Meet the team

The Research Team at the Directory of Social Change (DSC)


Our team of researchers source, edit and publish all of the information available across DSC’s family of funding websites:,, and

This includes details on grant-making trusts and foundations, corporates, statutory funding sources, welfare and educational grants to individuals, and commentary on funding policy and practices and news items of relevance to our subscribers.

Their work involves a significant amount of direct contact with funders through emails and telephone calls as well as major surveys, which means they are able to provide the up-to-date and unique information that is most relevant to fundraisers. It's this approach that enables us to provide information such as application rates and awards figures - vital information that you will only find on DSC funding websites.

All of our researchers have strong research backgrounds, as well as a wide range of voluntary sector experience, and many of them have direct experience of applying for and securing funding which gives them a really clear and practical understanding of the challenges our subscribers face in looking for funds. For more on the specific roles, interests and specialist areas of our researchers, see their profiles below.

Denise Lillya

Research Manager

Denise joined DSC as a Senior Researcher in 2006 and concentrated her efforts on writing publications which help potential applicants to apply for funding from grant-makers and the corporate world. the author of the Guide to UK Company Giving, the Youth Funding Guide and the Environmental Funding Guide and has co-authored many more.

As Research Manager she is responsible for leading the research team and the delivery of DSC’s funding publications. She is also the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

Denise worked for the Charity Commission for over fifteen years, much of that time spent in its Registration division as a senior case worker and manager. It was her time at the Commission, registering or rejecting applications and working with the Commission’s in-house lawyers, that she developed her knowledge and skills with regard to the governance and development of charities, and the duties and responsibilities of charity trustees. She has also worked at the BIG Lottery Fund (then NLCB), and has been volunteering in various capacities since 1988 as a trustee for a CAB, an LGBT group and a village hall. She has been a Samaritan telephone worker and volunteer development worker for a CVS and has a strong belief in and commitment to the voluntary sector.

Jennifer Reynolds

Senior Researcher

Jenny joined DSC in March 2014 and has contributed to DSC’s fundraising guides and helps to maintain our funding websites. Jenny has co-authored popular titles such as the Guide to UK Company Giving, the Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need and the Guide to New Trusts.

During her time as a student at the University of Liverpool – where she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Economic and Social History – she volunteered with a number of local charities, which is where her passion to make a positive difference in the world began.

Rachel Cain


Rachel joined DSC in 2015 and contributes to DSC’s publications and funding websites. She is co-author of the Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need 2016/17 and the Guide to New Trusts 2016/17. She also contributes to policy work and campaigns.

Rachel also has voluntary experience with a number of third sector organisations, ranging from a community development charity in London to a befriending service in Denmark.

She has a BA (Hons) in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, where she successfully campaigned for the Living Wage and was also elected as a Charities Officer. Before joining DSC she worked for an MP, setting up a project with local schools and assisting community groups with funding applications. She is particularly interested in policy and social welfare.

Carly Hobson


Carly joined DSC in February 2016. She has worked and volunteered in the charity sector over the past ten years in fundraising, community work and campaigning. As a fundraiser she made applications to grant making trusts and the Big Lottery for a charity supporting people with learning disabilities. Carly has more recently worked as an advocate and volunteer manager for a health and social care charity.

Carly has a BA (Hons) in Literature from Liverpool John Moores University and an MA in Social Change from the University of Leeds. Carly spent some time volunteering in a Penan school in Borneo, which later led to her MA action research dissertation working on a campaign supporting the Penan’s rights to their land with the charity Survival International. She has previously also volunteered with asylum seeker and refugee support groups, a charity supporting children in Nigeria and on environmental projects. She is currently involved in setting up an eco housing co-operative and has a keen interest in the voluntary sector.

Jodie Huyton


Jodie joined DSC in 2015 and is focusing on researching charities that provide funding for educational purposes. She is currently working on the Guide to Educational Grants and our subscription websites.

Jodie has a BA in Sociology and a postgraduate certificate in research. During her postgraduate studies she researched the impact and implementation of post-1979 policies on academia and intellectuals. Whilst undertaking her postgraduate course she explored a wide range of research methodologies and became interested in the research sector environment. After graduating university she worked for a housing association for three years before decided to fulfil her ambitions and interests in research within the voluntary sector.

Ian Pembridge


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 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.

Stuart Cole

Senior Researcher

Stuart joined in 2015 and primarily produces bespoke research, analysis and reports for armed forces charities such as Cobseo and Forces in Mind Trust and Combat Stress.

Before joining DSC, Stuart worked in public health research at Liverpool John Moores University. While at LJMU, he worked on projects such as a systematic review of violence primary prevention research, in partnership with the World Health Organisation and on a project exploring alcohol consumption in the UK population, funded by the charity Alcohol Research UK. He was also an Analyst on a project in partnership with the NHS, examining data relating to trauma, injury and alcohol related harm from A&E departments in North West England.

His research interests include exploring the charitable provision for mental and physical health for the UK veteran population; examining the wider UK Armed Forces charity sector; and the application of research methodologies to measure and evaluate charity sector projects for both stakeholders and service users. Stuart is also interested in psychological and social influences on charitable giving and behaviour.

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 worked for five years as a Psychology Lecturer at a number of FE colleges and schools before moving into applied research.