Alison Body is a Lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, and a member of the Centre for Philanthropy. Alison started her career in 2001 working in children and youth charities, specialising in early intervention services and advocating for children’s participation rights. Her experience includes leading a large children’s charity, strategic development of the third sector, fundraising and volunteer management. In 2008, she joined Kent County Council as a senior Commissioner of early intervention services. Driven by these experiences, she completed her PhD at Kent in 2016, exploring the relationship between children’s charities and the State. After working at Canterbury Christ Church University between 2015-2017 as a Faculty Director in the School of Childhood and Education Sciences, Alison joined the University of Kent in January 2019. 

Alison has written numerous research articles and reports exploring philanthropy and the third sector, particularly in relation to children, young people and education. Interested in the intersection between the third sector and state, publications cover topics such as youth participation, voluntary action in primary education, fundraising in schools, co-production of public services and children’s perceptions and experiences of charity and charitable giving. Her latest book, ‘Children and Charities: A Decade of Change’, explores the impact of austerity on children’s charities. 

Alison has formerly held multiple trustee positions within children’s charities and as a school governor. She is currently a Director of a voluntary organisation, Led by the Wild CiC, and a trustee of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. 

Alison strongly believes in bringing together research and practice, and regularly speaks at charity sector, education and public-sector events. She contributes to discussions around state funding, philanthropy in public sector services and charitable giving, in a range of media outlets.  

Research interests

Alison’s research interests focus on philanthropy and the third sector, particularly in relation to children, young people and education.

She works within the Centre for Philanthropy, which explores philanthropic activities, social patterns of giving and the redistributive impact of transfers from private wealth to the public good. She also has an interest in the impact of philanthropy on public service provision, and how children and young people ‘learn to give’. 


Alison teaches on the MA in Philanthropy, covering all topics relating to philanthropy, fundraising, volunteering and social research methods. 

Alison supervises Undergraduate and Masters dissertations on a range of topics, often related to charities, philanthropy and the voluntary sector. 


Alison is particularly interested in PhD candidates who wish to explore the intersection between the state and third sector, philanthropy in public services, philanthropy in education and/or those who wish to research with children and young people. 

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