Food justice and poverty networking event

On 1st May the Bristol Poverty Institute‘s Food and Nutrition Cluster, local charity Feeding Bristol, and the UoB Food Justice Network came together for a workshop exploring how we can collaborate to tackle issues of food justice and poverty. The event kicked off with short presentations from the three hosts, introducing ourselves and our respective work and ambitions. The Director of Feeding Bristol, Ped Asgarian, along with his colleague Jo then provided an overview of the food support landscape in the city of Bristol, sharing some eye-opening stats on levels of deprivation as well as links between poverty and obesity and the impacts of the cost of living on organisations trying to support people who are struggling. They provided details on a range of food support settings that they work with, including food banks, community fridges and school holiday clubs, highlighting the different ways in which people and communities are supported to obtain food in the city. This interestingly intersects with some recent research from one of the BPI’s members, Dr Will Baker, whose work on the rise of food charity in schools has recently generated media attention.

Photograph of Feeding Bristol presentationScreenshot of presentation slide listing different food support settings

The Feeding Bristol team then went on to outline the challenges that many food support organisations are facing, particularly in terms of funding and resource. This has been driven largely by the rising cost of living, making it more expensive to run the organisations, driving more people to seek help, and also giving everyone less cash in their pockets therefore reducing the amount of charitable donations made. Other contributing factors included the shift away from ‘best before’ dates on some fresh produce in supermarkets, which has meant that food which was previously surplus is no longer available as it remains on the shelves for longer. Even with the best of intentions, it simply isn’t possible to keep some initiatives going. Ped then went on to introduce their Food Equality Strategy and Action Plan, which outlines how they are working with different organisations and embedding and delivering their work on food justice in the city and interacting with national and international work in this space.

Screenshot of slide providing information on Food Equality Strategy and Action Plan

Inspired by the opening presentations, we then moved into breakout groups where we explored shared interests and opportunities for collaboration. The focus of the breakout sessions was to establish ways that UoB researchers can effectively collaborate with Feeding Bristol and the wider community. We explored a range of topics in the different groups, including the importance of food education, the role (and duty) the University has to its students who may be facing food poverty, social aspects of food and how food and culture intersect, and the value of listening to different perspectives on what ‘food justice’ means to different people and communities and what the barriers are.

Photographs of breakout groups

The discussion was really engaging, and could have gone on for much longer, and provided some really great ideas for the focus and format of our next joint event in July coinciding with Feeding Bristol’s annual Food Justice Fortnight. We’re really looking forward to working with our colleagues from the Food Justice Network and Feeding Bristol to develop these plans in the coming weeks. The event has been pencilled in for the afternoon of Thursday 4th July, and we plan to create an open space to share ideas and bring together diverse voices, perspectives and understandings of what ‘food justice’ means and how it can be achieved. Do save the date and keep an eye on the BPI events page for more information in due course, or contact Joe ( if you would like to be notified when event registration launches.

BPI 2023 wrap-up blog post

As we welcome in 2024, the BPI team are reflecting on the challenges, successes and opportunities we have experienced through 2023, and looking ahead to the coming year and beyond. Join us for a whistle stop tour of a few of the highlights in this blog post! If you want to keep up to date on activities and opportunities across the Institute, do make sure you sign up to our monthly newsletter via this page and/or email the BPI team to sign up to our main mailing list.


In January 2023, the BPI’s main focus was on producing and submitting a bid to the internal Strategic Research Investment Fund (SRIF). With input from the BPI Advisory Board, the BPI Manager Dr Lauren Winch put together a strong bid with a number of work packages, and we were delighted when funding for all work packages was confirmed in March. Funding has been secured for a range of activities up to July 2025, which includes new posts within the team, an exciting new interdisciplinary seedcorn fund, and a BPI conference in 2024.


On 12th February we were delighted to welcome Dr Nkechi S.Owoo to Bristol as a Bristol ‘Next Generation’ Visiting Researcher. Dr Nkechi, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, spent six weeks working with the BPI Director, Professor David Gordon on the effects of climate change on health outcomes. Nkechi is one of Africa’s foremost young scholars, and her research focuses on spatial econometrics in addition to microeconomic issues in developing countries, including household behaviour, health, poverty and inequality, gender issues, population and demographic economics, as well as environmental sustainability.

Photo of Dr Owoo


Some of our activities in the first part of the year were significantly impacted by strike action across the University sector. This included plans for a cross-sector event on Housing, ‘Home’ and Poverty scheduled for 15th March, which had to be postponed until May. We did, however, deliver a fantastic event in collaboration with the South West International Development Network (SWIDN) to celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March, chaired and facilitated by BPI Board Member Dr Tigist Grieve. At this collaborative online event entitled ‘From Menarche to Menopause‘ we heard from several expert speakers from the academic and not-for-profit communities about their work and research related to menarche, menstruation, menopause and mental health worldwide. Together the event explored issues affecting women and girls and discussed what we can do as a wider community to tackle these issues. More information is available on the event page.

Event promotion poster

Dr Nkechi Owoo also continued her work with the BPI in March, before returning home to Ghana. This included an engaging hybrid seminar on ‘The Effects of Climate Change on Health Outcomes in Ghana’. A recording of the seminar along with more information is available in the events resources section of our website.

March was a particularly busy month for the BPI Director, Professor David Gordon, who travelled to Sweden after Nkechi’s departure to work on an evaluation of the AgeCap programme in Sweden, and then chaired an all-day meeting for the Academy of Finland the following week.


In April, we teamed up with the University of Bristol’s Health Psychology and Interventions Group (HPIG) for an afternoon of thought-provoking discussion at a cross-sector workshop. Entitled “Don’t Be Poor”: Collaborative approaches to health behaviour change interventions, this workshop was aimed at those wishing to explore the real-world context of health interventions and how we can better bring together our skills and collaborate across disciplines when designing interventions and conducting healthcare research to bring tangible benefits to those most in need. We were really pleased that the event attracted a wide range of attendees from across different sectors, with some really positive takeaways including an enhanced awareness and understanding of dimensions of poverty and vulnerability which can intersect with health behaviours.

The title of this event was inspired by some work undertaken by Professor David Gordon and colleagues over twenty years ago. This was inspired by some ‘top tips’ for better health from the Chief Medical Officer as part of the Government’s published response to the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health report. These ‘top tips’, whilst valid in themselves, neglected to really address the causes or potential solutions to health inequalities. This therefore prompted a somewhat satirical response from Professor Gordon and his colleagues which highlighted the kinds of policies which would be needed to actually reduce health inequalities in the UK. One of their key ‘tips’ for better health was simply: “Don’t be poor”. It seems these lessons may still need to be learnt.

Screenshot of recommendations from report


May was another really busy month for the BPI, with a range of events and high-level meetings. This included, for example, successfully delivering our half-day multi-sector event on Housing, ‘Home’ and Poverty, feeding into the new GW4 strategy, meeting with members of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty to outline collaborative work on climate change and child poverty, and convening a meeting for the Directors of all seven of the University of Bristol’s Specialist Research Institutes.

The Housing, ‘Home’ and Poverty event was a real highlight, bringing together representatives from different sectors and backgrounds to explore the intersections between poverty and elements of housing, the concept of ‘home’, and other related issues. The event included presentations, breakout sessions, a powerful testimony on the experience of these issues in conjunction with living with disabilities, and networking opportunities. Presentations from the event can be downloaded from our event resources page, and you can also find out more about the event itself in our blog post.

Screenshot of breakout room themesPhoto collage of breakout groups


In June we welcomed Dr Tanveer Naveed from the University of Gujrat in Pakistan who also came to Bristol via a Bristol ‘Next Generation’ Visiting Researcher award, the same scheme which funded Nkechi’s visit earlier in the year. Tanveer’s research interests and contributions focus on measuring valid and reliable education, assets, health and human development indices, and developing scientifically rigorous measures for multidimensional poverty and child poverty that are applicable in low- and middle-income countries. During his visit, Tanveer collaborated with the Professor David Gordon on multidimensional poverty measurement, particularly in Pakistan.

Photo of Dr Tanveer Naveed

June also saw the publication of a fantastic new book on Decolonizing Education for Sustainable Futures from BPI Advisory Board Member Professor Leon Tikly, along with Bristol academics Dr Artemio Cortez OchoaProfessor Julia Paulson and Warwick’s Professor Yvette Hutchison. This book explores the link between sustainable futures and decolonized education, offering theoretical and practical insights on creating decolonized futures through innovative approaches and reparative justice in education.

Image of book cover


Our visiting researcher from University of Gujrat, Dr Tanveer Naveed, gave two fantastic seminars in July. The first was on The Construction of Household-based Asset Index: Measurement of Economic Disparities in Pakistan by using MICS Micro-data, and the second on The Estimation of Human Development Index at Household Level and Estimation of Human Development Disparities in Pakistan. Resources from both seminars can be found on the BPI website.

Screenshots of opening slides from Tanveer's presentations

We also had some changes in the BPI team in July. We bid farewell to our long-standing Senior Administrator Joe Gillett, who was moving on to undertake some research of his own building on his PhD research. We also said goodbye to Katherine Fitzpatrick, who had come in on a fixed-term contract to help us out with some packages of work. Both will be very missed from the team, but we were delighted to welcome Tracey Jarvis as our new permanent Senior Administrator taking over from Joe. Tracey got up to speed really quickly, and has been a fantastic asset to the team.


August is always a quieter month in terms of events and meetings, as many people take a break over the summer. It was still a busy month for the BPI team, though, developing plans for the upcoming autumn term and launching recruitment for our new BPI Development Associate who will lead on our new Seedcorn Fund in 2024.


September saw a wave of high-profile events for the BPI in collaboration with colleagues including UNICEF and the New School in the USA. Our largest activity was a side event at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Science Summit, hosted at UNICEF’s Head Office in New York on the topic of Advanced Tools for Analysing Poverty, Climate and Environmental Changes. Chaired and co-designed by the BPI Director, Professor David Gordon, this event brought together researchers engaged in novel approaches to develop measures, monitoring, and understanding for both the causes and the consequences of poverty. Despite many decades of progress, hundreds of millions of people still live in extreme poverty. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and political turmoil, armed conflicts, and environmental challenges do not only threaten to halt recent improvements but reverse many of the gains in poverty reduction. Whilst numbers in the room were limited, the session attracted hundreds of attendees from all around the world on the live stream.

UNGA Science Summit logo

Following on from this, we were also involved in a parallel event hosted by the New School on Improving Child and Family Poverty Measurement which brought together some of the world’s leading researchers into poverty and deprivation measurement and anti-poverty policies who had travelled to New York for the UNGA Science Summit.

Poster for the Improving Child and Family Poverty Measurement event


October saw the new academic year getting into full swing, and we held a really nice, informal ‘Meet the BPI’ event on campus. The aim of the event was to give both academics and Professional Services colleagues from our University the opportunity to meet the BPI team, find out what we do, learn more about the support and engagement opportunities available through the BPI, and mingle with like-minded colleagues over a cuppa. We had a really good turn out, and it was a great opportunity to catch-up with familiar faces and meet some new ones and identify some potential new synergies and spaces for engagement and collaboration.

The 17th October every year is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), and each year the  Global Coalition to End Child Poverty – which we are an active member of – plan activities to coincide with this. Last year we published a policy briefing on Ending Child Poverty: A Policy Agenda, and this year we launched a Call to Action for Governments to expand social protection and care systems and promote decent work to address child poverty. This Call to Action was developed jointly by UNICEF, Save the Children, Young Lives, Arigatou and the Bristol Poverty Institute, and was officially launched at a live online event on IDEP itself. Find out more in our news story.

Screenshot of IDEP call to action promotion


November was our busiest month of the year for events, with a packed schedule including a hybrid seminar, a co-hosted conference session, and an interdisciplinary forum. We kicked off the month with our hybrid event exploring Towards Net Zero and Tackling Poverty, where we introduced findings from our Travel Carbon Project which was undertaken by Professor David Gordon and one of his PhD students who is already a qualified medical doctor, Dr Cynthia Fonta. Their aim was to calculate both the costs and years of life which could be saved by carbon offsetting the University’s work-related emissions through funding clean cooking stoves and/or potable water provision in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. They shared their findings and the potential implications with a hybrid audience at this event, alongside an engaging presentation from Dr Sam Williamson, who is doing work on sustainability and cooking in a range of contexts including Nepal, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Presentation slide summarising the key aims of the Travel Carbon Project (as outlined in the main text)

The following week, we co-hosted a session on The Seen and Unseen Dimensions of Poverty at the fantastic Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) anniversary conference. This well-organised and well-attended event was celebrating 25 years of the PFRC, which applies multi-method approaches with specialisms drawn from social policy, human geography, psychology, and social research to explore the financial issues that affect individuals and households under the leadership of BPI Board Member Professor Sharon Collard.

Screenshot of conference programme and photograph of Professor David Gordon presenting

A final highlight was our interdisciplinary forum on Poverty and Social Justice in a Digital Future, which consisted of two thematic sessions exploring digital inequalities and the impacts of AI on poverty. The aim of this event was to build up internal awareness and offer researchers from different communities to identify synergies, with a view to being better placed to collaborate in response to future funding calls and to situate considerations of poverty and social justice within the mindsets of researchers working in the digital space for these future bids. We actively encouraged participation from researchers who weren’t currently working directly on poverty or poverty-related issues, and from all corners of the University. We had a fantastic panel of speakers from across Arts, Social Sciences, and Engineering, who gave us wide-ranging, engaging talks on new frontiers of colonialism and marginalisation, discrimination and disinformation, participatory research methods, sociodigital futures and social justice, cyber security, and machine learning and AI.

Image of event programme


As 2023 drew to a close, there were lots of exciting things still happening at the BPI. We were delighted to welcome Joe Jezewski to join our team as our new BPI Development Associate, as well as four new academics to our BPI Advisory Board bringing more diversity and expertise to our already strong Advisory Board. Our new Board members are:

In other news, the BPI Director travelled to Thailand to work with the Thai government and UNICEF on poverty measurement for the country. Closer to home, members of the BPI team rolled up their sleeves to bake cakes and cookies to raise money for the North Bristol and South Gloucestershire foodbank, where some of the BPI team and colleagues spent a rewarding day volunteering on 21st December. You can find out more about our experience, including some information about the foodbank and tips for donating, in our blog post.

Photo collage of images relating to BPI volunteering days at a foodbank

Looking ahead

So, it has been another busy year for the BPI, and we’re really excited to have lots of exciting things in the pipeline, including our new interdisciplinary seedcorn fund launching imminently, collaborations with a range of local, national and international partners, and a wide range of events. We’ve got our rescheduled event on gambling, poverty and marginalisation, as well as new events in development including a seminar on underemployment and Universal Credit, a participatory research methods workshop, training on achieving impact for poverty-relevant research, a seminar on socially just future cities, a food justice mingle, to name just some of them! Of course, we will also have our 2024 conference! This will be taking place across two days in June, with a focus on Poverty and Social Justice in a Post-COVID World. The first day will be an in-person event in Bristol with a UK focus, and the second day will be online with an international audience and focus. We’re aiming to have sessions across a wide range of topics including mental health, finance, and education among others, and will try and make sure there are sessions available to people in different time zones around the world. We’ve just recruited a new member of our team to help with planning and delivery of this conference, who will be joining us later this month – more info soon!

To keep up to date with the BPI’s plans you can sign up to our mailing list, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, check out our website, and/or follow us X/Twitter. You can also get in touch with the BPI team via– we’d love to hear from you!

BPI Conference 2024 - save the date image

Bristol Poverty Institute’s Foodbank Volunteering Day 2023

On 21st December a group of Bristol Poverty Institute staff and colleagues from across the University headed to the north of the city to volunteer at the North Bristol and South Gloucestershire foodbank. With the cost-of-living crisis hitting everyone hard, foodbanks are facing a horrible combination of lower donations and higher levels of need, so they are really low on stock of many key items. As part of the volunteering day, we were therefore asked to each bring several bags worth of donations to contribute, and the group (and their friends and family) were more than happy to oblige. Between us, we brought a mountain of bags of store cupboard items, toiletries, and some festive treats. Our donations were further bolstered by generous contributions from members of the University’s Division of Research, Enterprise and Innovation who enthusiastically engaged with the BPI bake sale I organised to raise additional funds for the foodbank.

Photos of baked goods for the bake sale

Thanks to fantastic efforts from our volunteer bakers and kind donations from our colleagues we raised over £200 from the bake sale, enabling me to arrive at the foodbank with a literal car-full, including dozens of tins of pulses, beans and vegetables, 36 packs of rice, 12 litres of UHT milk, 360 stock cubes, herbs and spices, a couple of kilos of coffee, 45 toothbrushes and 15 tubes of toothpaste, boxes full of shower gels and soaps, multiple packs of sanitary products, 12kg of washing powder, and 45 loo rolls, among other things.

Photos of shopping for foodbank

The day itself was busy and quite physically demanding but in a manageable and rewarding way, so definitely helped us to burn off those bake sale cookies and cakes! We arrived and were given a briefing and tour from the foodbank manager Shauna. Shauna told us that they normally help around 1500 people per month, but that they are receiving many more requests than they can manage at the moment. She explained that people receiving help from the foodbank need a referral – from a doctor, school, the job centre, or citizen’s advice, for example – and that they operate a voucher system to ensure that the right people are receiving the support. Their aim is to support people without developing reliance on it, and to try and work with people to find longer-term solutions. Shauna went on to explain that donations this year had been particularly low, although there had been a bit of a boost in the run up to Christmas as people got into the giving spirit. Nonetheless, the foodbank had had to spend over £100,000 on supplies over the past year, using a combination of donated funds along with their emergency savings. Shauna explained that it had been necessary for them to buy so much this year because on average they are giving out twice as many items as they are getting donated, so they need to purchase more themselves to make up the shortfall.

Photos of the foodbank warehouse

We were then split into four teams, and got to work. One team were boxing up all of the donations we’d brought with us, making sure everything was weighed and accounted for. The second were working through crate-upon-crate of donated items checking expiry dates and suitability, and labelling them accordingly. The third group – my group – then took these labelled items and sorted them into crates for different categories, such as tinned fruit, soups, cereals, rice/pasta/noodles, and items for special dietary requirements including vegan, halal, and gluten-free. It was the fourth group’s task to then take these crates to the relevant part of the warehouse, and sort them within the stock piles according to their expiry dates to ensure that the shortest-dated items are distributed first and therefore minimising waste. It took a little while to get to grips with what went where, but pretty quickly we established a good rhythm and the time then flew.

We were all really interested to learn a bit more about what the foodbank can and can’t donate. For example, we were asked to take out anything containing alcohol – even in small quantities, such as canned soup with some red wine on the ingredients list – as even minute amounts undetectable to the palate can trigger cravings and relapse in recovering alcoholics. Similarly, anything with poppy seeds had to be discarded due to the opiates they may contain. We also learned that they don’t give out any sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks or pre-mixed fruity drinks, due to the weight and the relatively high sugar content. A lot of people receiving help from the foodbanks have to carry their items home on foot or on public transport, so they have to balance the nutritional value of an item with its weight. It was really interesting to learn more about this, and really useful to bear in mind when making donations in the future.

Photos of volunteers undertaking foodbank activities

It was really rewarding to feel like we were making a small difference, but a harsh reminder of the challenges foodbanks and their customers are facing. So, if you’re reading this and can afford to please do consider donating to your local foodbank. They welcome both monetary donations and donated items. There are various ways to donate, including dropping items off directly during the foodbank’s opening hours or alternatively popping a few bits into the donation boxes near the checkouts in most supermarkets. Some foodbanks, including the one we volunteered at, have a list on their website of the items they currently need the most – and the ones they don’t – to help you decide what to give. Please remember not to donate anything containing alcohol or poppy seeds, or anything with a short shelf-life or that needs to be refrigerated. Hopefully one day we’ll live in a country where people don’t need foodbanks to survive, but in the meantime we can hopefully make a bit of difference by supporting them.

A big thank you from the BPI to all of our volunteers, to the foodbank team for having us, and for everyone who contributed to the bake sale!

Photograph of BPI volunteers

What is a just transition and what might it mean for Bristol?

Author: Dr Ed Atkins


Climate breakdown poses an urgent and existential threat to our planet and future generations. The need for effective and just responses to this crisis cannot be overstated. Transitioning to low-carbon alternatives is crucial, but it is equally important to ensure that these alternatives are not only as good but preferably better than the fossil fuel-based systems they aim to replace.

Addressing inequalities

Cities play a significant role in shaping the environmental and social landscape. However, urban areas are often marked by inequality, which can exacerbate climate and environmental injustice. Unequal access to resources and opportunities within cities disproportionately affects marginalised communities, leading to unequal distribution of environmental “goods” and burdens.

Stokes Croft

Credit Oliver Zhou via unsplash

Lower-income neighbourhoods often bear the brunt of environmental pollution, with limited access to green spaces, clean air, and clean water. Inadequate infrastructure, such as public transportation or cycling lanes, further reinforces disparities. Addressing these inequalities within cities is crucial for achieving a just transition and ensuring that climate action benefits all members of society.

A call for a just transition emphasises the importance of low-carbon alternatives being as good as, if not better than, the carbon-intensive sources they aim to replace. It recognises that a just transition encompasses more than just decarbonisation. Instead, climate action takes into consideration the immediate concerns of individuals who worry about the cost of living and their ability to make ends meet.

Interconnection of climate action, social justice and worker’s rights

The origins of the just transition concept can be traced back to trade unions’ efforts to reconcile workers’ rights and job protections with environmental and climate considerations. It gained traction through the work of Tony Mazzocchi, who popularised the idea within the US Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers International Union. The objective was to foster alliances between environmental groups and organised labour, challenging the notion that environmental protection comes at the expense of jobs.

Group of people sat round table listening to a speaker at just transition gathering

Credit ShamPhat Photography

A just transition framework recognises the interconnectedness of climate action, social justice, and workers’ rights. These connections are increasingly recognised. The term has been incorporated into the vocabulary of international organisations such as the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Environmental Programme, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Effectively translating the concept of a just transition into practice necessitates government intervention and proactive measures. History provides examples of comprehensive policies implemented by governments to support workers and communities undergoing significant changes. From policies to protect workers in the wake of declining fossil fuel economies in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany to the introduction of the USA GI Bill to support veterans returning from World War Two.

Helping communities and people thrive

Neglecting the importance of a just transition can hinder progress and allow inequalities to persist. This is linked to how a just transition is no longer just about worker protection but about helping communities and people thrive.

Easton Community Garden photographed at the Get Growing Garden Trail 2023, © Yasmin Centeno

© Yasmin Centeno

Bristol, like many cities, faces a range of specific inequalities that a just transition can address. From socio-economic disparities to racial injustices, these challenges must be confronted head-on to ensure a fair and inclusive transition. By investing in green jobs, renewable energy infrastructure, and sustainable businesses, Bristol can simultaneously reduce its carbon footprint and create employment opportunities that benefit all segments of society.

There are five key dimensions of justice associated with a just transition.

  1. Distributive justice focuses on ensuring a fair distribution of costs and benefits related to climate action and breakdown.
  2. Procedural justice highlights the importance of inclusive decision-making processes, allowing diverse voices to be heard and respected.
  3. Justice as recognition emphasises acknowledging and valuing different identities, experiences, and aspirations, avoiding misrecognition and stigmatization.
  4. Restorative justice seeks to rectify past harms and exclusions by implementing policies that improve the lives of marginalised communities.
  5. Cosmopolitan justice broadens the perspective to global contexts, considering historical responsibility, global pollution, and intergenerational fairness.

Achieving a just transition requires not only effective policies but also active participation and influence from communities. It should address the equitable distribution of costs and benefits, inclusivity in decision-making, recognition of diverse perspectives, restoration of past injustices, and global responsibilities.

A collective endeavour

A just transition can reverberate throughout Bristol’s social fabric, touching every aspect of life.  This means that achieving it is not solely the responsibility of politicians or corporations; it is a collective endeavour that demands participation from every sector of society. From activists to frontline key workers, Bristolians must come together to not only call for climate action but for policies that make the city better.

By weaving justice into the fabric of the city, Bristol can catalyse a powerful movement for change. When facing climate breakdown, this is not only an opportunity but an imperative.


Ed Atkins is a Senior Lecturer working on energy transitions and energy justice at the University of Bristol. His research broadly explores how place-based approaches might allow for more equitable climate action. In this blog he gives some background to the term ‘just transition’ and explores what it might mean for Bristol. Ed has recently published a book entitled A Just Energy Transition: Getting Decarbonisation Right in a Time of Crisis.

This blog post is republished from Bristol Green Capital with permission from Ed Atkins. Read the original article

BPI’s 2022 wrap-up


As we welcome in 2023, the BPI team are reflecting on the challenges, successes and opportunities we have experienced through 2022, and looking ahead to 2023. Join us for a whistle stop tour of a few of the highlights in this blog post!


In January we launched our new BPI research page, where you can search and browse a wide range of poverty-relevant projects, publications and researchers at the University of Bristol. This was one of the final projects delivered by our Communications Officer, Sasha, who left the BPI at the end of January to pursue her career as a Barrister. We wish her all the best in her new career.

Screenshot of webpage

Map of BPI researchers' international collaborations

The BPI Director and Manager also met with the Chief Officer of Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Laura Welti, to discuss opportunities for collaboration, as well as plans for an upcoming event on the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on disabled people.



The Disability, Poverty and COVID-19 webinar had been planned for February; however, due to successive periods of strike action at the University this was postponed several times.

In between the strike periods, the BPI Director, Professor David Gordon, ran an online multi-source inference session for the Deep Statistics: AI and Earth Observations for Sustainable Development programme at the Department of Statistics at Harvard University on behalf of the BPI. We also successfully secured some internal funding for a project on Improving the global measurement of child and family poverty in collaboration with UNICEF. The aim of this initiative is to develop and pilot a short question module which will use the Consensual Approach to produce accurate, precise and comparable measures of multidimensional poverty for children and their families. After piloting the questionnaire, it could be applied in all countries of the world.

Description of the 'conceptual method'



March saw further strike action, impacting on our plans for events. However, despite this it was a really productive month for the BPI. A key highlight was when BPI Board Member Professor Sharon Collard, in collaboration with Professor Agnes Nairn, were awarded £4m from GambleAware for a new Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms Research at the University. This bid built on discussions at a BPI webinar we ran in partnership with GambleAware in 2020 which both Sharon and Agnes presented at, and the BPI was listed as an associated Institute on the bid which included a formal letter of support from the BPI.

We also met with the charity National Energy Action (NEA) to discuss spaces for collaboration on tackling fuel poverty, as well as colleagues in the Centre for Academic Child Health. We are looking forward to progressing these discussions further in 2023, and some funding has recently been awarded to Dr Caitlin Robinson in Geographical Sciences to work with NEA and BPI on the challenges of fuel poverty.

Screenshot of Gambling Harms Hub website



In April we were pleased to relaunch our BPI Internal Research and Collaboration Fund, which is still open for applications until 31 May 2023 or when all available funding has been allocated, whichever is sooner. The funding scheme supports small-scale activities to grow and develop the University of Bristol poverty-research community and its visibility. Activities are likely to include seminars and workshops, and in this relaunch we have opened the scheme up to include virtual activities as well as in-person activities, recognising the fact that ways of working have changed, and the lower environmental impact of virtual engagement.



May was another really busy month for the BPI, with a range of events and high-level meetings. This included, for example, a joint grant development workshop with our colleagues from Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB) and members of the Research Development team in Professional Services where attendees were provided with tips for applying to the research councils for funding. We also met with members of the University of Cape Town, including their Vice Chancellor and their Director of Global Engagement, to discuss institutional collaborations at the nexus of climate change, health and poverty along with the Directors of our University’s environment and health research Institutes. A further highlight in May was a Data Collection webinar which the BPI organised for UNICEF Headquarters on Child and Family Poverty Measurement.

Screenshot of event flyer



Our focus in June was on our BPI Showcase event at the end of the month, which was our first in-person event since the pandemic. This half-day event brought together friends, colleagues and associates from a range of organisations to showcase, celebrate and explore poverty-relevant research at the University of Bristol and beyond. We explored a range of topics including global poverty, the cost-of-living-crisis, decolonising development, multidimensional poverty, (il)licit livelihoods and drugs policies, and social, digital and cultural lives of minoritized older adults. The event also highlighted research taking place in a wide range of geographical contexts, from local analyses in Bristol to projects in Somali/Somaliland and Bangladesh, a wider project across several African countries, and poverty on a global scale. The delegate pack – including speaker biographies and talk abstracts – is available on the BPI website, along with slide decks from the presentations and pdfs of the posters displayed at the Showcase, and a summary of the day is available on the BPI blog.

BPI Showcase flyer



In July we finally (!) held our webinar on Disability, Poverty and COVID-19, which had been postponed and rescheduled several times due to University strike action. Over 150 people registered for this event including representatives from Pfizer, Bristol City Council and a range of other city and county councils, Deliveroo, various parts of the NHS, Bristol Museums, Citizen’s Advice, Barnardo’s, and the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living, alongside academics from multiple universities. We were delighted to be joined by speakers from a range of organisations and sectors, including some with lived experience of disability.

A further highlight from July was news of the appointment of then-BPI Board Member Professor Esther Dermott to the role of Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Bristol. Whilst this was fantastic and well-deserved news, it does unfortunately mean that from 2023 Esther will be stepping down from her role on the BPI Board. We would therefore like to take this opportunity once again to thank her for all of her fantastic contributions to the BPI over the years.



August brought our first international trip since travel opened up again, with the BPI Director and Manager travelling to South Africa to deliver a week-long advanced poverty methods training course at University of Cape Town (UCT). The BPI Director, Professor David Gordon, travelled out earlier in the month to undertake some collaborative work with colleagues at the University of Stellenbosch, before heading to Cape Town to meet up with BPI Manager Dr Lauren Winch as well as Professor Rich Harris from Geographical Sciences for the training course. The hybrid course included sessions on Global Policy Analysis, Spatial Analyses and Universal Poverty Measurement, delivered by a range of world-leading experts. The BPI Manager additionally gave a well-attended session on partnership opportunities as well as meeting with UCT’s Vice Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng to strengthen collaborations between University of Bristol and University of Cape Town staff and students.

Opening slide from Lauren Winch's presentation


Whilst we were in South Africa we also received news of the timely publication of a paper on Inequalities in COVID-19 vulnerability in South Africa which was co-authored by BPI and UCT researchers.

Screenshot of journal title and authors



In September the BPI team were really excited to launch our new monthly newsletter, which shares poverty-relevant news, events, funding opportunities and links to resources. All issues so far are available via the BPI website, and you can subscribe to future issues via this link. Another highlight was a really productive virtual meeting with representatives from Save the Children International around the world to explore spaces for collaboration on climate change and child poverty. We followed up on these discussions at the annual meeting of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty in December (see below) and are in the process of scheduling a follow-up meeting with members of their Asia-Pacific team early in 2023.

Screenshot of BPI newsletter banner


We were also delighted to hear that BPI Board Member Professor Leon Tikly was one of two University of Bristol academics conferred as a Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences in September.

Screenshot of news story about Fellows of the Academy of Social Science



The 17th of October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year saw the publication of a policy briefing on Ending Child Poverty: A Policy Agenda to mark the occasion, co-authored by representatives of the BPI alongside some of the world’s leading anti-poverty organisations. Elsewhere, BPI Board Member Dr Tigist Grieve represented the BPI at the South West International Development Network (SWIDN) conference 2022, running a well-attended session on development and poverty. In October we were also really pleased to welcome Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo as an official member of the BPI Advisory Board, replacing former members Dr Matthew Ellis and Professor Alan Emond as our health representative after they both retired last year. We want to take this opportunity once again to thank them for their fantastic contributions to the BPI over the years, and to thank Yoav for coming on board. We also welcomed a new part-time Administrator, Katherine Fitzpatrick, to the BPI team. Katherine will be working one day per week until July 2023 alongside our existing part-time Administrator Joe Gillett.

Cover image from policy briefing report



In November the BPI Director was invited to give a talk on in-work poverty and low pay at Bristol City Council’s ‘Living Wage Week’. With the ever-changing political landscape and developing cost-of-living crisis this was a challenging presentation to prepare for, as the situation was changing almost daily. The presentation was very well received, however, with some thought-provoking reflections and shocking statistics. We also received fantastic news in November that our applications for two Bristol ‘Next Generation’ Visiting Researcher awards to bring future research leaders from Ghana and Pakistan to work with the BPI Director and engage with the broader BPI and UoB community were successful. These are:

  • Dr Nkechi Owoo, a Health and Demographic Economist at the University of Ghana who will be visiting Bristol for six weeks in Spring 2023 to work with us on the effects of climate change on health outcomes.
  • Dr Tanveer Naveed, a Development Economist at the University of Gujrat who will be visiting Bristol in June 2023 for two weeks to work with us on multidimensional child poverty in Pakistan.

Screenshot of Visiting Researchers news story


November also saw the BPI Director and Professor Paul Bates (Geographical Sciences) give a presentation about who is most vulnerable to climate change in Pakistan to UNICEF and UN Agency staff during COP27, as a pro bono contribution to the massive 2022 flood post disaster needs assessment planning.



As 2022 drew to a close, things remained busy for the BPI team. At the start of the month the BPI Director and Manager travelled to London to join the annual meeting of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty, where representatives from leading anti-poverty organisations around the world came together to reflect on our work in 2022 and develop our work plan for 2023 and beyond. The Global Coalition to End Child Poverty is a global initiative to raise awareness about children living in poverty across the world and support global and national action to alleviate it. Coalition members work together as part of the Coalition, as well as individually, to achieve a world where all children grow up free from poverty, deprivation and exclusion. In 2020 the Bristol Poverty Institute (BPI) were honoured to accept an invitation to join the Coalition, which is co-chaired by UNICEF and Save the Children with 19 other leading organisations in tackling poverty from around the world.

You can find out more about the Coalition and the meeting on our blog post.

Screenshot of member organisations' logos

Photo of Global Coalition Annual Meeting attendees

Whilst the BPI Director stayed in London after the meeting to continue the discussions, the BPI Manager hopped on a train back to Bristol so she could attend the University of Bristol’s ‘Is a just transition to Net Zero possible & what does it look like’ event the following morning. This was a really engaging event, and building on conversations at the event we are now exploring some collaborative work with Cabot Institute for the Environment and the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research on carbon offsetting and potential benefits for health and wellbeing. We are really excited to see where these conversations take us in 2023!

Finally, we wrapped the year up with our now yearly tradition of helping out at a local foodbank. This year we were able to send 24 members of the University – including both academics and members of Professional Services – to the Northwest Bristol foodbank to help out over three separate days. You can find out more on our blog post.

Collage of photographs from BPI volunteering days

Looking ahead

Phew! 2022 really was a busy year and we hope you have enjoyed sharing some of our highlights with us.

Looking ahead we have several exciting things under development, including an event on Housing, ‘Home’ and Poverty in March, and a collaborative workshop on health and poverty entitled Don’t be Poor: Collaborative approaches to health behaviour change interventions in April. We will also be meeting with representatives from Bristol City Council’s public health and communities team to explore opportunities for collaboration, developing our Research Clusters, exploring opportunities for further training courses, and planning for our next conference, among other activities. To keep up to date with the BPI’s plans you can sign up to our mailing list, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, check out our website, and/or follow us on Twitter. You can also get in touch with the BPI team via – we’d love to hear from you!

There’s no denying that we’re living in challenging times, particularly for those in and at risk of falling into poverty. It is our mission to tackle poverty in all its forms everywhere, which we will continue to do with vigour in the coming year and beyond.

Screenshot of BPI's mission statement

BPI foodbank volunteering days 2022

The University of Bristol supports all of its staff to take one day of volunteering leave per year to help make a positive impact in the local community. This December the Bristol Poverty Institute (BPI) brought together teams of staff from across the University to return to volunteer at a local food bank and Social Justice Hub in the run up to Christmas, helping out a good cause and having a really rewarding, enjoyable day with colleagues in the process.

The BPI team are acutely aware of how many people now unfortunately have to rely on food banks, particularly with the escalating cost of living crisis. We wanted these volunteering days to also be an opportunity for members of the BPI community to get to know one another, and to mix with colleagues who have a shared ethos but whose paths may not ordinarily cross. We were delighted to bring together 26 volunteers representing academia, Research and Enterprise Division (RED), and the Research Institutes across three volunteering days in December.

Group photographs

The volunteering days themselves were fantastic; the staff at the food bank were so welcoming, friendly, and helpful, and the work was really rewarding. Unfortunately we didn’t get off to the best start, with the first group’s day being cut short due to a faulty fire alarm; however, the team still really enjoyed the time they had, and are looking forward to make up some of the time in January along with a couple of colleagues who were unable to take part after testing positive for COVID.

The second group had better luck, spending a fulfilling day helping out on one of the ‘Christmas Hamper collection days’. Customers who had pre-booked were coming in to collect store cupboard food items as well as a range of fresh food including fruit and vegetables, bread, and frozen meat (or a vegetarian equivalent), plus toiletries and Christmas presents supplied for their families. In addition, there was a selection of other items which customers were able to collect including clothing and shoes, small electrical items such as kettles and phone chargers, hot water bottles, and plastic ‘Tupperware’ style containers. There was also a café area supplying free tea, coffee, soft drinks and cakes, which was manned by some of our University of Bristol volunteer team that day. Once all of the hampers had been collected and the donation tables and café area cleared away, the team spent the rest of the afternoon helping out with packing up presents and hampers for future collection days.

Collage of photos featuring people and food items

The final group – which I was a member of – began by making up 40 new Christmas hampers to be collected the following Monday. We were focussing on ‘family’ hampers, with a selection of staples along with some festive treats. A key message from the Assistant Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, Hazel, was to fill the hampers in a way that would bring joy when they were opened, with some of the more exciting items at the top and the boxes nicely filled. The contents included some tinned meat, stuffing and gravy for Christmas dinner plus mince pies, Christmas pudding and some custard, along with biscuits, crackers – both the edible type, and the ones which go bang – and some chocolate treats. We also added a box of cereal to each, a jar or bottle of sauce, some toiletries, and some fruit juice or other soft drinks, and each hamper also had a ‘Christmas exotic’ item, which ranged from cosy blankets to small toys to Christmas novelty items. It was really nice to see the effort the foodbank team put in to making people feel respected and valued, and ensuring that they have the best Christmas possible under the circumstances.

Collage of photographs related to making festive hampers

We also made up 50 Christmas bags for Ukrainian refugees, with a smaller selection of the above for each person. After we had packed all the hampers away and returned any remaining stock to the warehouse, we began the afternoon with a variety of small tasks, before heading back into the warehouse for the last couple of hours to sort through donations, check expiry dates and categorise products to help the warehouse teams with their distribution planning and ensuring as little as possible gets wasted.

Photos of volunteers sorting through donations

Photo of foodbank warehouse

At the end of the day, we were given a tour of the foodbank and its facilities by Assistant Manager Hazel Craig. Hazel explained that they offered a range of services and support alongside the provision of food as part of the larger Social Justice Hub supported by the Trussell Trust. This included, for example, Home Bank, through which they are able to provide a range of household goods ranging from microwaves to towels to kitchen utensils and crockery. She explained that these are sourced from a range of different places; for example, they recently received a bulk donation of stove-top kettles from a caravan company. The Social Justice Hub, which includes the foodbank, receives donations from a diverse range of sources, including supermarkets, organisations, and individual donations of both items and money. One of our group asked Hazel which they would prefer, and she explained that both have their advantages and that receiving a combination of both physical items and monetary donations is therefore the ideal situation. This means that the majority of what they need gets delivered to them directly meaning they don’t regularly have to go out and buy and transport the products themselves; however, it also means they have some budget available if they are short of a particular item and need to top-up their supplies. Hazel encouraged the group to consider donating items like custard, rice pudding, UHT milk, toothbrushes/toothpaste, and sanitary products rather than just the usual pasta and baked beans, which they always have large volumes of. She also outlined some of the other services and opportunities available through the Social Justice Hub, including a workshop space for arts and crafts which is used for both training courses and more informal opportunities for people to come along, get creative, develop skills, and tackle social isolation. Finally, Hazel also explained how they run some other courses that can help people improve their quality of life, including courses on budgeting and their ‘Eat Well, Spend Less’ cookery course. It was fantastic and humbling to learn more about the range of services, support and opportunities available, and a stark reminder of the many dimensions of poverty and the different ways in which people are struggling.

List of services offered by Social Justice Hub

Photo of warehouse tour

We all came away with a renewed drive to be more mindful about popping something in the food bank donation boxes every time we go to the supermarket or making a monetary donation when we can, as well as contributing to knowledge and trying to influence policy that may help to reduce the need for food banks in the future. Most supermarkets have donation boxes near the checkout, and many of them include a list of recommended/requested items. You can also find lists on food bank websites of the types of items they most frequently need (see the Trussell Trust website, for example), as well as lists of non-food items such as sanitary products, nappies, laundry detergent and toiletries alongside regular food items. It is shocking to be reminded that the first ever food bank in the UK was only opened in 2000 and numbers remained very low for the first decade before sky rocketing in the 2010s, and there are now reportedly more foodbanks in our country than there are branches of McDonald’s. In recent months their use – and need – has risen sharply and unsustainably in the face of the current cost of living crisis. It shouldn’t have to be this way. So, the BPI and our colleagues will continue to work to tackle poverty in all its forms everywhere, and to try and make a difference to ensure everyone has access to a decent standard of living and quality of life.

It was a lovely thing to join in with – the team at the foodbank are amazing and it was great to meet and talk with some of their clients” – Volunteer.

I had a really great day, and its inspired me to find an ongoing volunteering opportunity in my local area” – Volunteer

In 2023 we’re hoping to do something outdoors in the summertime, and then potentially come back to the foodbank in the run up to the festive season. If you’re a UoB member of staff interested in volunteering next year get in touch with the BPI team via to sign up to our mailing list, where we’ll circulate information on any volunteering opportunities as and when they arise.

Annual Meeting of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty

On Monday the 5th December members of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty from around the world came together to reflect on our work in 2022 and develop our work plan for 2023 and beyond. The Global Coalition to End Child Poverty is a global initiative to raise awareness about children living in poverty across the world and support global and national action to alleviate it. Coalition members work together as part of the Coalition, as well as individually, to achieve a world where all children grow up free from poverty, deprivation and exclusion. In 2020 the Bristol Poverty Institute (BPI) were honoured to accept an invitation to join the Coalition, which is co-chaired by UNICEF and Save the Children with 19 other leading organisations in tackling poverty from around the world.

Logos from member organisations
Global Coalition to End Child Poverty member organisations

Having joined the Coalition in early 2020 this was therefore the BPI’s first in-person meeting with our partners from the Coalition due to COVID restrictions in previous years, and we were really excited to finally meet face-to-face and have those more nuanced discussions and informal chats over coffee which online meetings don’t really allow. It was a long day of meetings – from 8:30am to 5:30pm – but it genuinely didn’t feel like it, and that’s a real testament to both the organisers for a well-planned programme, and also all of the participants for keeping the discussion engaging and for sharing so much interesting information as well as ideas for future research and advocacy activities. In the room we had representatives from All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World, Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN), Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Nutrition International, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI), Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), Save the Children and UNICEF, as well as the BPI’s own Director (Professor David Gordon) and Manager (Dr Lauren Winch). We were also joined online by colleagues from Coalition members Arigatou International, African Child Policy Forum, ChildFund International, Eurochild, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), and World Vision.

Photo of meeting attendees

We began by taking stock of members’ activities in 2022, with a key highlight being the publication of a report on Ending Child Poverty: A Policy Agenda, co-authored by representatives from several of the Coalition partners including the BPI. This report was launched on 17 October as part of a wider package of Coalition activities on the annual International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) led by ATD Fourth World. A range of other resources and information was also shared as part of this activity, including some ‘myth cards’ based on previous work done by the BPI Director and colleagues. Coalition members also reported a range of other fantastic activities over the course of the year, including online training on understanding child poverty from PEP, Save the Children’s regional event on social protection in Africa, and work on a Multidimensional Poverty Measurement index from OPHI.

Image of policy report

The rest of the morning was dedicated to presentations and the discussions they inspired in the room. The presentations were:

  • The state of child poverty, Professor David Gordon (Bristol Poverty Institute)
  • Post-covid world: key child poverty themes, Dr Vidya Diwakar and Dr Keetie Roelen (IDS)

These presentations really got the room talking, particularly some of the statistics and evidence shared on child and youth poverty.

Graph showing changing poverty trends


This naturally led on to discussions about what we as a Coalition can do to address these challenges, and what our focus should be for 2023. We explored a range of areas of synergy and identified several key priority areas, which will be announced in due course via the Coalition’s communication channels. Some key areas of interest are around the intersections of climate change and poverty – which the BPI are already in active discussion with Coalition partner Save the Children about – as well as resilience at different levels, links between crisis and social protection, the barriers to effecting policy change, stunting as a manifestation of poverty in children, the potential impacts of universal child benefits, and the importance of good political economy analysis. We will also be working together for the next IDEP in October 2023, and the BPI team have offered the Coalition a session at their next international conference which is tentatively scheduled for autumn 2023. A co-authored Handbook on Child Poverty is also currently in draft, with contributions from several Coalition partners. There are therefore a range of exciting plans in motion, and we are really looking forward to seeing how these develop and how the BPI can contribute in the coming year.

Photo of meeting participants

Photo of meeting participants

We therefore want to extend our thanks again to UNICEF and Save the Children for co-chairing not only this fantastic annual meeting, but for coordinating the coalition throughout the year. Thanks also to Save the Children’s UK office for hosting us in your lovely meeting room, and to all of the collaborators who made the meeting so engaging and productive, and for their work throughout the year. Hopefully together we can make a difference!

Photo of meeting participants


To find out more about the Global Coalition check out the links below

Autism and Homelessness – Increasing autism awareness and improving access and engagement in homelessness services

By Dr Beth Stone

Autism is disproportionately over-represented in homeless populations. However, little is known about how autistic people experience homelessness and how best to support them.

My research examined the factors which increase risk of homelessness for autistic people, autistic people’s experiences of homelessness, and barriers to service engagement. The research found that autistic people are at increased risk of homelessness due to the social and economic disadvantages they face throughout their lives such as low educational attainment, difficulties finding and maintaining employment, and social exclusion. Once homeless, support services were often inaccessible or unsuitable. The impact of autism on day-to-day life was not recognised by housing offices. If participants were found eligible for support they were housed in over-crowded and confrontational hostels which aggravated social anxiety and sensory processing difficulties.

Improving services

Working with two local organisations, Bristol Autism Spectrum Service (BASS) and Golden Key, we created an autism and homelessness working group, with the aim of improving local services for autistic people experiencing homelessness.

I also received an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant to produce a film based on the lived experience of my research participants.

In July, we hosted an event for local stakeholders from homelessness and health services and Bristol City Council.

The event featured:

  • The launch of the film highlighting the experiences of autistic people who have experienced homelessness in the South West of England, followed by a presentation on how autistic people may experience homelessness more generally and barriers to service use (Dr Beth Stone).
  • Presentation of the Autism and Homelessness Toolkit, aimed at improving access to, and engagement with, homelessness services for autistic people (Dr Alasdair Churchard).
  • Autism awareness training provided by Bristol Autism Spectrum Service (BASS).

Discussion in feedback groups indicated ways in which support services planned to adopt autism friendly ways of working into their everyday practice.

View the film launched at the event here.

Next steps

We are putting together a proposal aimed at improving local service provision for autistic people who are experiencing homelessness.

Feedback from discussion groups at the awareness event has helped to shape our proposal, which we will discuss with autistic people with lived experience of homelessness. We will then use the proposal to advocate for wider changes to policy and support services.

Related publications:

Stone, Beth. 2022. “Homelessness as a Product of Social Exclusion: Reinterpreting Autistic Adults’ Narratives through the Lens of Critical Disability Studies.” Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research 24(1), 181–195. DOI:

Stone, B., Cameron, A., Dowling, S. 2022. “The autistic experience of homelessness: Implications from a narrative enquiry”. Autism (1-11), DOI:

This blog post is also available on the School for Policy Studies’ blog.

University of Bristol Partnership with JogOn: Redistributing unwanted trainers to those who need footwear

Author: Olivia Farrell, Sport, Exercise and Health (

Partnership with JogOn 

The University of Bristol’s Sport, Exercise and Health (SEH) team recently launched a partnership with JogOn, an organisation aiming to remove 1 million running shoes from landfill. According to experts, running shoes can take 1000 years to break down in landfill, and many are marketed as only lasting for a few hundred miles. Instead, JogOn redistributes these to people who can benefit from them.

As part of this sustainable initiative, SEH are providing collection points for people to deposit their old shoes across three University sport facilities. All you need to do is tie the pair of shoes together using the shoelaces and drop them into the boxes for collection.

JogOn logo


Where do the shoes go?

  • Some go to charities (e.g. UK based refugee charities)
  • Some to NGOs (targeting poor foot health as a factor in other issues)
  • Some go to 11 microeconomy hubs around the world – where local groups can resell in local economy
  • End-of-life trainers will go for shredding to then be used in other things (pathways, play areas, etc.) – out of the 2000 pairs they have collected, fewer than 12 were unusable for anything else

Photograph of trainers


Where are the collection points?

  • Indoor Sports Centre
  • Coombe Dingle Sports Complex
  • Richmond Building Pool

Photograph of drop-off point for trainers


Bristol Run Series 

Good physical and mental health means knowing what works best for you and building healthy habits into your life. Physical exercise is a proven way to release endorphins and boost your wellbeing.

The Bristol Run Series offers our staff, students and alumni a fun, accessible and affordable way to get into running as part of a community.  Plus, as part of the Run Series, University staff, students and alumni can get discounted entry to the Great Bristol Run on 25 September – sign up here for staff discount. This is also a great opportunity to raise money for a good cause – perhaps one which tackles poverty and inequality – through sponsorship. Last year the Run Series raised over £1800 for their selected charities Healthy Minds and NHS Charities Together, and participants are also welcome to fundraise for a charity of their choice.


For more information, please email:


Bristol Poverty Institute Showcase 2022


On the afternoon of Thursday 30th June 2022, the Bristol Poverty Institute (BPI) brought together friends, colleagues and associates from a range of organisations to showcase, celebrate and explore poverty-relevant research at the University of Bristol and beyond at a Showcase Event held at the Bristol Hotel in central Bristol. This event explored a range of topics including global poverty, the cost-of-living-crisis, decolonising development, multidimensional poverty, (il)licit livelihoods and drugs policies, and social, digital and cultural lives of minoritized older adults. It also highlighted research taking place in a wide range of geographical contexts, from local analyses in Bristol to projects in Somali/Somaliland and Bangladesh, a wider project across several African countries, and poverty on a global scale. The delegate pack – including speaker biographies and talk abstracts – is available on the BPI website, along with slide decks from the presentations and pdfs of the posters displayed at the Showcase.

Photo of the room during presentation

The event began with an introductory talk from Professor Agnes Nairn, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement and Professor of Management, providing a brief introduction to the University of Bristol and our strengths in poverty-relevant research. She also introduced the University’s new Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms Research, which she co-leads. Over the next five years this multidisciplinary Research Centre will seek to build greater understanding and evidence around the growing and diverse impact of gambling harms across Great Britain, drawing upon expertise from a wide range of academics across the University as well as local, national and international collaborators. Agnes provided an overview of the programme for the Showcase, and introduced our fantastic cohort of speakers.

Photographs of the speakers
Top row: Professor Agnes Nairn, Professor David Gordon, Ms Sara Davies
Bottom row: Mr Jamie Evans, Professor Eric Herring, Professor Phil Taylor

Ending World Poverty

We then moved on to a presentation from the founder and Director of the Bristol Poverty Institute, Professor David Gordon, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on Ending World Poverty. David highlighted how evidenced-informed policies will be key to tackling worrying, and escalating, levels of poverty, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. He then shared some staggering statistics on the pandemic, including estimates that COVID has caused around 20million excess deaths and significantly damaged both national and global economies and disproportionally impacted those in poverty. David warned that all of the gains that have been made to tackle extreme poverty in recent decades will have been reversed if current trends continue, noting how pandemics have always done greater harm to the poor and vulnerable. For example, food insecurity in the UK has now doubled since 2018 and is continuing to increase rapidly, and 1 in 5 children are now living in households where people are going hungry. He then went on to outline the ‘Bristol method’ of measuring poverty through multidimensional analysis, highlighting that we will need to better understand the extent and nature of poverty in each country to inform effective policy. He emphasised how poverty is caused primarily by structural factors not by individual behaviour, and ended with a quote from Thomas Paine from 1791 which outlined what we ought to seek to achieve through effective policy and practice.

The slides from this presentation are available via this link.

Photo of slide featuring quote



David’s presentation was followed by a break, where participants were encouraged to engage with the three posters which were on display in the refreshments space:

  • A ‘Poverty-free Model Village’- A pilot project addressing multidimensional poverty in rural Bangladesh, Dr Rabeya Khatoon, Khalil Ahmed, Md. Mizanur Rahman, Md. Shafiqur Rashid, Asim Kumar Sarker and Fatema Ruhee
  • (Il)licit livelihoods in Africa: Drug policy and reproduction of poverty, Dr Lala Ireland, Dr Clemence Rusenga and Dr Gernot Klantschnig
  • Researching with communities at the margins: Exploring lived experiences of social, digital and cultural participation with minoritized older adults, Dr Helen Manchester, Prof. Kirsten Cater, Dr Tot Foster, Dr Paul Clarke, Dr Kirsty Sedgman, Dr Tim Senior, Dr Stuart Gray and Dr Alice Willatt

A pdf of each poster is available to view on the BPI website.

Photograph of three research posters


Tackling the cost of living crisis for low-income UK households

Following the break we recommenced with a joint presentation on the cost of living crisis and the ‘poverty premium’ from Ms Sara Davies and Mr Jamie Evans, who are researchers based in the Personal Finance Research Centre in the School for Geographical Sciences. Jamie kicked things off, highlighting how the number of households in serious difficulties has increased significantly in the last year or so, with over half of households reporting that their finances are worse than they were pre-pandemic. He reported that some groups are more effected than others, with groups such as low-income earners, social renters, single parents, household with disabled person(s) and larger families all more affected than others. Jamie then went on to introduce the key concept of the ‘poverty premium’, whereby the poor are effectively paying more for essential services including food and utilities.

This led onto Sara’s portion of the presentation, which delved into the poverty premium in more detail. She highlighted how many of the suggested solutions to tackling the cost of living crisis weren’t necessarily appropriate for those in poverty. For example, the advice to “shop around” is not practical for those reliant on public transport or accessing supermarkets by foot, and they also do not have the financial flexibility to buy in bulk to save money overall. Sara noted how the market is also penalising people for making the choices which are necessary for them, such as choosing to ‘pay upon receipt’ for their utility bills rather than setting up a direct debit, or taking out payday loans or a high-interest credit card to cover immediate costs. She therefore highlighted how structural circumstances has a bigger impact than choice, and indeed how people do not always have access to that choice anyway. For example, pre-payment meters for electricity, which are more common in lower income homes, are actually more expensive with a higher standing charge than other electricity meters, so even with minimal use bills can be unaffordable. Sara therefore summarised that the poverty premium represents a mismatch between the needs and circumstances of low-income households and the markets that serve them. She additionally highlighted how there are big regional differences in how poverty premiums are incurred, which in many ways reflects the geographical distribution of poverty. Examples included the fact that fee-paying ATMs are more common in poorer areas than wealthier ones, and the fact that car insurance premiums tend to be higher in deprived rural areas. and She therefore concluded by sharing her hope that there would be impetus and opportunity through the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda to address some of these inequalities.

The slides from this presentation are available via this link.

Map showing geographical inequalities


Decolonising Development: Academics, Practitioners and Collaboration

The final presentation came from Professor Eric Herring, a Professor of World Politics in the School for Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). This talk was entitled Decolonising Development and explored how academics and practitioners around the world can collaborate in an equitable way, identifying and challenges some of the colonial legacies in development research. Eric framed this talk in the context of his own journey into collaborative work with partners in Somali and Somaliland, which are effectively separate entities but technically one country and is therefore particularly complex. He highlighted how this is one of the poorest countries in the world which is currently experiencing an enormous humanitarian emergency, with around half of its population needing urgent assistance right now and high potential for widespread famine. Eric introduced how bow Somali and Somaliland are pioneers in ‘mobile money’, which has replaced formal banking in the region with even relatively poor people using mobile phones for their money management. He revealed that the global aid industry has, surprisingly, never engaged with these companies despite their great success, not only persisting through challenging times including civil war and operating effectively in a complex clan-based society, but also managing to be an equal opportunities employer. Eric has therefore been trying to connect the companies and local researchers who work with them with people who may learn from them, but has encountered several challenges along the way. This includes, for example, the fact that many academics in Somali/Somaliland do not have PhDs or publish in peer-reviewed journals, and are therefore not seen as an appealing partner for international academics and they cannot compete with ‘powerhouse’ institutions in neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Uganda. Additional challenges include the insecurity of the region, the fact they are experiencing an extreme humanitarian emergency, huge rates of illiteracy, and a university system with next to no research capacity. He therefore highlighted how decolonising processes therefore requires a deep understand of the context and how to operate there. He went on to provide a case study from his own work with Somali First – a  joint initiative between Somali social enterprise Transparency Solutions and the University of Bristol – which promotes Somali-led development. He expressed gratitude to the University of Bristol for being willing to take a risk and get behind this initiative from the early stages and agreeing to a formalised strategic partnership. Eric concluded by highlighting the fact that practices and perceptions from the colonial period are still embedded in a lot of development work – including in the use of colonial languages such as English in research – and that identifying colonial legacies and actually doing things differently will be key to achieving positive change with a renewed focus on co-production.

The slides from this presentation are available via this link.

Slide listing recommendations for improved practices

Closing remarks

The Bristol Poverty Institute Showcase was brought to completion with closing remarks from the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Professor Phil Taylor. He provided a summary of the talks and posters presented at the Showcase, and also reflected on some other topical issues around poverty in his own field. In particular, he noted that there are an estimated 6.5million people in the UK currently in fuel poverty, and with the upcoming further price cap rise in the autumn this is only going to get worse. Phil therefore outlined ambitions to work with the Bristol Poverty Institute and external partners on tackling issues at the nexus between health, climate change and fuel poverty. In closing the event Phil thanked the speakers, poster authors, organisers and attendees for their fantastic contributions to the showcase event, and encouraged everyone to stick around and continue the conversation at the drinks reception.


Photo of attendees mingling


Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our first in-person event in over two years – we hope you enjoyed it, and that we get to meet again soon!

The presentation slides, speaker biographies and abstracts, and pdfs of the posters are all available on the BPI website.