Folasade Akintola

Research Associate

Folasade is a researcher with a particular interest in community engagement and passion for social impact. At IVAR she has conducted several participant interviews as part of the Open & Trusting Grant making project. 

Previous work: Folasade has over 5 years of frontline expertise working with marginalised communities across homelessness, advice and mental health projects. As an alumnus of TenYearsTime’s 2027 scheme, Folasade’s experience in grant making has centred around championing lived experience within the sector, engaging with grass roots organisations and local charitable trusts and foundations.  

Other interests: Folasade is also passionate about mental health and is currently study a diploma in counselling skills.  

David Warner

Research Associate

Previous Work: David is an experienced civil society leader, committed to collaborative action and finding creative solutions for social change. Over 30 years operating as a creative strategic leader with a wide range of management and influencing skills, including 18 years experience as chief executive and eight years as a senior consultant in civil society, working with funders, investors, front-line organisations and communities.

Other Interests: David is co-director of S2LR Ltd, a consultancy specialising in strategic social action and philanthropy. When not working, he enjoys walking the dog on the beach and the moors, reading, cricket, art, theatre, jazz (and other music), eating, cooking & helping make a difference in his local community. He is Chair of Local Trust, a trustee of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in his adopted home town of Scarborough, a trustee of CaVCA, the community development agency for the east of North Yorkshire, and of Toynbee Hall in East London.

Richard Jenkins

Research Associate

Biography coming soon
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Gilly Green

Research Associate

Gilly has over 30 years experience in grant-making and the voluntary sector. Gilly is an experienced senior manager and as UK Director of Comic Relief for over 15 years until 2018, she oversaw the strategic direction of funding, managing an annual budget of about £40m. Gilly has developed responsive, devolved, participatory and proactive grant-making programmes.  Her experience in a high profile charity with significant public engagement has fine-tuned her skills in reach, communications and risk management. Gilly has many years experience of collaborative working, especially with Trusts and Foundations. Having now established her own consultancy business, Gilly undertakes strategic reviews, programme development, facilitation and organisational reviews. She also undertakes regular grants assessments for the City Bridge Trust to ensure a direct continued connection with the voluntary sector. Gilly also works regularly as an Independent consultant for the Kings Fund, managing the Cascading Leadership programme, a distinctive peer-to-peer leadership programme for the VCS. Gilly has been an associate at IVAR since 2018.

Other interests

Gilly is a Trustee of Rosa, the UK’s only Women’s Fund and is  a founding trustee of Tonic Living – a fresh approach to older LGBT  housing and care. Gilly was awarded an OBE for services to tackling Domestic Violence in 2007.  She has a particular interest in refugees and migration and is a long-time foster parent to an unaccompanied minor from east Africa.

Heather Petch

Research Associate

Heather Petch has over 30 years experience in the public and voluntary sectors including roles in housing, homelessness, community and advice projects. She has held two chief executive roles: Girls Alone Project, which accommodated and supported 50 young women; and, latterly, HACT, the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust which developed and tested community-based and supported housing solutions.

Since 2011, Heather has been working as a freelance consultant and facilitator with housing associations, supported housing, and community-based organisations, as well as charitable trusts and foundations. She undertakes evaluations, provides interim management and advises on and facilitates organisational change and strategic development.  Recent assignments have included: interim chief executive at the Building and Social Housing Foundation (now World Habitat); supporting the merger of LIFT and Crisis to form Crisis Brent; and interim management of economic justice and migration programmes at Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Chris Mills

Research Associate

Chris has experience of grant-making, programme evaluation, governance and financial management. At IVAR, he has worked on a range of strategic reviews and programme evaluation projects for grant- making trusts. Chris has a particular interest in how grant-making trusts can improve their processes and practices.

Previous work: As a former chartered accountant, Chris has worked in the charity sector in both financial and general management roles. He also has experience working for grant-making trusts, which includes leading the Racing Foundation in its formative years. He has a Masters degree in Voluntary and Community Sector Studies from Birkbeck, University of London.

Other interests: Chris is currently undertaking a PhD on volunteering in sport.

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Marilyn Taylor

Visiting Research Fellow

Her work with IVAR has mainly focussed on Big Local and place-based funding, and she was also involved, independently, as a learning advisor for the Community Organisers Programme.

Previous work: Marilyn has been carrying out research in the voluntary sector for many years, first from within the sector at the Community Development Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and then, until 2009, as an academic at the Universities of Bristol, Brighton and the West of England. Publications include “Public Policy in the Community” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and (with Alison Gilchrist) “The Short Guide to Community Development”, now revised for a second edition with Policy Press (2016).

Other interests: Marilyn is a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is also Chair of the Research Advisory Group for NCVO, serves on the Editorial Boards of the Community Development Journal and Voluntas, and is a trustee of Involve.

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Richard Usher

Research Associate

Richard’s work with IVAR has focused on the role of community-based organisations in achieving social change. He has particular expertise around community engagement; recruitment and management of volunteers; and partnership working between local authorities and the NHS.

Previous work: Richard’s experience in a range of senior roles within national and local voluntary sector organisations informs his practical and problem-solving based approach to research. His professional experience is underpinned by an MA in Anthropology of Development, an international perspective that informs his work and interest in sustainable development.

Other interests: Since 2008, his work as an independent consultant and Director of Just Ideas Sustainable Solutions Ltd. has focused on research and evaluation in the voluntary sector particularly examining outcomes frameworks for community organisations, formative evaluation processes and participatory approaches to evaluation and learning.

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Rebecca Moran

Research Associate

Rebecca is a published researcher with a Masters in Research Methods from Nottingham University. She has considerable experience in combining qualitative and quantitative research methods notably in a portfolio of survey work that she has led at IVAR.

Previous work: Over the past seven years, she has carried out primary research and literature reviews to support work on community assets, collaboration, capacity building and social investment as well as the governance of small organisations.

Other interests: Rebecca is currently undertaking a review for a regional third sector infrastructure organisation about the way they collect and make best use of data. She also volunteers for a children’s charity, helping to organise monthly, running-based activities that inspire healthier, happier and more confident children.

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Miranda Lewis

Research Associate

As an IVAR Associate, Miranda has worked on a number of evaluations, including CollaborationNI, Clore Social Leadership, the Atlantic Philanthropies learning partnership and Detention Action’s litigation on the Detained Fast Track initiative.

Previous work: She has worked in the voluntary sector since 1998. Previously Miranda was Associate Director and Head of Qualitative Research at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank, where she led work on understanding public attitudes to policy change and was head of IPPR’s flagship programme on the role of government and public behaviour change. Miranda published widely at IPPR and as media spokesperson regularly appeared on most news channels. Before IPPR, Miranda worked in Voluntary Service Overseas’ advocacy team for several years, working on policy and campaigns on HIV.

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