The impact of donations to the UWE Bristol Fund

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What is the UWE Bristol Fund?

The UWE Bristol Fund provides hardship grants for students facing severe financial difficulty, and funding for extra-curricular activities through student experience grants. The fund also provides seed funding for community projects involving UWE Bristol staff and students.

Generous donations from alumni and staff make up the fund. The resulting grants make that vital extra bit of difference, and have a lasting positive impact on the wellbeing of recipients. The fund enables experiences that not only transform the quality of the lives of students, but also those in our partner communities.

So, exactly what impact does the fund have?

In the academic year 2021/22…

  • 46 students in financial difficulty were supported with Hardship Grants
  • 10 Student Experience Grants were awarded benefitting 650+ students
  • 9 Community Fund projects were supported with a total of £24,000

In the last year 5 years…

  • 6,000 students in total benefitted from the Fund’s support
  • 295 students have been given in excess of £121,000 through Hardship Grants
  • 49 local community organisations partnered with students and staff
  • 16 community projects focussed on environmental issues
  • An estimated 5,800 students have benefited from Student Experience Grants activities

Seven fund highlights from 2022

All made possible by donations from alumni and supporters.

1. Recipes of St Paul’s

This community art project used art and food to discuss family, culture and community. Students designed and ran creative workshops, a communal meal, mural and book trolley for the children and families that access St Paul’s Adventure Playground.

Artwork produced in workshop and completed mural

“The project showed me how a community can come together to create something and the lasting positive impact that can have. I since secured a paid position at the playground, so I can continue to build relationships and make art with the St Paul’s community.”

Mattie Goddard, BA(Hons) Drama with Theatre Directing student, volunteer spoken word workshop leader at St Paul’s Adventure Playground

2. New kit for UWE Women’s Rugby Union

“The grant that we received to pay for new kit, helped with the next steps into fielding two fully competitive teams, and in creating a long-lasting structure for development within UWE Women’s Rugby Union.”

UWE Women’s Rugby Union, Student Experience fund recipients
UWE Women’s Rugby Team

3. Creating Culture Programme

With the help of a Student Experience Grant, the Students’ Union supported a range of projects aiming to empower UWE Bristol students of colour, explore the rich history of multi-cultural Britain, and celebrate our fantastic diversity of cultures.

World Fiesta Day events formed part of the project, giving an authentic flavour of the cultures we have at UWE Bristol.  Over 200 students attended Asia Day.

Asia Day celebrations on Frenchay Campus

4. Project ReGeneration

A multi-use green area at Barley Close Primary School in Mangotsfield was created through workshops led by UWE students and environmental education specialists WellGood Projects (a venture set up by UWE student Tawny Buck).

The school’s new outdoor resource has been enthusiastically welcomed by staff, students, parents and pupils and consists of an organic food growing area and a nature friendly zone.

The ‘green zone’, it’s growers and produce

5. Bristol Palestine Film Festival Mural

A mural was painted in Stokes Croft in February 2022 by UWE Bristol Fine Art students as part of the Bristol Palestine Film Festival’s (BPFF) Artist in Absence series. The mural marked 11 years of the Bristol Palestine Film Festival, a celebration of Palestinian culture and the power of international solidarity.

Created with the Bristol Mural Collective over a two-day period, the mural was based on an original artwork by the Palestinian artist Malak Mattar from Gaza.

Mural painting on Stokes Croft

“We’re really grateful to receive the funding for the mural project, without which it would not have been able to happen. The students were fantastic and really embraced the experience with enthusiasm.”

Cielle Bragg, BPFF

6. The story of Fem FM

History and Media students joined forces with Sound Women South West to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fem FM, the UK’s first women’s radio station.

The project included the creation of a three-part radio documentary series sharing the story of Fem FM and running two community training workshops. The sessions provided women from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills and support needed to pursue careers in the radio and broadcasting industries.

UWE students in the recording studio

“We loved every second of it and have learnt many new skills and made connections with people in our relevant career industries which we feel will be invaluable later along the line.”

Libby Sharp, BA(Hons) History student

7. Anniversary draw raises funds for Student Hardship Grants

This year UWE Bristol celebrated 30 years of being a university. We organised a prize draw and 30 fantastic prizes were kindly donated from alumni and the UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales (more than £3,500) was donated to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship.

How to support

Your donations are crucial if we are to continue to support our students; the next generation of leaders, thinkers and pioneers. Whatever the size, your gift is extremely valuable to us. Find out more about how to support the UWE Bristol Fund.

How to apply

Want to find out more about the UWE Bristol Fund and the funding options available? Visit our UWE Bristol Fund webpage for more details.

A safe space in a neurotypical world

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It is estimated that 1 out of 7 of the UK population are neurodivergent – that’s almost 15%*. A high percentage of people with neurodivergence are unemployed**. We need more solutions to make learning and workplaces more inclusive.

Angharad Davies’ designs are just that. Her MSc Computational Architecture final year project is a desk-based modular screen, designed to address neurodiversity in the workplace.

She’s also designed the Joey Pod. The calming pod is a solution for schools, hospitals, and public spaces. It’s a safe space for someone to retreat to, before experiencing sensory overloading.   

Digital drawing - design for sensory pod
Digital design drawing for Joey Pod

Designing for neurodiversity

Named after Angharad’s son Joey, the idea for the pod was born during the second year of her BSc(Hons) Architecture course, when Joey received an autism diagnosis. That diagnosis changed Angharad’s whole perception of architecture.

“I realised his outbursts were due to his surroundings. In my final project, I reached out to the autism community and realised I wasn’t the only person who felt isolated due to poor building design and a lack of understanding of autism.”

Angharad said.

There has been a lot of research about separate Special Educational Needs (SEN) rooms at schools, but Angharad’s concept offers the child a pod in the corner of a room – like a den.  The pod uses audio-visual effects and provides a ‘safe zone’ for people with sensory processing problems.

It’s a place to rest and reset, something which is often necessary when interacting with the neuro-typical world. Crucially, this safe space can help avoid an oncoming anxiety attack or an exhausting and alienating meltdown.

“I want to see these solutions everywhere: workplaces, schools, hospitals, airports, festivals, concerts, commercial and sporting events – any busy or public spaces”

she explains.
Joey Pod


Angharad’s story is one of firsts. An entrepreneur at heart, Angharad has grabbed every opportunity available to her at UWE Bristol.

She founded the Inclusive Design Network (IDN) whilst studying for her undergraduate architecture degree. Thanks to donations from alumni, the UWE Bristol Fund supported IDN to host a series of talks on equality, diversity and inclusion within the built environment. The network has also been supported by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bristol and Bath.

As one of the first students on the new MSc Computational Architecture course at UWE Bristol, Angharad hopes to go on to complete a PhD in designing for neurodiversity, to enable her to become a Sensory Design Consultant.

Angharad’s modular screen will be on display at the Faculty of Environment and Technology’s degree show in 2022 (our first physical degree show since the coivd-19 Pandemic), alongside many more innovative ideas for products and services which aim to fill gaps in the market.

Degree Shows

Emerging talent at UWE Bristol will exhibit work at the annual graduate degree shows for the Creative Industries and Faculty of Environment and Technology. The events will celebrate the University’s ambitious and creative graduating students, through a mix of physical exhibitions and a digital showcase.

The degree shows kick off on Thursday 9 June with The Faculty of Environment and Technology (FET) Degree Show – covering architecture, creative technologies, computing, engineering, geography and the environment, and product design. The free event takes place between 17:00 and 21:00 at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus.

The Creative Industries Degree Show, covering art, design, animation, drawing and print, fashion, media, performance, photography and filmmaking, opens to the public at the University’s vibrant City Campus – Bower Ashton, Arnolfini and Spike Island – on Saturday 11 June. The week-long showcase features a series of events including live music, drama performances, a festival stage and outdoor art gallery.

*reference from Local Government Association presentation.

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

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“We’re going to make a little house for the bugs around here…”

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“… so they can have a better home than before” explains a pupil taking part in a local environmental project funded by the UWE Bristol Community Fund.

Bug hotels, bird boxes, bogs, stone mounds and log piles are just some of the new homes for wildlife being created by children from Park Primary school.

Students from UWE Bristol and pupils from the school are renovating a neglected area of Kingswood Park in East Bristol. Together they’re creating a nature area to support local biodiversity.

After an initial audit of existing nature in the area, design work began to plan new homes for wildlife. Over the summer work parties have been busy clearing pathways, removing brambles, digging out a bog and planting hedgerows and wildflowers. There are also plans for a tree trail from school to the park.

Children completing nature audit

Encouraging children to value nature

Hayley, who’s studying BSc Hons Environmental Science at UWE Bristol, is one of the students who volunteered their time to get stuck in creating and improving habitats with the children. She lives locally and was keen to get involved in a project which engages the community in looking after the nature around them.

“If you want people to care about nature, you have to first make them aware of it.”

says Hayley.
Work party from Park Primary school, Kingswood

The project has involved the entire school of 530 children, from wheelbarrow pushing 5-year olds to skilled secateurs users from year 6. They’re proud of their transformation of this part of the local park.

“Before children didn’t want to come here, but now they are asking their parents to come here all the time.”

Addison, Park Primary School Year 6 pupil

Building confidence through outdoor learning

Kelly Goodfellow, Senior Neurodiversity Practitioner at UWE Bristol saw an opportunity to help build children’s confidence through outdoor learning. Working with Kirstin Whitney, outdoor learning expert and teacher at Kingswood Park School, Kelly devised the project specifically to support children with a neurodiverse profile, who do not necessarily ‘shine’ in the classroom-based learning environment. 

Outdoor learning is proven to develop children’s self-esteem, cooperation and creativity. Children are given the freedom which empowers them to be forward thinking, problem solving, independent decision makers.

Bog digging

Making university an achievable goal

Kingswood Primary is in an urban area of South Gloucestershire bordering Bristol, identified as a disadvantaged community. The UWE Bristol Community Fund prioritises projects where students will work with young people in areas with low progression into higher education.

The project has brought positive role models from UWE Bristol into contact with the pupils and the community of Kingswood.

“The experiences and relationships it has created are an important step towards making university education an achievable future goal for pupils,”

Kelly says.

The future of the project

A year 6 pupil reflects on how the project will continue to evolve –

“We’re looking forward to carrying on the work over the coming years and keeping a record of the insects, amphibians, spiders and mammals that we find. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do”.

Pupil using magnifying glass to observe bugs


Find out more about the project by watching this film made by the school.

The Community Fund is part of the UWE Bristol Fund.

To find out more and to donate, visit our UWE Bristol Fund webpages.

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

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