Unlocking personal and organisational growth through Stronger Voices

Posted 19 July 2023

Jo Stafferton, Operations and Marketing Manager at KCIL, took part in our Stronger Voices programme with a clear objective in mind: to take their organisation's communication skills to a new level. They left the programme not only with this, but also with an impact on their own career!

Kingston Centre For Independent Living (KCIL) works to support disabled people to live as independently as they choose across South West London. As well as a thriving membership, we run programmes supporting disabled people and their families to employ personal assistants, support people to manage their personal health budgets and provide travel training for disabled children and young people, supporting them to travel independently.

We started Media Trust’s Stronger Voices programme during a period of growth and organisational change. With limited previous strategic communications experience, we were looking to consolidate our marketing and communications efforts to increase awareness of our impactful work.

Marketing and communications within the charity had previously been done on a more ad hoc basis, but we were looking to change this. Specifically, we were aiming to raise awareness about employment opportunities as personal assistants (supporter workers) for disabled individuals, and the difference that role can make.

The Stronger Voices programme proved instrumental for our communications journey!

KCIL logo.

All the training sessions were fantastic, not just the content but how they were delivered – the speakers were very inspiring and at the forefront of the sort of the type of communications that KCIL aspires to do, so it was lovely to be given that opportunity to learn from people already there ahead of us. We also really enjoyed how we got to know, make connections and learn from the other trainees on the course.

Our highlight of the programme was the support we received from the Google volunteers to obtain and manage a Google Ad Grant account. Prior attempts at securing the grant independently had proven daunting, and the cost of hiring an agency for assistance was prohibitive, as it would have taken funds away from our vital work elsewhere. The support from the Media Trust and Google teams on this was invaluable as we were able to save money from our marketing budget, which was then redirected to our work with disabled people! Successfully receiving a Google Ad Grant has enabled us to increase traffic to our website which has helped us find and recruit more personal assistants to make a difference to the people we support.

Thanks to the advice and support we received during the Stronger Voices Charity Challenge Day we have also redesigned key aspects of our website. This has been a massive help in raising awareness and communicating our message about long running and new KCIL projects.

We’ve also become more cohesive about our messaging since completing the programme. We have developed clear guidelines for how KCIL communicates digitally, through copy and when talking to journalists. We have recently begun two new community-based projects in a new part of London for us; the new projects have required us to develop a different brand and communication strategy to the main KCIL identity, but still making sure that the new projects are identifiable as part of the KCIL family. The experience and knowledge gained through Stronger Voices has been invaluable in developing these new projects’ communication strategies and identities.

As KCIL continues to expand and grow, we’ll continue to use what we’ve learnt through Stronger Voices to embed and develop our existing and new projects and onto new projects that we’ll go onto in the future!

For those considering applying for Stronger Voices, I have one thing to say - definitely!

KCIL logo.

The experience has helped us put KCIL in a much stronger position with its communication strategy than before we started. If your organisation is feeling a bit lost, trying to figure out how to get your message out there and especially if your organisation is entering a period of growth and change, getting your communications strategy right is particularly important, and Stronger Voices is the programme for you!

On a personal note, from me, when I started the Stronger Voices programme, I was looking after KCIL’s marketing alongside my main role as KCIL’s Personal Assistant Recruiter. Towards the end of the programme, I was promoted to KCIL’s management team, taking responsibility for marketing into my new role. So, Stronger Voices has made a massive difference to my career as well as the organisation as a whole!

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