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Staff Profile – Penny

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Welcome to our Staff Profile series, where we will be posting interviews from every London Plus staff member! Many people reading this have likely met some of us in the past, but these profiles give the opportunity for charities to see behind the professional curtain…

Our next staff profile is with Penny, the Researcher & Data Analyst at London Plus.

Hi Penny, can we start by hearing a bit about your hobbies?

I picked up reading as a hobby during the pandemic. I’ve read all sorts of feminist literature, and lots of fiction more recently. My favourite book is probably Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez or 1984 by George Orwell.

Do you have a fun fact about yourself?

I’ve been playing the saxophone since I was five years old. I got to Grade 5 with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, before stopping at around age fourteen. In the spirit of being a teenager I thought it was uncool. But, I started playing again during the pandemic and picked it up pretty quickly.

Playing the saxophone is definitely not uncool! Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I finished my first degree in Biomedical Science in 2020. After that I went to work in a COVID testing lab where I worked day and night running PCR on the tests that people sent in. After that I moved into pharmaceuticals, analysing cannabinoids and terpenes in medical cannabis for rare or complex diseases.

Then I studied a Master of Research degree in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health. Through studying and working as a researcher in FemTech, I started to realise that women’s health was a social issue as much as a medical or scientific one.

I wanted to help people directly and decided the charity sector was the best route for that.

Great! Could you tell us about your role at London Plus?

I’m the Researcher and Data Analyst at London Plus. I identify, collect, and produce data, research, and insights to understand the impact of the voluntary and community sector. I bring the work of London’s charities and community groups to life.

For example, at the minute I’m working on an article about the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which aims to take care of rough sleepers during severe weather. I’m essentially just exploring some of the challenges involved in that.

Why is your work important?

Research in general is really important for charities. It helps them to tell their stories, connect with others, and gain insights that allow them to be more effective.

Data is also important. It helps charities show their impact, give evidence to funders, and to show beneficiaries what charities can do for them. Someone might be more inclined to use a service if there’s strong evidence that it works.

What do you like about London Plus?

I think what drew me to London Plus is that they seemed like such an influential, trusted voice in the sector. My intuition turned out to be true!

Everyone here also has such an important influence. We’re a small team, but each one of us has a really strong purpose.

Staff wellbeing is also taken very seriously here which is something I really value.

Perfect. Lastly, what’s one hidden gem in London you’d like people to know about?

The Ship and Whale is a pub that I’d definitely recommend. It’s great all year round, has a lovely garden area for the summer, and has board games for customers!

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A big thank you to Penny! Stay tuned for more staff profiles!

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