Charity expands into new ‘smart office’ home

A charity which has supported the growth of the community and voluntary sector across Tyneside for over 90 years is entering a new phase of development through moving into one of the region’s most desirable new office locations.

Connected Voice, which gives advice and support to organisations and individuals to enable them to make a positive difference to society, has relocated its headquarters to One Strawberry Lane in Newcastle.

The organisation moves from Higham House in the city, where it has been based for a number of years, into inclusive, modern workspace which meets the needs of both its workforce as well as its members, who represent all aspects of community and voluntary work across Newcastle and Gateshead.

The recently-opened Gallowgate development is one of the first ‘smart office’ spaces to be created to accommodate hybrid working and the changing needs of businesses and their workforces since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Built by Home Group – which has relocated its HQ to One Strawberry Lane – the development has six floors of co-working space available for hire, with a strong focus on community and diversity, with aspects including full accessibility, gender neutral toilets and a prayer room. It also shows its commitment to sustainability through innovations including living walls.

After 92 years of supporting community and voluntary work on Tyneside, Connected Voice is now able to meet the needs of its diverse member populations with its new headquarters, and look to the future of delivering growth for the charity, its members and the sector as a whole.

“This is a great place for us to be based, both for our staff and for our member organisations. It feels good to come into work and into a fully inclusive space which we can be confident will meet the needs of anyone coming to visit,” says Lisa Goodwin, chief executive of Connected Voice.

“One Strawberry Lane enables voluntary and community organisations to access excellent informal meeting space, innovation space and gives us a home for our extensive events and training programme. It’s very exciting to have such a space in the city centre and we are delighted to call this our new home as we look to the future.

“We have been around for over 90 years, we pre-date the NHS and statutory social services and have worked hard to tackle many inequalities during that time. The voluntary sector really began to flourish in the post war period, and we have been at the heart of developing many organisations that are thriving to this day.

“The support the voluntary and community sector provides is needed more than ever these days – and it is great to have an office base which supports workplace wellbeing.

“We support people and organisations to make a difference, and over the years we have evolved from setting up community services ourselves to enabling local organisations and people to do it. Our focus now is on empowerment.

“Being based here is really important in our ongoing development, it’s a space that supports a range of ways of working where our staff and members have the space to think, meet and innovate. We have enjoyed a very good relationship with Home Group throughout and are very grateful they have created such a brilliant development.”

Sam Watts, real estate solicitor at law firm Sintons, acted for Connected Voice in acquiring their new premises.

“One Strawberry Lane is a unique office space in Newcastle, having been created specifically to meet the needs of post-pandemic ways of working,” says Sam.

“It also recognises the requirements of small businesses and third sector organisations in offering ad-hoc meeting and working space, while also showing a commitment to diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. This truly is a workspace for modern, progressive businesses, and ideal for a forward-thinking organisation like Connected Voice.

“For over nine decades, the organisation has made a positive impact in the city, and through the hard work and commitment of Lisa and her team – and with a new headquarters to be proud of – that looks set to continue for many decades to come. We wish them the very best in their new home.”

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