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From Monday 4 November we will be changing our name from Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service to Connected Voice. At the same time we are refreshing our brand with a new set of values and a new look and feel that better reflects what we do. It’s been a long journey to reach this point and we couldn’t have done it without the support of Sarah and Michael from Altogether Creative who have worked so hard to understand and capture who we are.

Why are we changing our name?

If you’ve read our story you will know that we started out in 1929 as Tyneside Council for Social Services. In 1974, we became Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service to reflect the fact we no longer delivered services across Tyneside but in Newcastle only. Today, our services have expanded across the region again and we need a name that doesn’t limit our reach geographically.

There are a few other aspects of our name that regularly cause confusion. ‘Voluntary’ implies that we manage volunteering opportunities (we don’t) and ‘Council’ means that people often understandably mistake us for Newcastle City Council. When we tell people who we are and what we do, we have to deconstruct three out of the four words in our name. A change is long overdue. We are proud of our history as a Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and we have always played an active role in the CVS movement across the country – but many of them have also chosen to move away from the CVS name as terminology has naturally changed over the years and we now identify ourselves as ‘local infrastructure organisations’.

That’s the brief explanation for why our current name doesn’t work for us - so what are the qualities of a strong name? It’s hard to capture our wide range of services in a few words but the new name needed to have meaning and not be too abstract. We needed a name that has a sense of purpose, is understandable, simple, modern, inclusive and feels like home. We believe Connected Voice achieves this and encompasses what we do as an organisation that offers many different services.

Connected Voice CMYK With Strap

‘Connected’ captures the importance of community, being in touch, collaboration and that together we achieve more than we do alone. It also speaks to connections within the organisation, providing a joined-up offering.

‘Voice’ is core to our work in representing the local voluntary sector and amplifying the voices of those who may not be heard individually.

‘Connecting People. Supporting Action’ describes what we do; our organisation has always connected people through networks and partnerships and we’ve been supporting community action in the region for 90 years.

 

A brand is more than just a name though

Our brand affects how people feel about our organisation. It describes our values and ethos, and the brand identity (the look) reflects these feelings. We want a brand that is professional but also modern, warm and welcoming. It must have flexibility for future changes and also stand the test of time as we work towards our aspirations for the next few years.

Our re-brand journey began back in Summer 2018. We offered a public survey to capture people’s views on our organisation. We also ran a branding exercise at our Annual General Meeting. From January 2019, we began intensive workshops with staff, clients and trustees to ask them about their views of our organisation now and where they would like to see us in five years’ time. We uncovered a serious mismatch between how we present ourselves through our brand and what it’s really like to work with us. The new values, name and brand much better reflect the findings of the workshops and who we really are.

Here are a few of the things people said about our organisation:

  • “We can help you be the change you want to make”
  • “We’re not afraid to express an opinion”
  • “Social justice is at the heart of what we do”
  • “Running a charity is lonely, it connects you to others”

 

Our Values

Our values underpin everything we do. Revising our values has given us a renewed sense of purpose and aligned the views of all of us who work here at Connected Voice. We hope that you recognise these values in our organisation too:

We amplify voices.

From individuals to organisations, we believe everyone has a right to be heard.

Trusted to listen, understand and advocate, we strive for excellence. We’re open and honest, we stick by people and give our support to ensure their voices are heard.

We champion equality.

We believe that diversity should be celebrated and valued, and everyone deserves equality.

Working towards a fairer future for all, we won’t stand still. By making an impact on causes big and small, we want to improve the quality of life across the region.

We inspire change.

Courageous, resourceful and determined, we will challenge unfairness and ask difficult questions.

Working effectively and accountably to instil confidence. We aim to become stronger and more sustainable to inspire positive and lasting change throughout our community.

We support action.

We understand from our own experiences the challenges people face. We truly value people and we don’t judge or dictate.

Leading independently and side by side with our communities and partners, we share our resources, skills and expertise to enable people to take meaningful action.  

We connect people.

At the heart of voluntary and community action for 90 years, we are immersed and rooted in the North East.

We work collectively and inclusively to connect, grow and strengthen our society. We are warm and approachable, and we create opportunities to exchange ideas, learn from and empower one another.

 

A few other changes

Our services will see some changes too. Each will carry the Connected Voice name and logo to show that we are all part of one organisation.

 Connected Voice RGB AdvocacyConnected Voice CMYK Charity Business ServiceConnected Voice CMYK HarefConnected Voice CMYK Support and Development

  • Advocacy Centre North will become Advocacy
  • Ellison Services will become Charity Business Services – you may not know this but ‘Ellison’ came from the street name of our old office on Ellison Place. Charity Business Services better describes the accountancy support we provide and also gives us scope to expand our offering in the future
  • HAREF will become Haref – Haref used to stand for the Health and Race Equality Forum. Haref has outgrown this acronym but the Haref Network felt it was important to retain the name so we have decided to change it from an acronym to a name with a strapline to describe what Haref does: Health equality for BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities
  • Support and Development will remain unchanged

 

In the next few weeks you will see our new leaflets, magazine and email newsletters. We will also be launching a new website which will be easier to navigate and use. We are planning various promotions to make sure everyone is aware of these changes but we appreciate everyone’s help and support in getting the word out so please do share this news with your colleagues. Old website and email addresses will remain active for a few months but you will need to update your directories and address books:

Email addresses will become This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our general email address will be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please note this email address is not active until 1 November)

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.