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Award-winning collaboration with an inspirational charity

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Full website rebuild for Bristol Children’s Hospital’s charity, The Grand Appeal


Bristol Children’s Hospital’s dedicated charity, The Grand Appeal, needed a WordPress site with improved user journeys to enable website visitors to donate, fundraise and give support easily.

The website is a critical part of the charity’s income stream, helping them support a hospital that cares for 100k+ patients each year.

Screenshot of The Grand Appeal WordPress site set in front of a branded background

What the client wanted

  • Refreshed design to better represent the charity, tell its story effectively, improve engagement and create a visual representation of the brand mission and values
  • Stronger representation of brand extensions Cots for Tots and Gromit Unleashed
  • User experience improvements such as clean, simple, easy user journeys and improved navigation
  • Development work providing more flexibility and functionality with an emphasis on performance and optimisation
  • Usability improvements for the back-end of the website to give staff freedom and confidence when using and updating it

About The Grand Appeal, the official charity of Bristol Children’s Hospital

As the official charity of Bristol Children’s Hospital, which cares for 100k+ patients each year, The Grand Appeal has been helping save lives and support families since 1995.

Funds raised go towards providing families of critically ill children with accommodation while their child is in hospital, and financing cutting edge, innovative medical research.

It also provides the funds for state-of-the-art, life saving equipment, and works with Bristol Children’s Hospital to ensure that treatment wards are a comfortable and comforting place for patients and their families.

Screenshot from WordPress donation page for case study on our award-winning collaboration with an inspirational charity The Grand Appeal

Challenges: Building a new online presence 

Representing the full range of The Grand Appeal’s fundraising

The Grand Appeal wanted to bridge the gaps between different aspects of their fundraising and identity.

There are so many parts to our charity. It is really multifaceted and it’s been hard to get that across to our visitors. Some people still don’t understand that Gromit Unleashed trails have anything to do with us. We needed a website that bridged all the gaps between Cots for Tots, The Grand Appeal and Gromit Unleashed.

Chloe A Smith, Marketing Officer, The Grand Appeal

Pulling together the various aspects of The Grand Appeal’s fundraising, and making some of their support services digital was also important.

The main website had to become a hub. We needed to bring all parts of The Grand Appeal into one online presence.

Chloe A Smith, Marketing Officer, The Grand Appeal

Mapping out new user journeys and improving navigation for web visitors

We brought the various aspects of the charity’s work together on the homepage, with a focus on clarity and user experience, making it easier for visitors to interact with the site and find what they’re looking for.

By doing so, we could integrate all of the different individual strands of the charity’s work and include fundraising links and initiatives.

WooCommerce strategist, Piers tincknell, faces camera wearing red jacket and blue shirt

Put your audience on the right path

Reduce user frustration and improve conversions by helping your website visitors get where they want to go. Talk to us about improving user journeys and navigation: email

Building an interactive Star Tribute Sky

A gratifying part of the site to work on was the new Star Tribute Sky, the digital version of the physical Star Tribute Wall in Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Star Tribute Funds give grieving families the opportunity to reflect and remember their loved ones, keep memories alive and raise money in their names.

Screenshot from Star Tribute Sky for case study on our award-winning collaboration with an inspirational charity The Grand Appeal

The Star Tribute Sky is a beautiful, interactive space where families can light virtual candles, and add photos, videos and memories.

We’ve wanted a virtual Star Tribute Sky for so long. It’s been a really beautiful project to work on, and I know that we and Atomic Smash have already received such amazing feedback. It’s not just a website that Atomic Smash has delivered, it’s like this whole hub for people that have lost a child and I think that is far more than we could have hoped for.

Chloe A Smith Marketing Officer at The Grand Appeal

How a new website empowered The Grand Appeal’s communications team

Improving back-end usability to give freedom and control

The new Grand Appeal website was built using WordPress, giving the charity the flexibility and control they needed but had been missing.

We were on a non-WordPress website at the time and we knew we needed to move to WordPress to have better functionality and also the ability to edit and update anything we wanted.

Chloe H Smith, Communications Officer, The Grand Appeal

Building in new ways of working through close collaboration

On this project, working collaboratively took on a new meaning due to the restrictions imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project has actually given us new ways of working as well. It’s been a great example of how to have really focused project meetings versus just generalised catch-ups. So apart from an amazing new website, it’s given us a lot internally.

Chloe H Smith, Communications Officer, The Grand Appeal

Weekly check-ins on a Monday morning, regular follow ups, and collaborating across digital tools and platforms for planning and organisation formed various touch points that connected our organisations together.

It was comforting in a way to know that there was always a Monday call. Even if it was just checking in, it was really nice and it fostered a really good relationship between both the organisations.

Chloe H Smith, Communications Officer, The Grand Appeal

Visit The Grand Appeal’s website

What we achieved

Improved UX helping fulfil user intentions quickly, such as making donations, subscribing to the newsletter or signing up for events

Colour themes to characterise sections for specific activities or brand extensions to help differentiate these visually

Highly flexible build using Gutenberg, including a Gutenberg block-based homepage that can pull in related content blocks

Filterable events section and flexible calls to action to provide more opportunities for the public get involved

Emphasis on performance and optimisation including Core Web Vitals, pre-loading fonts and back-end image optimisation

Interactive night sky built with an SVG animation of moving stars for the Star Tribute Fund

The last word

We view this as an ongoing project, we want to continue to improve and invest in the site. The communication is incredible. From the first meeting with Piers, I felt like we could trust Atomic Smash to produce an incredible website, which they did.

Chloe A Smith Marketing Officer for The Grand Appeal

Change is good

Looking for a new digital partner? Let’s find out if we’re a good match: email