Wellspring Settlement - Communities in Focus: harnessing the potential of community-generated data

Project Details


Wellspring Settlement (formerly Barton Hill Settlement and Wellspring Healthy Living Centre) is a community anchor and social enterprise based in the Barton Hill area of Bristol. The Settlement provides a wide range of services for the local community, from Family Centre, lunch club, and cafe to advice and employment support. The Settlement site includes a wide range of other organisations providing services and projects in the local area. The University of Bristol has a long-standing relationship with the Settlement and opened a micro-campus on the site in May 2020 which is seen partly as a pilot for the university’s community focusing work that will operate out of the new Temple Quarter campus.

Wellspring Settlement operate a database - called FOCUS - to track service users’ interactions with the support programmes that the Settlement runs. An entry in the database is created for each person who comes into contact with the Settlement’s services. Multiple services/projects are run by the Settlement; each service/project comes with specific requirements concerning the monitoring data required by the funder. Due to the varying needs and funding streams of each project, the database is used in a variety of ways and the quality of the data kept on each user is inconsistent. Nevertheless, the database contains a wealth of information about users of the Settlement which, it is anticipated, can provide bottom-up detail about the attributes, needs and achievements of the local communities.

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020 Wellspring Settlement was appointed one of Bristol’s community hubs to respond to community needs in the current Covid-19 crisis. At that time the Settlement asked UoB for help in collecting and analysing data about the needs of the local community during the crisis, and to report back to the Settlement on what people were saying and to make recommendations for action that arise out of the data. This project (entitled Community response to Covid-19: Wellspring Settlement) received ethical approval from the LREC; the resulting reports provided the Settlement with real time and ongoing community information which they are using to inform how the Settlement’s services should be developed and as empirical evidence to lobby for resources the area with the City Council and others.

Communities in Focus is a development of the Covid project, enabling us to i) explore ways in which the local data held on FOCUS can be better used to provide community-generated information that could lead to new initiatives and policy interventions within the city, and ii) explore the potential for the database being adopted more broadly across the City in order to build up comprehensive, comparable information about the needs and attributes of the city’s diverse communities.
Effective start/end date1/09/2030/09/22


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