UWE Bristol students receive Chamber award for work with HIV charity

Amie Vaughan
Initiative Manager - West of England Initiative
21st August 2018

Every year, the Bristol Chamber of Commerce awards a prize to a group of UWE Bristol undergraduate students from the Faculty of Environment and Technology whose final year project has made the greatest contribution to the local community.  

This year, our Chamber President, Richard Bonner, attended the award ceremony to present a Chamber certificate and Amazon gift vouchers to students Benjamin Aneurin Jones, Declan Burton, James Comer and Stephen Cox in recognition of their work with the Brigstowe Project.

The Brigstowe Project is a non-profit organisation based in Bristol, which provides support to those living with and affected by HIV. Registered as a charitable company in 1995, they have since built a significant presence in the Bristol City region, offering a number of advice and support services from their base in the Easton Community Centre.

Brigstowe Project is funded through charitable donations and grants provided by local authorities and charitable trusts. Up until recently Bristol City Council were one of the Brigstowe Project’s main benefactors, but in light of funding cuts from central government this money is no longer available. As a result, the charity were forced to explore other avenues to plug the funding gap before the UWE Bristol team, supervised by Dr Kamran Munir, stepped in.

Through an extensive evaluation of the ongoing fundraising activities at the Brigstowe Project, the UWE Bristol team noted a significant opportunity to upscale some of their existing efforts, while also introducing new and innovative technologies to maximise their operational effectiveness; allowing them to branch out into new areas. The students identified three main objectives for the delivery of a successful business improvement project:

  • Enhance Brigstowe’s existing fundraising activities by examining their current processes and identifying areas for improvement in the long-term.
  • Identify and implement additional avenues for fundraising in the short-term, through the use of information systems-oriented solutions.
  • Aid the fundraising team at Brigstowe in generating a strategic vision for the organisation going forward to restore confidence in the team in the eyes of the board of trustees.

Following an extensive fact finding mission to evaluate Bristowe Project’s business operations, it became obvious that the ‘CharityLog’ database Brigstowe currently had in place would not be able to support the fundraising reporting capabilities they required. As such, the team set about the delivery of:

  • Online improvements made to Brigstowe’s online capabilities, including an SMS donations service, and a report on privacy and data protection for donations made through their various digital channels and services.
  • ePOS System report detailing the selection and recommendation of an electronic point of sale system for contactless and in-person community donations.
  • Fundraising Management Database report detailing the selection and recommendation of a fundraising management database vendor to allow Brigstowe to conduct reporting on their copious amounts of donator data; allowing them to focus their efforts. 

The UWE Bristol team’s efforts have helped to restore confidence among the board of trustees confidence that the cash position of Brigstowe is improving.

Commenting on the contribution of the project Richard Bonner, President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, Business West said:

“After some tough deliberations it was decided that the team supervised by Dr Kamran Munir should be awarded the Chamber prize for their outstanding contribution to the community.

“Brigstowe provides a vital service in the community and it is clear that the advice and guidance provided by this bright young group of UWE Bristol students has put them on the road to long-term financial sustainability.

“Many thanks to students Benjamin Aneurin Jones, Declan Burton, James Comer and Stephen Cox from UWE Bristol and Noami Carter and Polly Theedom at Brigstowe for all their hard work.”

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