Ethics and Data Protection


Of course, we hope that you have great fun engaging with this project. However, for anyone concerned about the handling of personal information, please be assured that every precaution has been taken in the planning of this project to respect and protect the identities and sensitivities of those involved.

All personal data has been collected, stored, and managed in accordance with UK Data Protection Act (2018), and every effort has been made to protect the identities and personal sensitive information of those more directly associated in the outputs of the research.

Full ethical permission was granted by Durham University, Department of Theology and Religion ethics committee well in advance of the extensive fieldwork and interviewing which took place as part of this project. As per standard disciplinary guidelines for research of this kind (ASA Ethics Guidelines 2011), every precaution has been taken to respect and protect the identities and sensitivities of those involved, and has been continually and rigorously reviewed at every stage of the research process.

The main sites involved as part of my fieldwork – Durham Cathedral, the local Primary School, Crook Hall, North Tyneside Council’s ‘Care and Connect’ team, and VODA (the local charity closely involved with this community project) – all gave their permission to be publicly named as part of the project, and to be included in my online posts during my fieldwork. All to varying degrees had a hand in the planning of the activities I was allowed to be involved in/carry out, and took an active role in helping me to identify interviewees. All active participants were fully informed as to the nature and purpose of the project, and there was also a sense in which my highly public researcher identity acted to reiterate the nature of my role in the communities I worked with. Meanwhile, Gelf the Elf has constituted a useful tool for navigating issues of consent when working with children.

Photography and/or video/audio recording undertaken as part of this research has not taken place without the prior written consent of the photographed/recorded subject and/or parent/legal guardian, and has been utilised with the utmost discretion.

Any party commenting or contributing to the research via public online forums such as this website and/or social media remains responsible for their own outputs, as per regular use of these sites [please see / ]. Participants are asked to remain respectful of the views of others in such forums. Any data outputted by participants in these forums is of course by its nature already public information. Nevertheless, in order to respect the intellectual property of all those involved, further written consent will be obtained in cases where there is a desire to republish the public comments of others in an alternative forum.

The outputs of Lucinda’s research will be made openly available on this online forum, and her doctoral thesis published on the Durham University e-Thesis repository.

It is recognised that, for some, reflecting on the role of Christmas in their lives may bring up some sensitive topics. If you find yourself troubled by any of the themes which come up for you in engaging with this research, please do not hesitate to seek support:

Samaritans [free 24-hour helpline offering a safe place for you to talk any time about whatever’s getting to you] – 116 123

Childline [free 24-hour helpline for children and young people] – 0800-1111

The Silver Line [free 24-hour helpline for older people] – 0800 470 8090

Cruse National Helpline [free helpline offering a listening ear and emotional support to anyone who has lost someone they love, or been affected by a bereavement] – 0808 808 1677

Community Christmas [Community Christmas believes that no elderly person in the UK should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be. The charity works to support, guide, and advertise community events in the lead up to Christmas. To find out more, please see:

Crisis at Christmas [Every year Crisis at Christmas opens its doors to people who are homeless. Offering much needed warmth, healthcare, food and company. To find out more, please see:

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with Lucinda to discuss this through personally at