VSSN is run largely by an elected Steering Group and Associates, mostly through voluntary effort, helped by a part-time Executive Officer.

Main contact

Meg Wright, Executive Officer
Address: VSSN Office, Foil Cottage, Aberfoyle. FK8 3XF


Our Trustees (a.k.a. Steering Group members) and their particular areas of responsibility are as follows:-

Karin Y. Biermann (she/her), University of Klagenfurt

I am a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. The central theme of my dissertation is volunteering by professionals, in particular, qualified accountants. Consequently, the project spans the types of volunteering they undertake, the social and professional expectations of providing a public service voluntarily, and the institutions and organisations involved. As a Fellow of CPA Australia, an international accounting body, perhaps unsurprising,  I act as Treasurer on the VSSN Board and may be contacted at


Stephen Craker,  CEO at Communities 1st.

I am dedicated to contributing to the growth of individuals and organisations through sharing knowledge, promoting best practices, creating opportunities and leading effective change. I have a passion of enabling organisations to live up to their potential and has a clear social ethos in high pressure/commercially sensitive environments through an ethical and outcomes driven approach. As a trustee at VSSN I am leading on communications.

Communities 1st supports c1,200 voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations in local communities, of place and interest, to develop and achieve positive social change across the East of England and Midlands. It also delivers a range of front-line service delivery across the East of England.


Christopher Damm, Research Fellow at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University University (Web officer, Secretary)

My academic interests primarily concern the role of the Voluntary Sector in the provision of welfare services in the UK. This includes the impact of state funding on charities, their role within the employment services field, and theory relating to their role as service providers. I have particular expertise in the use of charity data across a number of projects. Much of my work involves quantitative data and I have advanced skills in data management, analysis, and visualisation. Outside of research I enjoy spending time outdoors, climbing, cycling, and running.

As a trustee of VSSN for several years, I’ve had responsibility for developing the website, as well as acting as the official secretary.


Jon Dean, Associate Professor in Politics and Sociology, Sheffield Hallam University

I am currently Chair of VSSN, and take the lead on organisation of the network, building links to partners, and putting together our annual research conference. My research focuses on volunteering and inequalities within the charity sector, with a wider interest in innovations in qualitative methods, and applying ideas from social theory. In my spare time I’m trying to figure out how to be a gardener here in Sheffield, and try to get to the theatre as much as possible. You can follow me on Twitter @JonDeanStuff, or check out my books at Policy Press.


Jurgen Grotz , Director of the Institute of Volunteering Research, University of East Anglia

I am  a Senior Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia and the Director of the Institute of Volunteering Research there. Born in Germany in 1963, he received an MA in 1992 for work on disability in China, and a PhD in 1996 from the University of London for work on Chinese Braille. I am an academic and practitioner with 25 years’ experience of applied research, working with voluntary associations and volunteer-involving organisations, with a strong focus on participative approaches. As Director of the Institute for Volunteering Research based at the University of East Anglia, I am now in a position to support actively the endeavours of VSSN, in particular by promoting understanding of the UK voluntary sector through research and by providing a voice and a meeting place for voluntary sector researchers in the UK. I am especially interested in helping to support early career researchers and also co-developing scientifically robust ways to show the difference volunteering and volunteering research make, extending VSSN’s reach both nationally and internationally.


Carol Jacklin-Jarvis, Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership, The Open University.

My research adopts the lens of contemporary leadership theories and applies them in the particular contexts of the voluntary sector and of cross-sector collaboration. I am involved in projects exploring ethics and leadership, leadership development, digital leadership and the voluntary sector contribution to place leadership. I adopt qualitative research methodologies and am particularly interested in taking an engaged approach to research that builds partnership between academics and practitioners.
I previously worked in third sector infrastructure organisations and project development and strategy roles in local government. Beyond my working life, I am involved in developing local community projects and enjoy volunteering at community events.

I have benefited from being a member of VSSN throughout my research journey and am happy to contribute to the future of voluntary sector studies as a VSSN trustee.  I am currently acting as co-vice chair with Vita Terry. I can be contacted at


Daiga Kamerade, University of Salford

I work as an employment researcher with a particular interest in volunteering and third sector employment. Particular interests include inequalities in volunteering, volunteering and employability and wellbeing, as well as future of work. She specialises in quantitative methods and the use of large national and cross-national surveys. I have a PhD from the University of Cambridge and am a Reader in Work and Wellbeing and the Lead of Connected Lives and Diverse Realities Research Group at the University of Salford. I am also a co-editor of the Voluntary Sector Review.


Diarmuid McDonnell, Third Sector Research Centre, Unversity of Birmingham

I am a Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham. My research examines the following topics relating to the voluntary sector: measuring and modelling risk; evaluating regulatory initiatives; understanding accountability incentives; constructing and tracking income profiles; and measuring mission completion. My methodological interests in the use of administrative data for social science research, data science, and policy evaluation methods.


Amy Sanders, Aberystwyth University

I am a Research Associate in Wales Institute of Social and Economic Data (WISERD) and the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society (CWPS) in Aberystwyth University. My research interests lie in the intersections between equalities matters and the voluntary sector, as well as the relationship between the voluntary sector and government. I have primarily researched these in the context of Welsh civil society. I am also interested in advancing approaches which ensure research has policy impact. I am currently working on research projects that form part of the ESRC funded WISERD Civil Society Centre. Thus, I am researching privilege and elite volunteering roles in one research project and also populism and polarisation as it manifests itself in local civil society in a second project. A third project is concerned with the changing transnational repertoires of action that civil society use to exert influence. Prior to my research career, I worked for over 16 years within the Welsh third sector and cooperative movement in projects that partnered with the public sector to promote civic participation and address inequality.


Vita Terry, Principal Researcher at The Institute for Voluntary Action and currently Co-Vice Chair at Voscur, an infrastructure organisation in Bristol.

My research interests are on the role of the voluntary sector delivering public service provision, especially small and medium sized organisations, organisational behaviour, community participation and empowerment, and local level systems change. I enjoy adopting different qualitative methods to co-produce research, including ethnography, creative methods and film-making. I previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (Open University) and the Third Sector Research Centre (University of Birmingham). My role at VSSN is providing support with VSSNs strategic direction, the New Researchers stream and VSVRs annual conference. I am currently co-vice chair with Carol Jacklin- Jarvis Please do connect with me either on Twitter @DrVitaTerry or on  Dr. Vita Terry | LinkedIn.


Sophie Wilson, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council  (BVSC).

BVSC is an infrastructure support organisation for the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector in Birmingham. I oversee a range of research and evaluation projects for, with and about the VCFSE sector  I am also a current Phd student with the Institute for Community Research & Development and the University of Wolverhampton. My doctorate is concerned with the involvement of people with lived experience of multiple disadvantage in the delivery of front-line services. Outside of work, I love to walk and spend time with friends and family – in particular my grumpy 15-year-old son!

I joined VSSN just over 18 months ago, and my role is a Trustee. I am really interested in widening the membership of VCFSE organisations, to help to bridge the gap between the academic community, practitioners and sector-based/community researchers.  I am also a member of the team that organises the distribution of small grants


Other contacts

Other contact points for VSSN are as follows:-

Editorial Management Board

About VSSN