VSSN is run by elected trustees, mostly through voluntary effort, with the support of a part-time Executive Officer.

Main contact

Meg Wright, Executive Officer


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

Pat Armstrong, Voluntary Sector Consultant

Pat has had a long career in the third sector and has been a member of VSSN since 2019. Pat completed her doctorate in 2023 which explored resilience in third sector leadership. She brings experience in leadership and governance as well as a wide network and connections to the role of trustee. Pat contributes to VSSN’s membership development.

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

Karin is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. The central theme of her 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. She is a Fellow of CPA Australia, an international accounting body.

Ellen Bennet, Sheffield Hallam University

Ellen has been involved in VSSN since starting her PhD many years ago and has always valued being part of an engaged network of researchers from different academic and practice contexts. Ellen has experience of running networks within voluntary organisations, devising and running programmes of engagement and learning activities for network members.

Stephen Craker, CEO at Communities 1st

Stephen is dedicated to contributing to the growth of individuals and organisations through sharing knowledge, promoting best practices, creating opportunities and leading effective change. He has a passion for 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, he contributes to the communications working group.

Heather Fulford, VSSN Small Grants Panel

As a VSSN trustee, Heather co-leads the Small Grants Panel and serves as the VSSN representative on the Editorial Management Board of the Voluntary Sector Review Journal. Heather is an experienced social impact evaluator and has led several projects, using a range of qualitative and quantitative measurement approaches, to support non-profits with their impact evaluation.

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

Jurgen is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia and the Director of the Institute of Volunteering Research there. Jurgen is 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, Jurgen is 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.

Daniel Haslam, The Open University

Daniel has been involved with VSSN since 2017 when he first attended the annual VSVR conference as a new PhD student. Since then, he has become more involved with VSSN through administration of the New Researcher JISC email list, coordination of New Researchers’ online sessions (until 2022) and organising/hosting the New Researchers’ sessions at the annual conference.

Carol Jacklin-Jarvis, Chair of VSSN

Carol’s research adopts the lens of contemporary leadership theories and applies them in the particular contexts of the voluntary sector and of cross-sector collaboration. She is involved in projects exploring ethics and leadership, leadership development, digital leadership and the voluntary sector contribution to place leadership. She adopts qualitative research methodologies and is particularly interested in taking an engaged approach to research that builds partnerships between academics and practitioners. Carol has previously worked in the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (The Open University), third sector infrastructure organisations and project development and strategy roles in local government.

Daiga Kamerade, University of Salford

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

Amy Sanders, Aberystwyth University

Amy is a Research Associate in Wales Institute of Social and Economic Data (WISERD) and the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society (CWPS) in Aberystwyth University. Her research interests lie in the intersections between equalities matters and the voluntary sector, as well as the relationship between the voluntary sector and government and has primarily researched these in the context of Welsh civil society. Amy is also interested in advancing approaches which ensure research has policy impact. Before becoming a researcher, Amy 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

Vita’s research interests are in 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. She adopts qualitative methods to co-produce research, including ethnography, creative methods and film-making. She previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (The Open University) and the Third Sector Research Centre (University of Birmingham). She is currently co-vice chair with Carol Jacklin- Jarvis and provides support with VSSN’s strategy and annual conference. Connect with her either on Twitter @DrVitaTerry or LinkedIn.

Joanne Vincett, Liverpool John Moores University

Jo has been a VSSN member since 2018 and is keen to be involved in shaping its future direction. She brings her enthusiasm for the voluntary sector as an educator, researcher, volunteer, and executive coach (see her full biography). Jo has leadership experiences as a former Editorial Management Board Member for the Voluntary Sector Review (2019-2022) and former trustee of Yarl’s Wood Befrienders. She leads the development of equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives in VSSN and the communications working group.

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