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Tim Jones

Tim has been a trustee since 2006. He met Ben Cairns when they were both serving as governors at their children’s primary school. Tim is a Chartered Accountant and he works currently as Finance Director for Oxford Computer Group.     Previous work   He has worked in a number of positions over his career, ranging from senior positions at British Telecom, to being the Treasurer of an Oxford College – very different propositions in terms of size, scale and governance, in fact in almost every respect!     Other interests   Tim works in a number of voluntary positions. He remains a school governor, and has been Treasurer and Trustee for both Oxford Youth Choir and Oxford University Rugby Football Club. He enjoys cycling and wishes he could spend more time skiing.

Sam Brier

Sam is the Chair of IVAR’s Board of Trustees.

Sam has led the development of the Partnership Improvement Programme and been a facilitator of the Building Health Partnerships and the Health and Social Value programmes, as well as the strategic review work with organisations funded by the Tudor Trust and Lankelly Chase.    
Sam was chief executive of Kids, a national charity for disabled children, for seven years. Prior to that he was executive director of Norwood, a charity providing services to children and adults with learning disabilities.     He has a Masters degree in Public and Social Administration and a PhD in strategic decision-making in voluntary organisations.

Leila Baker

Leila was the Head of Research at IVAR for almost 10 years. She oversaw a portfolio of research and evaluation and led studies for the Big Lottery Fund, Charity Commission and the Child Sexual Exploitation Funders Alliance. She is particularly interested in small community-based organisations and has carried out research into their contribution to social change, their advocacy role and their experience of social finance. Over the past few years, Leila has developed learning partnerships with a number of voluntary organisations that are breaking new ground in their field and want to use research, evaluation and facilitation to help them learn and adapt their work. Recently created learning partnerships are with Commonweal Housing and Parents 1st.

Previous work

Leila is an experienced researcher and evaluator who has been working in the voluntary sector for twenty years, starting out as a volunteer in homelessness hostels in London and Oxford and later managing and commissioning research you for Shelter. Leila has worked as a volunteer, practitioner and trustee as well as researcher with a wide variety of small voluntary and community organisations, local authorities and housing associations as well as national charities and think tanks.

Other interests

She co-designs and delivers the Research into Practice course for doctoral students at the Institute of Education and is Chair of Waltham Forest Citizens Advice.

Katie Turner

Katie is an experienced researcher and project manager with a background in designing and implementing advocacy campaigns for UK, international and overseas voluntary and community sector organisations. She has a particular interest in practice learning on the application of participatory action research methods and has contributed to a range of academic and sector publications on this topic.

Previous work
Before joining IVAR, Katie’s work included project managing a multi-country action research study on volunteering with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and a range of advocacy and communications roles, including extensive work with voluntary, community and disability sector organisations in the UK and overseas.

Katie has a Masters in Social Research from Birkbeck, University of London.

Other interests
Katie is not very good at sitting still and, outside of IVAR, spends her time running on the pavements of London, hiking up mountains and kayaking on the nearest available body of water. She is also a trustee of New Charlton Community Association.

Houda Davis

Houda is a researcher with experience of working in the fields of public participation and community engagement.    
Previous work  
Before joining IVAR, Houda held research, communications and policy roles at Involve, a think-tank and charity specialising in public participation, and Public-i, a digital engagement company. She has worked with statutory organisations on programmes to improve public engagement in local and national policy making, health and social care, and science and technology research. Most recently, Houda worked on a national programme aiming to give citizens a say in NHS decision making, where she led on outreach and relationship building with community and voluntary organisations.    

Other interests  
Houda is interested in how voluntary sector organisations work with statutory organisations. In particular, she is interested in how research can support the voices of service users, communities, and citizens in the design and delivery of welfare services.  When not at work, Houda is happiest in her garden, at her new sewing machine or cycling in the South Downs.

Eliza Buckley

Eliza oversees the delivery and quality of IVAR’s research portfolio and leads development of new work. She is a highly experienced and skilled researcher with 15 years’ experience in research, evaluation, project management in the voluntary and independent funding sectors. 


Eliza works across IVAR’s research and evaluation portfolio but is particularly interested in the role and responsibility of independent charitable funders. Her work in this area includes: Beyond Money Duty of Care; and research on Place-based funding approaches.

Previous Work
She previously held research, communications and policy roles at organisations including the National Children’s Bureau Research Centre (leading research on care experienced young people), Child Poverty Action Group and the National Literacy Trust.

Other interests
In her spare time, Eliza is a practicing artist and occasionally uses her reflexology training to treat friends and family!

Diana Wray

Previous work  
Before joining IVAR she worked as Office Manager for the Inland Waterways Advisory Council (IWAC), a Non-Departmental Government Body, which advised Government, navigation authorities and others about the use and development of the inland waterways, prior to them becoming a charitable trust.     She has also worked for the BBC, the Royal Air Force Museum, in publishing, for an internet company, the General Optical Council (the regulatory body for opticians) and the Pensions Management Institute (the educational and professional body for those working in pensions).    

Other interests  
Diana is a chartered librarian, and has used her information management skills throughout her varied career.

Richard Usher

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. These are organisations working to support marginalised people dealing with complex needs: homelessness, disability and social exclusion.

Rebecca Moran

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.

Niamh Goggin

As an IVAR associate, she has worked on the Charities and Social Investment study for the Charity Commission of England and Wales and a reflective review of the development of the Foundry, for the Centre for Social Justice and Human Rights. She is currently working on a follow-up study of the experience of small and medium-sized charities with social investment funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Access – the Social Investment Foundation.

Previous work

Niamh Goggin has worked in social finance, social enterprise and social impact in the UK, Ireland, Europe and Central America since 1991. She started work in social finance in a microfinance organisation in El Salvador. She went on to establish the UK’s first stand-alone microfinance organisation in Northern Ireland and was the first Chair of the UK Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) and Secretary of the European Microfinance Network.

Other interests

She also works as Social Investment Advisor to Big Local and Expert Advisor to Barclays’ Credit Union Development Programme.