Funded Case Studies

Here is some of the work that has been funded by the Research Co-op

Jess Britton – Bristol Green Capital

Jess Britton 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.

In her debriefing document, Jess commented that “writing the case study enabled me to get a more in-depth understanding of district heating in Bristol, which will contribute to my ongoing PhD research, and writing in an accessible style was a welcome change from my academic writing!” She added: “The project contributed to my ability to translate complex, technical information into easily digestible text and provided me with additional relevant contacts in Bristol.”

Emily Hammond – Beating Bipolar 

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.

Emily has already presented the findings of the project at the ‘Inspiring Research’ conference, held at the University of Bristol, 3rd November 2015. In her debriefing document, Emily stated that: “We are actively seeking opportunities to develop the project further, particularly through applying to make the course available to people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder across Devon.”

Jenny Harris – Bristol Nightstop

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 majority of the project was a literature review of effective interventions for homeless youth, including 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.

Beth Jaynes – Age UK

Beth worked with Age UK Bath & North East Somerset to conduct a community needs assessment with a number of their service users. Its purpose was to gain a fuller understanding of the needs of the elderly and gauge their thoughts regarding the types of services that might benefit them.

The assessment established that most of the participants used a wide variety of services. Amongst several key findings, the most important aspect of these groups for participants was the social contact with other older people. Most reported that this decreased their social exclusion significantly, and all of the participants reported that there were health benefits from attending the groups and activities.

The research has informed Age UK B&NES’ strategy and will enable them to develop the services they currently provide. In her debriefing document, Beth has added that she was already discussing doing some follow up work with the Chief Executive Officer, who was keen to build on this initial assessment.