e have a small core group employed full-time in research, development and consultancy and a larger group of regular collaborators listed below.
The membership of project teams reflects the particular skills required.

Please click on the individual pictures above to read more detail.

Mike Nugent- Director

I am the Director of Third Sector First and I have been designing and conducting independent research studies and consultancies for over a decade. For six years previously I worked as Managing Consultant for a national charity.

Through Third Sector First I developed policy and operations for major research grants programmes at the Community Fund (formerly the NLCB and now the Big Lottery Fund). My early career included Research Fellowships at the University of Cambridge and in the Department of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham.

My first degree was in English and Politics. I have an MA (Econ) from the University of Manchester and I was a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre for Research in Primary Care, University of Leeds.

  Research & evaluation | Interim management | Performance management | Policy advice | Training needs analysis | Strategy and planning | Project development.

Sarah Winstanley

I undertook my first degree in psychology before becoming a researcher; what started as a gap-year job in Australia turned into a career on my return to Wales, where I spent over four years conducting qualitative and quantitative projects for both private and public sector organisations, including evaluations of patient experiences and researching public support for the war in Iraq.

With my developing interest in health and social issues, I subsequently undertook my MSc in Health Psychology at the University of the West of England.

I am currently a Research Assistant in the School of Medicine, Swansea University, and the Caerphilly Researcher on the Family Links Nurturing Programme randomised controlled trial.  I also conduct freelance work in mental health settings.


Qualitative research I Mixed methods health research

Sandie Goodyer

I have joined Third Sector First to manage and coordinate our various projects and to oversee business processes.  After university I worked in manufacturing industry, in management training and then for one of the UK's largest data processing companies, before following a career in outdoor education working for Manchester City Council and North Tyneside Council.  I am a qualified instructor in a wide range of outdoor pursuits and have extensive experience of working with children and young people


Business planning I Data management I Events organisation I Training

Dr Julia Spragg

I am working with Third Sector First to deliver the Support and Advice Service for organisations applying to the Big Lottery Fund's Research Programme. I will support medical research applicants in particular.

My first career was spent in Research and Development in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, mainly in drug discovery research. I headed the grants department at the PPP Foundation – now the Health Foundation – from 1999 to 2002. Since 2002 I have worked as a consultant for similar organisations, including the Community Fund, the Big Lottery Fund, the Health Foundation, the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

I have a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, a DPhil from the University of Oxford in Developmental Genetics and my postdoctoral work was carried out at the University of California San Francisco, in immunology.


Medical and health research | Policy development and strategy for funders | Programme reviews | Peer review | Research ethics | Training and facilitating meetings | Research careers

Dr Joanne Portwood

I am an Associate Researcher within Third Sector First.  For several years I have managed and commissioned a wide range of educational, health and social research projects within the public sector.  My particular areas of interest and expertise include research on children and young people's services, community safety, performance management and the application of research findings in practice.

My first degree is in Sociology and I was awarded a PhD from Cardiff University in 1998.  I have undertaken external consultancy work for the Welsh Assembly Government, the Crime Reduction Unit, Home Office and the Prison Service.


Social research | Evaluation | Performance management | Strategic planning | Partnership working | Capacity Building


In the last year our other collaborators have been Naveed Ahmad, Dr Victoria Allgar, Professor Roger Clough, Dr Duncan Scott, Andy Wiggans, Chris Winard and Dr Myfanwy Davies.


Contact Us

Mike Nugent - 3sf Director
Sarah Winstanley  Associate Researcher Sandie Goodyer  Business Support Manager Dr Julia Spragg - Consultant: Mediacl Research Support Dr Joanne Portwood - Associate Researcher