Welcome to Stronger Voices: empowering UK equality organisations to amplify their voice and make it heard.
Stronger Voices is a transformative, six-month strategic communications training programme specifically designed for UK equality organisations, grassroots community-centred movements, and user-led charities based in London. This programme aims to empower you, the experts in your field, with the skills and knowledge to amplify your voice, mobilise your audience, and influence meaningful change.
With the current economic and political context, it is crucial that the media and policymakers hear from the people whose lives, livelihoods and wellbeing are most affected. Given the rising levels of inequality and emerging potential political opportunity, this year’s Stronger Voices programme will prioritise organisations campaigning for systemic change and/or tackling structural inequality in their work for communities in London.
We are looking for 20 London-based equality organisations to take part in this free six-month strategic communications training programme. The programme runs from October 2023 – March 2024.
At Media Trust, we strive to ensure that everyone can access our services. If you require a more accessible version of the form, or additional support, please contact [email protected]
Applications have now closed.
Expect to Learn and Grow
Stronger Voices, now in its sixth year and funded by City Bridge Trust, has a proven track record of working closely with the equality sector. We partner with Equally Ours and an Advisory Group of equality groups, campaigners, and media organisations to ensure this programme is relevant and tailored to your needs.
The programme covers key elements of strategic communications from reframing narratives and campaigning strategy to key messaging and intersectional storytelling. The programme is split into the following four core strands:
Gain expertise through workshops such as:
- Comms for Change
- Intersectional Storytelling
- Framing Surgeries
Growing and Mobilising Your Audience
Master the essentials with workshops on:
- Comms Planning
- Social Media
- Communications Audit (Charity Challenge Day)
Engaging with the Media
Polish your media skills with:
- Media Interview Training
- Get Your Story into the Media
- Pitching Surgeries
- Pitching with Journalists networking event
Peer Learning and Collaboration
- Participate in four in-person peer networking events
- Engage in a buddy system
- Connect with a network of passionate communications professionals working to address inequality
The Impact of Stronger Voices
Former participants of the programme have experienced remarkable results, including press coverage in prestigious media outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, The Independent, Newsnight, and The Times. Completing the programme consistently leads to increased confidence, knowledge, and abilities, as well as enhanced collaboration and partnerships with other organisations.
Wondering if Stronger Voices is right for you?
To apply to the programme as the lead applicant, you must be responsible for the day-to-day communications at your organisation, even if you have other non-communications-related responsibilities.
We understand that your time is precious, and resources are limited, which is why this intensive six-month course is completely free. We require one lead contact who attends the entire programme; however, the programme is designed to be flexible, allowing different individuals from your organisation to attend different sessions along with you.
To be eligible, your organisation must meet the following essential criteria:
- An organisation with an intersectional equalities purpose.
- Working in one of the 33 London boroughs.
- A small to medium-sized organisation with a turnover of £2 million or less.
Priority will be given to organisations that meet one or more of the desirable criteria below:
- Organisations campaigning for systemic change and/or tackling structural inequality in their work for communities in London
- Organisations that want to raise awareness, influence public opinion, and engage with or speak truth to power
- Organisations that can demonstrate they are user-led
We welcome applications from all organisations that meet the essential criteria, but priority will be given to those that also meet the desirable criteria.
Stronger Voices has made Street Talk more robust and resilient, ensuring our continued support for beneficiaries.Pippa Hockton, Director, Street Talk
Join the Programme
The prospective participant pack pack includes more information, a programme timeline, and key dates about the Stronger Voices programme. To benefit fully, you should be able to commit and dedicate the necessary time to attend as many sessions as possible.
Join us for one of the two Q&A sessions if you have any questions about the programme, eligibility, or the application process. Sign up below:
For further enquiries, please contact Rabia, the Stronger Voices Senior Programme Manager, at [email protected].
Applications have now closed.
I believe the improved communications skills I have gained from the programme will help us to raise awareness of the harms being done to women and girls with multiple unmet needs.Cynthia Otote, Communications Officer, Agenda Alliance
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an organisation with an intersectional equalities purpose?
An organisation with an intersectional equalities purpose is one that:
- Has the purpose of addressing and/or eradicating inequalities faced by the communities it serves. This could be an organisation with a primary focus on equality, such as an anti-racist organisation, or an organisation that works with, advocates for, and prioritises marginalised communities through its services or campaigns.
- Works across multiple equalities strands and/or supports communities from one or more of the nine protected characteristics detailed in the Equality Act 2010, such as race, gender, disability, or age. We understand that the Equality Act does not cover all possible inequalities, and communities can face disparities that aren’t listed in the Act, such as class.
- Recognises how an individual’s multiple identities can intersect and create layers of disadvantage. The organisation should be able to demonstrate how its work encompasses and addresses this intersectionality.
What is considered a small to medium-sized organisation?
At the Media Trust, we consider the size of an organisation based on the following annual turnover:
- Micro organisation (with less than £0.5 million turnover)
- Small organisation (with £0.5 million – £1 million turnover)
- Medium organisation (with £1 million – £5 million turnover)
If you are a micro-organisation, we still encourage you to apply. However, we may ask you additional questions to demonstrate the financial health and future sustainability of your organisation.
What if my organisation's turnover is slightly higher or lower than the desired threshold?
This won’t necessarily exclude you from consideration. The application form will provide an opportunity for you to address this, and we will consider each case individually. However, please note that we cannot accept organisations that greatly exceed the £2 million turnover threshold.
Can I apply to the programme if I'm not a registered charity?
Yes. You do not have to be a registered charity to apply, and we encourage all eligible organisations to submit their applications. For example, your organisation could be a community interest company or an unincorporated association. However, we do require a minimum standard of governance to demonstrate the viability and longevity of the organisation. This may include providing two years of management accounts or, if more relevant, a constitution.
What is the difference between the essential criteria and desirable criteria for the programme?
You can apply to the programme if your organisation meets the following essential criteria:
- An organisation with an intersectional equalities purpose
- Working in one of the 33 London boroughs
- A small to medium-sized organisation with a turnover of £2 million or less
The desirable criteria are additional factors that we consider when selecting organisations for the programme. The more desirable criteria your organisation can demonstrate in the application, the higher your chances of securing a place in this year’s Stronger Voices programme.
What do you mean by structural inequality and systemic change?
By structural inequality, we refer to barriers, discrimination, and unfairness that are built into institutions and systems within society, such as housing, education, and employment. These inequalities disproportionately affect marginalised communities.
Organisations working on systemic change are more likely to create positive, long-term impact by addressing the root causes of inequality within the systems and institutions they engage with. We prioritise organisations that raise awareness, influence public opinion, and engage with or speak truth to power, as these are essential steps in creating meaningful change for the communities they serve.
We know systemic change takes time and is hard work and can be done on a national, regional or hyper local level. This can cover all types of work, from: reforming the criminal justice system, campaigning for your location authority to change or provide a service, to creating community led initiative. If you are unsure that your organisation fits this criteria, email Rabia, the Stronger Voices programme manager at [email protected].
What does being 'user-led' mean, and how can we demonstrate this?
Being ‘user-led’ means having the individuals or communities your organisation serves in positions of leadership, influence, and power within your organisation. For example, if you are a user-led disabled people’s organisation, the majority of your team will be composed of disabled individuals. We understand that being user-led can vary across different organisations, and the application form will provide an opportunity for you to clarify your approach. There are various ways to demonstrate being user-led, such as stating the percentage of your team composed of people from the communities your organisation aims to serve or highlighting user groups from which you draw expertise, such as youth-led advisory groups.
In partnership with:
Our Stronger Voices programme has been developed is in partnership with Equally Ours
The programme is funded by the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust.
Our Corporate Partners
We enjoy outstanding support from the media industry. Our partners include: