Dr. Lucy Maynard - Head of Research

Dr. Lucy Maynard - Head of Research

Lucy has worked both nationally and internationally, as a practitioner and researcher in youth and community development. She completed her PhD in 2011 working with young people and practitioners to understand the process of empowerment in youth development.

Now, as the Head of Research at Brathay Trust, she specialises in two areas: (1) the process of supporting young people, families and communities to become empowered in their lives, in order to make and sustain change; and (2) supporting practitioners to evidence the impact of their work with young people, families and communities. Lucy has co-authored two books in these areas of focus:

Maynard, L. & Stuart, K. (2017) Promoting Young People’s Wellbeing through Empowerment and Agency: A Critical Framework for practice. Routledge: London.

Stuart, K., Maynard L, & Rouncefield, C. (2015) Evaluation Practice for Projects with Young People – A Guide to Creative Research. Sage: London.

Lucy leads an experienced and diverse research team in understanding, developing and evidencing practice. 


Jenny Lee - Researcher

Jenny Lee - Researcher

Jenny combines over twenty five years of research and practice experience across the charitable, higher education, social housing and local authority sectors. She has an MA in Social Research and post-graduate diploma in Youth and Community Work.

Her keen interest in developing closer collaboration between research and practice supports participation, builds skills and broadens knowledge-bases.

Jenny has worked with a range of communities across England, developing research projects alongside practitioners, managers and young people. Jenny is our lead researcher on evaluation projects with Leap Confronting Conflict and Barnardo’s Prouder Communities Yorkshire.

Internally, Jenny evaluates the Brathay Apprentice Challenge and our work with young people vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Jenny brings focus, logic and a systematic approach to the team. She is also the go to person for guidance on ethical protocols and practice.  


Jen Christensen - Researcher

Jen Christensen - Researcher

Jen specialises in designing and delivering creative and participatory research techniques which capture peoples’ lived experience in the wider social and cultural context.

Her experience of working effectively with a diverse client base across substance use, treatment and recovery areas has developed a strong community focus and cements her proven track record of engaging with harder to reach groups. More recently, Jen has led on our recent evaluation projects with Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Currently also completing her PhD in Social Work Practice, Jen brings to the team energy and a talent to bring narratives to life. She works closely with new Team members to support their development and induction into life in the Research Hub.  


Farina Harris - Junior Researcher

Farina Harris - Junior Researcher

With over six years of practice experience at Brathay Trust, Farina’s approach is embedded in our practice and our philosophy of working experientially, with the young person at the center. She has worked with young people from diverse backgrounds including NEET, young people in care, CSE and SEN.

Since joining the Research Hub in 2017, Farina has carried out a range of qualitative and quantitative social psychology research projects related to topics including disability, CSE and youth employment. 

Farina is competent in qualitative and quantitative research analysis in both an academic and charity sector based capacity.

Farina’s strong practice based background, feeds into and influences academic research within the field of psychology, where she is about to embark on her MSc in Psychological Research Methods.  Farina maintains a passion for working with vulnerable young people and challenging cultural thinking in the broader public. To the team, Farina brings an adaptable, solution-focused attitude, stimulated by new challenges and the opportunity to learn and develop skills.


Helen Carter - Research Operations Manager

Helen Carter - Research Operations Manager

Helen has been active in youth development work for seventeen years, working in residential, wilderness and community settings. Her key knowledge and interests lie in third sector and sustainable development, and she has recently completed a post-graduate qualification in Sustainable Leadership.

As an experienced facilitator and project manager, Helen diversifies our skills base to help the Team work across the youth sector in new ways; developing collaborative partnerships to support evaluation processes led by youth practitioners themselves.

Helen manages our partnership with O2s flagship youth programme Go Think Big.

Helen brings an alternative, critical perspective, embedded in a broader community development context and recent practice experience. 


We have a small team of trusted associate researchers whom we work with from time to time to help us meet specific requirements:  

Dr Kaz Stuart - Associate Researcher

As former Head of Research at Brathay, Kaz continues to work with us on specific research projects, as well as being a key critical friend in our partnership with the University of Cumbria. 


Nicola Lynch - Associate Researcher

Nicola supports our work exploring social return on investment contributing towards our more rounded understanding of impact.