increase community safety and connection.

January 2023

Find out more
Residents Manifesto Drone image for Tower Hamlets

Our research projects

Here are some of our current and recent Participatory Action Research projects.

Community safety

Making Tower Hamlets Safer

A diverse group of local people from Tower Hamlets conducted research on people’s concerns around their safety and how Tower Hamlets can become a safer, more welcoming community.

January 2023

A block of flats

Net Zero

Net Zero Transition for Low-Income Consumers 

A Participatory Action Research project exploring what a fair transition to net zero should look like for low-income consumers, and how to get there.

September 2022

Residents Manifesto Drone image for Tower Hamlets

A manifesto for Tower Hamlets

A Residents’ Manifesto

10 ideas for the next Mayor of Tower Hamlets, to create a brighter, poverty-free future that we shape together.

April 2022

More than just education

Adult education

More than just education

Toynbee Hall has been working with a group of peer researchers from marginalised of backgrounds to explore how adult education in London can be made more accessible and empowering.

February 2022

Rent-Move-Repeat young renters report

Private renting


A Participatory Action Research project on the challenges and risks of being a young private renter in East London. 

November 2021

Pandemic Stories Full Findings

Impact of Covid-19

Pandemic Stories

A Participatory Action Research project exploring the experiences of Londoners disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis and their policy recommendations for a fairer future for all

August 2021

Interesting in participatory action research and partnering with us?

Get in touch and find out more.

    Take a look through our library to browse our research archive

    5 years of Participatory Action Research

    Watch the video to find out more about our participatory action research approach

    We partner with universities and other organisations on various research and evaluation projects.

    Toynbee Hall also conducts internal service evaluation to improve the user journey, improve outcomes and fully understand the issues around poverty, inquality and exclusion to create new services and influence policy.

    Here is an example of a recent Peer Research Project where we trained 20 people aged 50 and over to become social researchers in their own communities to find out what the main needs of local older people.

    If you would like to find out more or discuss our research and evaluation, please email

    Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter and keep up to date with our latest research