Building Bristol Back Better - The Power of Community

As a leading voice in the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Bristol, Voscur is working with the Inclusive Economy Initiative to research the impact of COVID-19 across the sector.

The project initially had a ‘work-in-progress’ title of ‘Building Bristol Back Better’.  From this work has emerged the report we are about to launch; ‘The Power of Community’, which, if used to its potential, could in fact become the shared platform of how we might achieve our goal to build back better.

The project set out to investigate the impact of the pandemic on; homelessness, food insecurity, digital insecurity, volunteering and the shared use of green space across the city. Each strand was managed by an undergraduate from the Faculty of Social Science and Law.

This is the link to our report.  It is a powerful read and the findings of our researchers, create a multi-layered narrative of:

Communities coming together to fulfil the needs of those suddenly cut off from ‘normal’ life; people donating what they didn’t need (or even what they did need) so that others could eat, learn and work; innovation that ensured that people were able to use their skills and experiences for the good of others; and a newfound desire to spend as much time as possible enjoying the benefits of our green and open spaces.

Sandra Meadow MBE, CEO of Voscur

Findings from this research project will help inform policymakers and educationalists alike and could become a key part of how the city recovers and learns from the pandemic. The launch and dissemination of the report is an opportunity for leaders within the VCSE sector and their funding stakeholders to share reflections on how to sustain the deep collaboration and innovation that was experienced across the pandemic in 2020-2021. 

The launch will also help address the three underlying questions to the research; how did the third sector respond to Covid; what lessons did we learn; can we use undergraduate students to produce policy relevant research that makes a difference to people in the city?  This evaluation will also be augmented by a further Bristol Model module which will engage with the researchers across several projects, on their reflections on the efficacy of the overall process.  This work is currently being mobilised.

The Power of Community Report

Research Lead: Professor Martin Parker
Editor: Tom Burnett 
Other Researchers: Dr John McGoldrick; Tahlia Jurkovic; Jamie Ellis; Ethel Ng; Hal Arnold-Foster; Will Romain
Design: Derek Edwards,

Contact the researchers

Professor Martin Parker
Professor of Organisation Studies
Dr John McGoldrick
Honorary Research Fellow
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