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What we do

All across the country, passionate people work incredibly hard to try to make life better for groups living in the margins of our society. Our work aims to increase the positive impact of their work.

We help these organisations to evaluate their impact. This means gathering information and feedback from a range of sources through interviews and surveys, and then using our knowledge and experience to provide useful, practical advice and insights.

Our clients are charities and organisations that are trying to make life better for people. We also work with businesses that share our values and have a social purpose beyond making money.

Some Of Our Clients


In 2019 and 2020 we have delivered a number of projects for Wellcome’s Public Engagement team – most recently, qualitative research with key stakeholders to inform the development of Wellcome’s support to help potential grant holders articulate the difference their public engagement activities will make and an evaluation of a project to improve the health of night workers.


In 2017, we conducted an evaluation of the impact of including dementia in the over 45 health check for NHS England and now work with a range of clients across the NHS helping them develop different initiatives.


Pilotlight is a social enterprise that provides strategic business support to small local charities that help disadvantaged people. We have developed Pilotlight’s current monitoring and evaluation strategy and data collection tools and provide ongoing support, guidance and training to its project managers.

See Pilotlight’s impact report 2020.

The Communication Trust

We delivered individual programmes of support to seven of The Communiciation Trust’s (TCT’s) members. This involved a workshop followed by a written action plan, and a six month period of email/telephone follow-up support. We used our experience from delivering this programme to write a guide to self-evaluation on behalf of TCT for small organisations delivering speech, language and communication services for children and young people.

C&A Foundation

We were the independent impact evaluators of the C&A Foundation’s annual international ‘Inspiring Women’ campaigns 2015-2017 and ‘Inspiring World’ campaigns 2018-2019. We developed the evaluation strategy and conducted pre and post survey research and follow up focus groups in a number of different countries including China, Brazil, Mexico and across Europe.

Garfield Weston

In partnership with the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, we conducted a preliminary evaluation of the Weston Charity Awards to help the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation decide whether and how to roll out the programme


Since December 2016 we have been helping Pause develop evidence of their impact for media coverage (see Guardian Society article: Mother Courage – swapping pregnancy in exchange for help Louise Tickle 25th January 2017) and for the first Pause Celebration Event. We are providing ongoing support to help scope the need for their offer in new areas alongside self-evaluation of their existing programme.

Social Venture Partners London

SVP is an umbrella organisation, founded in America, which encourages and facilitates philanthropists to make a difference. We have provided guidance to both Social Venture Partners London and Social Venture Partners Singapore for thinking about their impact strategy.

Dementia Adventure

We have been appointed as Dementia Adventure’s Evaluation Partner on their three year programme (2020-23) of ‘Thinking Differently about Dementia’ support events for informal (unpaid) carers looking after somebody with dementia. The programme was initially planned as a mix of face to face and webinar events and we are supporting the team to use activity monitoring and feedback data to learn and improve as they adapt their services to work in the context of COVID.

Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK

In partnership with Solutions, a qualitative research company, we evaluated the impact of the inclusion of dementia in the 40-64 year old NHS Health Check (funded by Public Health England). This involved an experimental design with research sample and control sample counterfactual.

Wheels for Wellbeing

We advised Wheels for Wellbeing on the development of in-house data collection tools and provided the analysis and reporting for ‘Wheels for Change’, a three year programme funded by Comic Relief.

The Sunnybank Trust

As a consultant on the Lloyds Bank Foundation Enhance programme, Anna supported The Sunnybank Trust – a charity working with adults with learning disabilities - to develop and implement a revised Evaluation Strategy.

The value we bring

The value we bring

We help social purpose organisations to work out what they are doing well – and should do more of – and where they need to make change. This helps them to be more efficient and effective which, in turn, allows them to make a positive difference to more people’s lives.

We support organisations in the following practical ways:
- Help them work out which of their activities are making the most difference so they can prioritise;
- Deepen their understanding of the people they are helping, and their needs, so they can make their services more useful and relevant;
- Provide stories and case studies that help to communicate the good work they do, encouraging new supporters;
- Demonstrate the value of what they are doing, and the positive impact they are having on people’s lives, helping to win new sources of funding.

How we work

How we work

We work in partnership with social purpose organisations. We aim to be a critical friend, meaning we are on their side but are not afraid to ask tough questions and be challenging when we think that it will be helpful. We conduct our projects hand-in-hand with our clients so we can be certain that the information we collect is the information that they really need, presented in a way that will make the most sense and be the most useful. If you’re looking for a dry, academic evaluation, we are not the agency for you.

Examples of our approach

Most of our reports and outputs are confidential. However, here are some examples of the blogs, guides and content we have written for our clients and partners

The impact of volunteering

If an organisation uses volunteers, it is just as important to gather feedback from them as it is to gather feedback from those recognised as the ‘service users’. Our evaluation work for Pilotlight, for example, has demonstrated that there are many similarities between the change experienced by those delivering the support (business leaders) and those receiving the support (charity leaders).

How does a capacity building organisation measure success?

The starting point for measuring success for a capacity building organisation is the same as it is for a frontline service organisation - understanding the difference it is trying to make. In this blog for Pilotlight, Anna summarises how tracking activity and gathering feedback from stakeholders has helped identify the set of indicators currently used to measure change for charities supported through the Pilotlight Programme.

Which tool for measuring wellbeing?

We often get asked what is the best tool for measuring wellbeing. In this blog for Trajectory, Charlotte signposts some places to start.

Looking for Change in the Right Place

We have delivered annual workshops for Pilotlight’s business volunteers to build their understanding of measurement in the charity sector and improve their effectiveness in supporting the charities they are partnered with. Pilotlight project manager, Hannah, summarised the learning from one of these events in a subsequent blog.

Building an approach to self evaluation

In 2016, we wrote a guide for The Communication Trust on: ‘Building an approach to self evaluation’. This is aimed at small voluntary and community sector organisations delivering children’s speech, language and communication services and can be downloaded from the Trust’s new ‘developing and using evidence’ page

Good Science, Bad Governance

Anna’s extensive work with second tier membership organisations has given her particular insight into the challenges facing small and medium sized charities with measurement.  In this guest blog for the Communication Trust she argues that a ‘good governance’ approach to evidence is more appropriate for small voluntary and community sector organisations than a ‘good science’ approach.

Take control of your impact

During training sessions, Pilotlight project managers often report to us that the charities they are supporting are reluctant to identify key outcome measures for fear that they will no longer match the requirements of a particular funder. Anna addresses this issue in a guest blog for Pilotlight.

The Language of Measurement

Pilotlight’s business volunteers often think social impact measurement is something specific to the third sector and beyond their skills set.   Charities tend to think that market research has no relevance to them and their stakeholders since they are not in the business of ‘selling’.  The reality is that social impact measurement, like market research, is a core part of the strategic planning process.  We see our work with Pilotlight as helping the two sectors to speak the same language.

What is qualitative research and how should charities use it?

The value of qualitative research is often overlooked or misunderstood by the charity sector.  Yet qualitative methods, which aim to provide a deeper understanding of the values, attitudes, motivations and behaviours of individuals and target groups, can be essential in helping to understand the impact of their services.

Marathons and Mental Health.

Charlotte is a trustee for Age UK Richmond and a member of the Age UK London expert panel.  She writes regularly for the Age UK blog. Age UK Blog:  Marathons and Mental Health.

About Us

We share your values. Cornish & Grey is a social consultancy which means that we run our business in a way that aims to do good.

As we often work with charities, one of our driving principles is to be great value for money to ensure their hard-earned funds are being put to the best possible use. In fact, we turn work away when we think the proposed approach is impractical or disproportionate.

We regularly offer our services pro bono to very small charities where the funding structure is not yet in place to support them.

Who We Are


Anna Grey


Anna has worked with a wide range of social purpose organisations, giving her a unique understanding of the complexities of tailoring evaluation programmes to the specific needs of her clients.

With a wealth of experience of qualitative research with vulnerable and hard to reach groups, she is particularly interested in participatory approaches to evaluation, using stakeholder feedback to learn and improve, and combining the collection of statistical data with other evidence to help organisations ‘tell their story’.
Detailed CV


Charlotte Cornish


Charlotte is a quantitative researcher with a keen eye for the strategic insights that will make a difference to her clients.

Charlotte also has lived experience of leading organisations as MD, COO and Chair – she brings this to all of her client work endeavouring to make sure that all solutions and recommendations are practical, proportionate and actionable.

She always makes sure that clients meet their objectives – she gets things done!
Detailed CV


Katherine Symonds-Moore


Katherine is a communicator with a passion for helping organisations tell their stories in a way that cuts through with readers and wins them the reputation they deserve.

For the last seven years, she has been working as an independent sustainability consultant specialising in supporting multinational corporations on environmental, ethical and community issues. Her work focusses on helping them to devise or revise their sustainability strategies, and then working with them to communicate their approach.

Detailed CV

Our Delivery Partners


Public engagement partner

In 2019, we started working with The Liminal Space - a unique consultancy that helps academic research deliver impact through the development of innovative and inspiring arts experiences to engage a wide range of audiences in its findings. The Liminal Space’s overall mission and culture sits very closely with ours and we are excited to be working on helping them develop and deliver a range of public engagement projects in 2020 for the Wellcome Foundation and Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust.


Insight and foresight partner

Charlotte worked alongside Trajectory’s Founders at the Henley Centre in the early 1990s and has worked alongside them ever since as colleague, partner and associate, now in the role of non-executive director of Trajectory. Cornish and Grey joint working with Trajectory increases our capacity for delivering large scale mixed method research and consultancy projects, and projects that demand consumer trend insights.


Qualitative research partners

Anna has worked with Michelle Lloyd since she founded the qualitative research agency, Solutions, in 2001 on a range of qualitative research projects for public sector clients. Charlotte now works with both Michelle and with Alison Benson (Indigo Research) as a quantitative research partner on a number of evaluation projects for public health clients including NHS England, Public Health England and NHS Professionals. See, for example, our joint report on assessing the feasibility of extending the NHS Health Check to include a dementia risk reduction component.