Features / The University of Bristol

The student consultants supporting third sector organisations in Bristol and beyond

By lowie trevena, Friday Jul 24, 2020

Supporting more than 70 charities across eight countries, the COVID-19 Student Response Network (CSRN) is a student consulting hub founded in Bristol.

Created in March 2020 by Jack Elliot, Immy Ireland, Ameya Vikram, Tom Steggall and Lee D’arcy, who study at the University of Bristol, CSRN supports third sector organisations through marketing, business strategy and data science.

CSRN currently work with more than 300 student volunteers in university consultancies to support charities and community organisations across eight countries.

In Bristol, 120 students are working to support 25 projects, including Off The Record, Black South West Network and The Ape Project, which runs St Paul’s Adventure Playground.

The students involved in the projects work on everything from building websites to developing new strategies for these third sector organisations.

CRSN have supported organisations including Black South West Network. Photo: Manoel Akure Blouhaus Photography

“CSRN empower student consulting during Covid-19,” explains Jack Elliot, who is CEO or CSRN and founder of 180 Consulting Bristol. “We provide training, sponsors and centralised support.”

Jack founded 180 Consulting Bristol in August 2019, one of 20 180 Consulting branches across the UK’s universities, utilising student talent to support charities.

CSRN was the next step for Jack, who wanted to support as many charities as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

The network is led by Jack and the 180 Consulting Bristol team, who work with a “problem driven” approach, saying: “We start at the problem a charity has and work out how we can help fix it.”

The consulting work splits across marketing, business strategy and data.

A team of five from the University of Bristol recently supported Age UK Bristol to adapt to the crisis. The students ran the organisation’s Covid-19 Fundraising Appeal, created dashboards to help staff visualise data, mapped supporter journeys, reviewed social media and marketing.

Age UK Bristol have received support from the network. Photo: Age UK Bristol

“I would not hesitate to recommend 180DC’s services to other voluntary organisations as you have made real and demonstrable improvements to the way that we work,” said Kay Libby, chief executive of Age UK Bristol. “It is a genuine pleasure to have meetings with the 180 Consulting team.”

Other organisations supported by the Bristol team include North Bristol Advice Centre, who received help with website design and digitisation, Bristol Sport Foundation, who were supported with machine learning – a subset of artificial intelligence – and data science and Full Circle @ Docklands, which a consulting team helped to refine the youth club’s operating model and marketing strategy.

CSRN is continuing to support third sector organisations in Bristol and beyond to solve difficult problems and challenging issues.

Main photo: St Paul’s Adventure Playground

Read more: £18.7m in grant funding to support social enterprises

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