The SWDTP is pleased to offer a three-month placement – starting as soon as possible with a view to completing in January 2019 – with the No Child Goes Hungry strand of the Bristol City Funds. The project is mainly focused on researching system change in order to reduce levels of child hunger and child poverty in Bristol. Full details can be found below. If you would like to discuss the opportunity further, contact Sue Turner.
Outline of the project
We are looking for a researcher to assist the “No Child Goes Hungry” (NCGH) strand of the Bristol City Funds to develop an understanding of theories and/or interventions that have had some measure of success in reducing child poverty. These may come from local, national or international activities or research. The output will be a report summarising how systems change applies to NCGH and may include a theory of change.
Further information and background
In 2018 Bristol City Council, Quartet Community Foundation (Quartet) and Bristol & Bath Regional Capital signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate to form “Bristol City Funds” in order to bring new funding into the city to help solve some of the area’s most pressing issues. These three parties, together with six people from diverse backgrounds, formed the City Funds Governing Board which selected its initial themes to pursue.
One of the City Funds themes is “No Child Goes Hungry”, designed to be a theme which will appeal to the public, particularly business, and inspire donations of money which can then be distributed as grants. The NCGH Scoping Group is a group of expert practitioners who are guiding the development of this work. It is envisaged by the City Funds MoU that a formal NCGH Funding Priority Group will be formed in due course.
As with all City Funds themes additionality and systems change are vital. NCGH must raise additional funding which must be used to support projects/activities that are not currently funded in the City and NCGH must aim to deal with the causes of social problems not their symptoms.
An estimated 26,000 children in Bristol live in poverty. In nearly a quarter of our wards, every third child, at least, lives in poverty. In the most deprived ward, Lawrence Hill, more than half the children live in poverty.
Across England 73% of parents on low incomes say they can’t always afford to feed their children during school holidays. In Bristol nearly 20% of our school children are eligible for free school meals, the highest rate in the South West, which means that many children go hungry when the school gates close during holiday periods.
There are many initiatives in the City actively seeking to alleviate immediate need, notably Feeding Bristol. NCGH is not a charitable cause in itself and will not duplicate the work of existing initiatives. Rather it aims to raise funds to support projects that bring about systems change to bring us closer to ending child hunger in Bristol, i.e. addressing the causes of poverty and hunger, not just the symptoms.
This project is primarily concerned with researching and evaluating systems change that can successfully reduce child poverty and child hunger.
Good fundraising must be transparent about what donated money will be used for so the NCGH campaign needs to have clarity about what funds will be spent on. To fulfil the objectives of the City Funds this mean there needs to be a clear theory about what causes children to be hungry/poorly nourished and what needs to change in order to prevent the problem affecting so many Bristol children in the future.
This might include interventions such as:
- Supporting parents/carers to deal with issues that prevent them giving children healthy meals on a regular basis such as having a low income/being on benefits, lack of financial literacy, problem debt, mental health issues or dependency issues;
- Providing support for local groups in order to reach children who are not going to school – perhaps because they are too young, excluded, poor attenders, through cultural barriers, or as a result of mental or physical health issues; and
- Ensuring communities are resilient and have the people and community based infrastructure in place that can support families to access the services they need, for example to improve nutrition, avoid obesity and source food locally.
Key tasks to be undertaken
There is significant scope for the researcher to design the structure of this research. Key tasks are likely to include:
- Literature review of research on systems change related to poverty and child nutrition
- Interviews with expert practitioners to document past and present initiatives that have worked (and those that have failed)
- Interviews with expert practitioners to collate ideas for new initiatives that could be piloted in Bristol
- Inclusion of cultural differences that could lead to a solution in one community not being effective in or appropriate for another community or culture
- Summary of some suggested initiatives NCGH could fund that could realistically expect to achieve systems change and make a difference to child hunger/poor nutrition in Bristol
- Beginning to create a theory of change for NCGH.
Milestones and expected outputs
- Initial report to Scoping Group to outline how the research will be carried out and to engage the Scoping Group’s support with introductions to key practitioners.
- Outline how systems change could apply to the NCGH theme and any issues about its limits
- Draft theory of change
- Liaison with other City Funds Priority Groups
- Interviews with child hunger/nutrition/poverty experts in Bristol and beyond
- Submit final report to NCGH Scoping Group
- Presentation and dissemination of findings to wider audiences.
This is a three month project to begin as soon as possible with a view to completion in January.
Key skills required
- Knowledge of systems change theory and theories of change
- Appreciation of the causes of and potential solutions to poverty in the UK
- Experience of analysing and interpreting data to include in reports
- Ability to write and speak clearly and without using jargon
- Confident and proactive approach to setting up and carrying out interviews with people from a broad range of backgrounds
- Sensitivity to cultural differences.
Quartet Community Foundation (www.quartetcf.org.uk) is a charity that exists to inspire local philanthropy to help as many people as possible have a fair chance of a good life. From its office in Bristol, Quartet handles around 1300 grant applications each year from small charities, community and voluntary groups. Its busy staff team of c.15 people (half of whom work part-time) work from one open plan office in Bristol city centre (just off Queen Square). They are a friendly team who regularly benefit from being joined by volunteers, interns and, increasingly, researchers who help extend the organisation’s capabilities beyond what this small but effective charity can do by staff alone. The office can get busy and everyone “mucks in” together so the researcher needs to be comfortable working alongside other people engaged on different tasks.
Office space, computer, printer, desk and phone are available at Quartet Community Foundation’s office (Royal Oak House, Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol BS1 4GB).
Office hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday.
Some travel around the Bristol area will be required to meet interviewees and attend meetings. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.
The researcher’s line manager will be Sue Turner, CEO of Quartet Community Foundation with the NCGH Scoping Group as both sounding board and “end client”.
Opportunities for skills development
- Apply theoretical concepts of theory of change and system change to important real world problems
- Opportunity to work with the NCGH Group and contribute to the Bristol City Funds project
- Hone presentation skills in presenting complex theories in an accessible, jargon free way to non-experts in small groups (No Child Goes Hungry scoping group, Bristol City Funds Governing Board) and larger groups of business and city leaders
- See the work of Quartet and understand how a leading grant-making organisation ensures its interventions at community level are successful.
Key contacts and opportunities for networking and making new contacts
- Meet local experts in child poverty, child hunger, food & nutrition and local business, political and community leaders
- Contact national experts such as NCVO, New Philanthropy Capital, Trussell Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and LankellyChase Foundation
- Contact with international projects tackling similar issues.
To discuss this opportunity further please contact Sue Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org