Community spirit fired up during heatwave – report shows impact of 2022 heatwave on Nottingham residents

Monday, 15 January 2024

A new study has revealed how residents in Nottingham were negatively impacted by the heatwave in July 2022 and that those from socially and economically vulnerable groups were more affected, but also that community spirit and caring for each other helped people to cope.

The research study conducted by the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham, in partnership with Nottingham City Council, provides insight into Nottingham residents’ experiences of living through an unprecedented heatwave. The results have been formulated into a report that will inform messaging for future heatwaves to provide the public with targeted information and support.

This research project involved a survey of 500 people and detailed interviews with 45 people from across Nottingham. Participants included residents in more socially deprived areas in the city including parts of Bestwood, Aspley, the Meadows and St Anns. They were asked a series of questions exploring how the heatwave had affected them and also whether they thought their experiences of the heatwave was connected to climate change.

The findings show that while the health and wellbeing of people were negatively affected, with 71% of people reporting one or more physical health impacts, 55% reporting impacts on their mental health, and 31% reporting that the heatwave affected their ability to work or earn money; people also showed remarkable levels of caring, responsibility and initiative in looking after themselves and people around them.

Two thirds of people agreed that the heatwave was linked to climate change, with 73% agreeing that climate change played a part in causing the extreme heat.

Headshot of a black man in a coat smiling in a field
How people experience extreme heat very much depends on their circumstances, whether that be the type of work they do, having long-term health problems, having children or being elderly. What was interesting about this study was that even though people felt the heatwave had affected them negatively, there was a sense of community and ingenuity reflected in the ways people coped and supported each other - a resilience that shone through despite the difficulties the heatwave created in everyday life. It was also good to see that people clearly recognise that the heatwave was a result of climate change and not just a freak weather event.
Charles Ogunbode, Assistant Professor in Applied Psychology at the University of Nottingham

One example from the research of people helping others is a lady in Bestwood who was worried about the children in her local school, when she found out they didn’t have the facilities to freeze ice lollies she froze just over a thousand at home and delivered them to the children.

The UK witnessed an unprecedented heatwave in summer 2022 during which temperatures exceeded 40°C. Such events are predicted to become more likely in future with a higher chance of temperatures reaching thresholds that pose a danger to human health.

Nottingham is especially vulnerable to negative impacts from extreme heat. The city ranked fifth, among 156 local authorities in England, on a list of those with the highest number of neighbourhoods needing to be prioritised for adaption to hot weather.

We welcome this report and its findings and will consider them in our work towards making Nottingham a carbon neutral city by 2028 (CN28). We're working with our partners in the city to increase our resilience to a changing climate, which is particularly important as extreme weather events such as flooding, and heatwaves are becoming more common. Ensuring Nottingham is prepared and able to adapt to such events is crucial on our journey to CN28, which will not only reduce carbon emissions but also make the city a better place to live for our residents.
Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council

Charles continues: “Extreme heat is likely to be something we experience more regularly in the UK so understanding how to cope with this and support the most vulnerable people in society is vital. We found that people seemed to rely heavily on their friends or colleagues for advice during the heatwave followed by the TV and social media. We hope that future campaigns around heatwaves can leverage the community spirit we observed to encourage people to help others. It is also important to offer centralised advice and support to people in Nottingham regarding what to do to help people who are unwell or badly affected by heat.”

The report also outlines other recommendations for improving preparedness around heatwaves including; protecting disadvantaged workers from being forced to take unpaid time off during hot periods, adopting monitoring systems for heatwave impacts that encompass mental, social and economic well-being; and working with trusted community members and harnessing social media to ensure that official health advice reaches the most vulnerable groups.

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More information or to request the full report contact Dr Charles Ogunbode on

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

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