Research team

Meet the research team

Jay Kennedy

Director of Policy and Research

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Jay Kennedy is DSC’s Director of Policy and Research and has overall responsibility for DSC’s policy, campaigns and research. He leads the team that researches funding information for DSC’s well-known funding guides and websites.

Jay has held a number of different roles since joining DSC in 2003, including researching government funding for charities, project managing one of DSC’s fundraising websites, and acting as a policy officer and media spokesperson. Jay often represents DSC at various forums, networks and events.

Stuart Cole

Research Development Manager

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Stuart specialises in Armed Forces charities and heads DSC’s research in this area, which is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust. He has co-authored ten reports on the subject, including the definitive analysis, Sector Insight. Stuart is also the winner of the 2021 FiMT Research Award for his work in this field, which has been cited at government level.

As Research Development Manager, Stuart provides research and consultancy to inform policy and practice in the charity sector. He also manages the research team behind DSC's funding guides. Before joining DSC in 2015, Stuart worked in public health research, working on projects in partnership with the World Health Organization and the NHS.

Stuart holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology and Sociology, an MSc in Applied Psychology, and a PGCE in Psychology. He is a qualified teacher and taught for five years before moving into applied research.

Tom Traynor

Head of Research

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Since joining DSC in 2001, Tom has researched and authored numerous publications and reports including the Guide to Major Trusts, the Directory of Grant Making Trusts, the Funders’ Almanac and Sector Insight: UK Grant-making Trusts and Foundations. He previously led DSC’s Research Team in the delivery of our core research projects, guides, directories and funding websites which provide details of thousands of funders to voluntary sector organisations looking for funding to support their cause.

As Head of Research he is responsible for delivering DSC’s research strategy, developing research partnerships with funders and other research organisations and leads our Sector Insight and bespoke research projects.

He has a BA (Hons) in Literature and Media and Cultural Studies from Liverpool John Moores University and an MA in Research Methods in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Liverpool; he has been a trustee of a local arts organisation, has volunteered for an educational charity and a community media project and has also been a grants assessor for a community foundation. He has a keen interest in trusts and foundations, philanthropy and social policy and has written and commented on a range of voluntary sector issues over the past 14 years.

Dean Renshaw

Senior Researcher

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Dean joined DSC in May 2019 as a senior researcher and works on commissioned research such as the Deep Dive on health and wellbeing with the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to investigate the health and wellbeing needs of the ex-Service community.

Prior to joining DSC, Dean worked in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), where he specialised in using consumer data in order to find out what products consumers liked and how they could be improved. Dean has completed a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at The University of Sheffield.

Dean’s interests in the charity sector include support for people with mental health problems and community garden projects.

Rhiannon Doherty

Senior Researcher

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Rhiannon joined DSC in February 2017 and is currently working on DSC’s Armed Forces Charities research. She is also focusing on developing a communications and social media strategy for the project.

Rhiannon has completed a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Communications and an MA in Politics and Mass Media at The University of Liverpool.

Prior to joining DSC, she volunteered for range of charities, including NDCS and Oxfam.

Ian Pembridge

Senior Researcher

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Ian joined DSC in as a volunteer in April 2014 before becoming a full-time member of the team later that year, and he has worked on several publications including the Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need, the Guide to Company Giving and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts. He has also been involved in a variety of other research projects including the Sector Insight: UK Grant-Making Trusts and Foundations and Armed Forces Charities reports.

He currently splits his time between working on DSC publications and managing the governmentfunding.org.uk website, which brings together information on sources of regional, national and European government funding. His main responsibilities are keeping the website up-to-date, researching new funding opportunities and acting as a main point of contact for both funders and subscribers.

He has a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Business from the University of Liverpool and has over five years’ experience working in the financial services industry. He has also volunteered at Wirral CVS where he was responsible for finding suitable opportunities for volunteers. His current areas of interest are social investment, corporate foundations and European funding.

Jessica Threlfall

Researcher

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Jessica joined DSC in August 2019, and will be contributing to our publications and funding websites.

Before joining DSC as part of the Research Team, Jessica graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Lancaster University. During this time she completed numerous projects using a wide variety of research methods.

Jessica has volunteered for a number of charities before and during her time at university including Southport and Formby Special Athletes where she was responsible for running sports coaching sessions for adults with learning difficulties.

Chester Howarth

Researcher

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Chester joined DSC in 2020 as a Researcher on DSC’s Armed Forces Charities research project.

He contributes to the research and writing of the Focus on: Armed Forces Charities series.

Chester’s favourite thing about working at DSC is undertaking data analysis and knowing it makes a positive difference to the ability of charities to help others.

Abi O'Loughlin

Researcher

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Abi joined DSC in August 2020 and works on DSC’s funding website and guides.

Abi’s favourite thing about working at DSC is helping to make funding more accessible to charities.

Muna Farah

Researcher

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Muna joined DSC in May 2021 and works on DSC’s funding website and guides.

Muna’s favourite thing about working for DSC is working with hard-working likeminded people to make funding more accessible to charities.