Cost of living crisis

About the Project

The project

This project is looking at rural hidden hardship - it aims to understand the experiences of people in hardship in the rural North Cotswolds

Why? Research into poverty has focussed on urban areas more than rural areas. However, we can’t assume that what happens in urban areas also happens in rural areas.

How? Using participatory research with local people in the North Cotswolds. In Spring and Summer 2023, Stephanie spent time at community groups and projects in a rural town and village in the North Cotswolds to gain understanding of the experience of people living in rural hardship. She interviewed staff, volunteers, and local people at the projects. She then worked with three households experiencing rural hardship – they kept diaries of their experiences, and undertook three go-along interviews with Stephanie as they went about their daily life.

So what? The research will inform individual, voluntary sector and government responses to hardship with resources including a travelling public exhibition, a report for policymakers, and academic research papers. Find out more at next steps and subscribe to the project blog.

The researcher - Dr Stephanie Denning

Stephanie is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. She is a social and cultural geographer whose research focusses on poverty, hardship, and faith-based responses to these.

Stephanie’s previous work includes the Life on the Breadline project (2018-2021) on the role of churches in responses to poverty in the UK in the context of austerity, and participatory research with the charity MakeLunch (2014-2018) on the role of Christian faith in motivating people to volunteer in response to holiday hunger, and how volunteers persist in volunteering.

To get in touch with Stephanie, email her at or follow her on Twitter at @SJ_Denning

Stephanie Denning