What the Co-op has funded


Over the past three years, the SWRC has received 58 applications and funded 30 student-community projects, totalling 148 days of work and over £11,000 of direct funding. Organisations that have been engaged with these projects range from homeless shelters to community fitness groups, and nature reserves to religious centres. The maximum period of funding provided is to cover five days, with the majority of applications requesting this amount.


Name University Organisation
Jess Britton Exeter Bristol Green Capital
Jennifer Harris Bristol Bristol Nightstop
Emily Hammond Exeter Exmouth Bipolar Group, c/o Rethink Mental Illness
Davide Pettinato Exeter Exeter Mosque and Cultural Centre
Melinda Szocs & Sarah Bailey Bath ESSENCE of Exeter
Rachel Wilder Bristol Room 13
Nicholas Kirsop-Taylor Exeter Northern Devon Nature Improvement
Beth Jaynes Bath AGE UK BNES
Rosie Walters Bristol ONE25
Annaleise Depper Bath South West Park Run
Caroline Hickman Bath Alzheimers Support
Gihan Ismail Bath Bath Islamic Society
Janet Keliher Exeter Peninsula Initiative Community Chaplaincy
Bethany Cuffe-Fuller Exeter Samaritans of Exeter, Mid and East Devon
William Nicholson Exeter Learn2Live Partnership
Renske Visser Bath Age UK B&NES
Georgina Tarling Exeter South West Foundation
Helen Foster-Collins Exeter SOFT UK
Warren Speed Exeter Coleridge Medical Centre Patient Participation Group
Vanessa Lloyd Bath Childspeech, Bristol
Rebecca Baines Plymouth Frontline Veteran Support
In collaboration with the Brigstow Institute:
Natalie Thurlby & Louis MacGregor Bristol PRISM, Bristol Drugs Project
Emily Moreton Bristol Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service
Alison Oldfield Bristol National Autistic Society
Kate Reynolds Bristol Wiltshire Parent Carer Council
Jill Court Bristol Beacon Centre
Nicci Shall Bristol Smash IPP
Stephanie Denning Bristol Feeding Bristol

Chris Moreno-Stokoe                              Bristol                                       Aspen Medical Practice, Gloucester


Read about some of the work that has been funded by the Research Co-op:

Jess Britton – Bristol Green Capital, University of Exeter

Jess undertook a five-day research project with Bristol Green Capital to write an accessible case study of Bristol’s work on low carbon district heating, which would then be made available to cities around the UK and internationally – via the European Green Capital award. The published case study has been adopted as part of the ‘Bristol Method’: a set of modules designed to encourage knowledge transfer as part of the legacy of Bristol’s status as European Green Capital 2015.

The research report includes details on the development of planned district heating in Bristol, including; sources of finance, barriers, stakeholder and governance issues and monitoring and measuring success. The case study draws together a number of lessons useful for city planners from other countries and regions. 

Bristol Nightstop – Jennifer Harris, University of Bristol

This project involved the development of a detailed research design for the homelessness charity, Bristol Nightstop to assist in designing a larger research project used to inform policy and practice. The project’s focus was the identification of a number of methodological options for the extended research project. The benefits from this collaboration included: i) to improve and inform working practices; ii) provide homeless young people with a platform so their voices can be heard; iii) advise policy and sector-wide debates regarding effective methods of youth homelessness prevention and alleviation; iv) demonstrate the uniqueness and value of the Nightstop approach; and v) provide evidence of their work for funding purposes.

As a result of this partnership, Jenny has since been employed in a part-time research capacity at Bristol Nightstop.

 Exmouth Bipolar Group – Emily Hammond, University of Exeter

The aim of this project was to support a community-based initiative to provide psycho-education and initiate a peer support network for individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The project ran a service evaluation of a pilot programme and support group to identify how it could be improved. It also served as part of a funding application for the organisation.

Emily wanted to establish whether providing access to the Beating Bipolar course material within the context of a group could provide the additional benefits of peer support, discussion, and sharing of experiences of bipolar disorder, and the possibility of forming supportive relationships that could enhance wellbeing in the longer term. The Exmouth Bipolar UK Group had previously identified that people living with bipolar disorder are at risk of becoming socially isolated due to the behavioural and emotional features of this condition.

Emily’s research established that participants’ number of healthcare appointments appears to have increased at the one-month follow up time point. This was corroborated by the qualitative interviews which suggested that this may be due to the course increasing awareness of symptoms and willingness to seek additional mental health support to manage these. Participant feedback strongly emphasised the value of the course material and group format.

 Exeter Mosque and Cultural Centre – Davide Pettinato, University of Exeter

This project focussed on facilitating best practice in the governance of the mosque in order that it could best meet the needs of the local community. It identified challenges that hindered wider participation in the community in order to advise how the mosque could improve its engagement and communication with various sectors of the local community it serves.

 ESSENCE of Exeter – Melinda Szocs & Sarah Bailey, University of Bath

This project mapped the social enterprise sector around the Exeter area. This provided information to help the sector develop and grow and formed a core part of the strategic plan to gain national recognition and future investment.

 Room 13 – Rachel Wilder, University of Bristol

This project conducted a literature review in order to document the value and impact that arts engagement has in children’s lives, as well as the value of child-led and –managed arts provision. It explored how creativity – beyond standard school arts provision – and child leadership and decision making contributes to child agency and citizenship. The research supported the organisation to better articulate the impact and utility of their processes in order to secure more funding and enable greater sustainability of the provision for children yet to engage with the studio.

Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area (NDNIA) – Nicholas Kirsop-Taylor, University of Exeter

This project looked at engaging rural stakeholders and the latest research on rural policy. It identified current best practice in agri-conservation and also suggested how researchers may better engage with rural and farming stakeholders.

 ONE25 – Rosie Walters, University of Bristol

This project conducted a consultation with the organisation’s service users about a peer mentoring programme as part of the general services offered. It used a variety of best-practice review, writing, interview and visual activities to gather input from women who used the service to help inform the design and implementation of the peer mentoring service to best meet the needs of those users.

 South West Park Run – Annaliese Depper, University of Bath

This project aimed to explore families’ perceptions of the motivations and barriers to children taking part in Swindon junior parkrun, whilst also exploring how parkrun can create more active and inclusive physical cultures. It used a mixed methods approach combining surveys and focus groups with parents and children. The project identified a number of different ways and strategies through which parkrun can expand and improve its reach and services and therefore benefit the running and growth of this branch of the organisation.

 Mendip District Council – Rebecca Yeo, University of Bath

This project aimed to help with preparations and reception of Syrian migrants, particularly looking at helping ensure the needs of disabled migrants are met. It looked through the council preparations and check if the potential needs of disabled Syrians are being systematically considered. After the arrival of the first Syrian refugees, they were consulted regarding any disability access issues.

 Bath Islamic Society – Gihan Ismail, University of Bath

This project aimed to survey users of the premises of the Bath Islamic Society and the venues of its different activities and generate data to identify the significance of their activities and events to their target population. It provided insights into the response of the target population; i.e. the local Muslim community in Bath, to the efforts taken by the Society Board to gauge its effectiveness and value.

 Samaritans of Exeter, Mid and East Devon – Bethany Cuffe-Fuller, University of Exeter

This research project examined whether the Exeter community know where the centre is and what services can be accessed there. This information contributed to its marketing strategy, and thus allowed Samaritans to reach more people in the local community seeking to access face-to-face emotional support.

 PRISM, Bristol Drugs Project – Natalie Thurlby & Louis MacGregor, University of Bristol

This project involved designing, distributing and analysing a survey for PRISM that would meet their needs on providing drugs and alcohol support services to the LGBT population, who are disproportionately at risk for substance abuse, alcoholism and mental health issues. As part of it a website was built for the organisation to allow as many people as possible to complete the survey. A report of the findings aimed to help PRISM to target their services more efficiently and to aid them in writing grants and securing donations.

 Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service – Emily Moreton, University of Bristol

This project aimed to develop and trial a groupwork programme for young LGB&T people who experience domestic violence and abuse. It developed a single session and piloted this with groups of LGB&T young people to get their feedback on what worked or did not work, what they want the programme to cover, and their ideas for how this could be done. This would then inform the design and implementation of an entire groupwork programme of around 10 weeks.

 Wiltshire Parent Carer Council – Kate Reynolds, University of Bristol

The project involved a series of five full day workshops about relationships and sex education with parents and carers of children and young people with intellectual and developmental (learning) disabilities. These workshops were designed to address attitudes, develop skills to communicate and teach about relationships and sex education and support social/sexual skills in young people.

  Age UK Bath & North-East Somerset – Beth Jaynes, University of Bath

This project conducted a Community Needs Assessment with some of the service users in order to gain a fuller understanding of the needs of the elderly and gauge their thoughts regarding the types of services that might benefit them and if the types of services currently offered were meeting the needs of the local community. It used focus group interviews to generate discussion about the services among some of their regular users and allow them to express both why the used the services and what their concerns were. The research was able to identify how certain current services could be improved and has informed Age UK BaNES’ strategy to  enable them to develop the services they currently provide how they might be improved to continually meet changing needs.

Following this collaboration the CEO expressed interest in Beth conducting follow up work to build on this initial project.

 National Autistic Society – Alison Oldfield, University of Bristol

The aim of the project was to support the review and development of the NAS’s forest school programme in Southwest England in order to evaluate and reflectively improve its practice and provision. It offered an external perspective on how the service is meeting its objectives and how it could further develop in line with its values and aims. It also provided the creation of an evidence base of good practice from which the NAS can draw to expand the use of forest schools across the organisation or to seek external funding.