About Us

New Union is a UK based but international looking, nonpartisan, nonprofit social innovation organisation that uses community development, civic technology, open data, digital design, policy analysis and civic journalism to design world class engagement projects, event facilitation and training program design.

What we are all about

In 2021, we turned 5 years old, and over that time we have done everything from run policy hackathon events with central governments from around the globe to improve how they communicate digital policy to NGOs, we have built youth-led open democracy projects that put young people in front of elected officials from all parties to challenge them on issues that they care about, designed community-focused smart city projects with disadvantaged Councils in the UK which led us to taking a different third sector engagement approach to the process, a series of workshops in Kosovo & North Macedonia discovering mechanism to fight misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines to helping the NHS to document citizen outreach using vlogs.

We’ve also been designed a host of events including facilitating a participative festival looking at how local government can use community-focused placemaking post pandemic to bring people back to our towns and cities via workshops with local authorities around the world, volunteer created content and an international hackathon, various government funded capacity building training programs looking to improve community digital capacity, designed specific policy hackathons that include hard to reach members of society such as digital needs from the visually impaired and the death community followed by presented those findings to influence strategy and we designed a downloadable toolkit with Die Bertelsmann Stiftung that local government in Germany can download and run their own participatie workshop looking at creating community-driven government open data agenda.

We don't want to just empower people, we want to create safe spaces for policy makers to learn from the people who live in their areas, to open worthy dialogue but also make it easier for decision makers to access quality evidence to make government and third sector services run better, this means bringing together citizens, NGOs, government, activists, advocates and creatives to codesign ideas, giving them ownership, not forcing ideas on them, and if that can be facilitated, that’s how you ensure success.

We need to ensure serivce design is as participative as possible, and as understandable as it is to a senior executive to a community volunteer, that takes a lot of experience and expertise to craft a narrative that people can get behind which we have proven track record in doing. Our work has taken us from The Black Country to Bogotá to Berlin to Bratislava to Nairobi to Ramallah and many more, we feel blessed to be trusted by central governments to tiny community organisations to help them create better services to the people they support.

What do we offer?

Project architecture & community development:

We specialise in full product design from the initial idea, branding, concept, delivery and then to the evaluation stage.

We design our projects from scratch and we have worked with Governments & institutions across the world. These have been used to influence policy or strategic direction, important community consultation via participative means and meeting tactical aims.

Our projects are usually the full package ranging from digital design such as websites, workshops, writing strategic documentation, community engagement to volunteer coordination and recruitment.

We like to put ourselves out of a job by building projects that are sustainable and will continue to work without us by working closely with staff, offering training and preparing supporting documents. Why? Well, it’s a measure of our success if something works without the need for our continued input.

Physical community consultation:

We’ve run workshops, hackathons, conferences and events for a range of partners looking to gather intelligence for strategic, funding applications and influencing policy from a community perspective.

Our events are run in a participatory manner, meaning we heavily involve the participants in the day and gather their input via a range of activities which then then package up and deliver as a report. We understand community consultation is not just ticking boxes or to showcase you have engaged citizens if challenged, it’s about how you can sustainability improve your region by ensuring you are meeting the needs of the people who live there by involving them.

We’ve run events on everything from general public service planning, understanding open data, citizen led placemaking to youth democracy, so it is clear to suggest that we have worked on a broad range of subject matters.

We also design workshop based toolkits, supplying partners with everything they need to run these events themselves, this has been a very successful approach for installing new capacity in organisations and of course, these skills stay in the organisation long after the project is finished.

Digital engagement and campaigning:

We love, and I can’t stress this enough, LOVE creating digital campaigns that are heavily people fronted, sharing their views or helping them to create social change.

We understand how social media works for the community sector and we have had some highly impressive hit rates. If you want to run rich campaigns in the Government and third sector you will need to think like a social activist and a marketing guru.

For example, we have held a raft of successful social media campaigns but let’s pick out the youth activism campaign we ran around the inaugural West Midlands Combined Authority Mayoral election. Which had extensive coverage in The Huffington Post and local newspaper Express & Staff, ITV Central along with a dedicated show on Black Country Radio. The social media engagement rate at the end of the campaign was 6,435,018.

And the rest...

Web Development

We’ve got rates especially for small charities, third sector and community groups. We do not develop digital platforms for large organisations such as Government unless it’s part of a wider project which means we can support the people who really need it.

Graphic Design

The same goes for our branding support, we only offer this service to small organisations and a lot of the time we do not even charge depending on the social issue - we have helped a lot international based charities with design and we are always happy to offer support.

Research and Strategy

If you need support to gather research for funding or reporting purposes there is a number of ways we can support, from holding community engagement sessions and then collating the evidence presented in a report to forming documentation provided by the client.

Funding Support

We are always happy to help with finding funding sources and assisting with writing tenders, we access every situation on the social impact and reasoning behind the bid, so it’s a service we usually offer for free.

Video Engagement

This is actually something we do a lot of such as a collecting feedback for the NHS in a series of YouTube videos to helping young people interact with democracy to even running and designing Vox Pop & vlogging projects for Dudley Council and local advocacies - we have a range of gear participants can use.

Hackathons

From arranging, branding it, planning, recruitment to collating all the evidence of the day in a presentable way of choosing. We’ve ran or planned hacks in England, Germany, Cameroon to Uganda ranging from general code hacks to rapid prototyping projects to even policy formation.

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