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Introducing the 2020-21 Data Champions: part 2


Our Data Champions programme brings funders together to collaborate and learn how to grow a data culture in their organisations. In November, we launched our second programme with 32 participants from a variety of grantmaking organisations. In this blog, the second of two, we hear from some of them about how they work with data and what they’re looking forward to about the programme.

What is the Data Champions programme?

The Data Champions programme offers funders the chance to learn more about data and how to make the best use of it. Through collaborative online workshops and group calls, participants learn about topics such as data workflows, building a data culture, ethics and data strategy. Over the next six months, we will publish a series of blogs focused on these topics for readers who want to learn about data, and growing a data culture, in their grantmaking organisation.

In our 2020-21 cohort, we’re delighted to bring together a variety of people from a range of grantmaking organisations across the UK.

Meet the Data Champions

Headshot of smiling man with olive skin complexion and dark hair.

Aris Tsontzos, Database Transition Manager, Tudor Trust

I  joined the Tudor Trust in 2018. Since then, I have been helping the Trust to realise the full extent of how it can use technology to improve things, not just for itself but also for its applicants and grantholders too. I’m excited to join the programme to share ideas and learn from others in the sector. I’m particularly excited to improve my knowledge around data analysis and visualisation.


Emma Horrigan, Data Analyst, City Bridge Trust Headshot of woman with red rimmed glasses and long curly brown hair tied in ponytail.

I am six months into my new post as Data Analyst. My first projects are capturing our equity data, implementing analysis standards and benchmarking our impact. I’m also helping to increase my colleagues’ data awareness and literacy.

I joined the Data Champions programme to meet and problem solve with like-minded people from across the sector as I believe that data confidence and a data-first approach is fundamental to success in this data-rich era.


Ali Walker, External Relations Officer,  Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

I am the External Relations Officer at Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. I oversee our communication channels including creating content and maintaining our social media presence. Going forward, I will be working on using data more effectively within our organisation.


Owen Jones, Knowledge & Learning Officer, The NationalHeadshot of smiling, young, white man in navy blue suit. He has brown hair and facial hair and is outside. Lottery Community Fund

I support the regional funding teams in Wales with management and thematic data to support their planning and targeted outreach work. I’m also seconded part-time to the Information Team, whose function is to provide data to several teams. My work ranges from using grantmaking data for the funding or comms teams, through to providing information in response to Parliamentary questions.

I am excited to be part of this programme because it gives me an opportunity to see how others use their data and to learn from that. I’m hopeful that through this programme we can establish a long-lasting network of data-minded individuals who will support each other to develop and promote the use of data within the funding sector.


Headshot of young, white smiling woman. She wears a black jumper, lipstick and has mid-length brown hair.

Hannah Howard, Senior Programme Innovation Manager, OVO Foundation

I work with the OVO Foundation’s charity partners throughout the grant life-cycle. A key part of this is analysing data to assess each of our programmes in their progress towards our overall vision: for all children and young people to have equitable access to a sustainable future. We’re a small team so I’m particularly looking forward to learning about how to ask the right questions to obtain helpful data and using that to learn alongside our partners and peers.


Darren Cotton, Lead Data Volunteer, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation

I’m the Lead Data Volunteer. In my role, I have introduced new data analysis which didn’t exist before. This is now helping the Foundation to understand and visualise how money is being allocated across the region. The data has challenged the perceived ‘local knowledge’ and exposed new opportunities of potential to focus on.


Headshot of white, middle aged woman wearing glasses with short blonde hair.

Cat Orchard, Commonwealth Games Programme Team, Birmingham City Council

I am the Head of Community Partnerships. I’m responsible for supporting Birmingham residents and communities to maximise the opportunities and benefits of the Commonwealth Games when they come to the city. I don’t look after the capital projects (ie the builds), but I do have oversight of the community side and I work with partners to get the best outcomes for the city. I also manage the Birmingham City Council Community Legacy Fund, and want to ensure we spend that money well and& for the benefit of Birmingham people.


We’re delighted to welcome the Data Champions cohort, not all of which are featured here! Read part 1 of the blog to meet more of the Data Champions.

We’ll be publishing a series of blogs focused on the topics covered in the programme to help others learn about data and growing a data culture. Sign up to our monthly newsletter to get the latest blog in your inbox or check our Data Champions blog category to find them.