We are planning to change our name!
We intend to drop the ‘UK’ and simply be ‘Aniridia Network’.
The main reason is to be inclusive for people affected by aniridia in Ireland, and there are other benefits too.
We want to know what you think about this.
We have a one-off golden opportunity to pick a great name – the point at which we register as a full charity.
While we are a completely legitimate charitable organisation, currently Aniridia Network UK is not registered with the Charity Commission. At our Annual General Meeting in September 2015 our members voted for a process that would technically close the existing association and create a new one that could register as a full charity. We’ll then get a revered charity number.
We are now ready to do this and so need to write down the name of the new charity on the application form.
Why does the name matter?
Our presence in Ireland has grown. Eleanor hosted the first meeting of Irish members, started fundraising and has made contact with their national institutions. This means we also need to register with the Charity Regulator in Ireland too.
We have learned that the ‘UK’ in our name can make us appear irrelevant for people and organisations in the republic. There is also the politics and historical troubles to consider.
At the same time the future of the UK itself is unclear, with exit from the European Union and therefore the Irish border and independence for Scotland being discussed.
Whatever happens in future, we want to continue catering for the needs of everyone affected by aniridia in the British Isles together.
Considering how few people that is, we believe that separate organisations are not viable: that it is best to work together and not duplicate effort. We find it difficult to keep going, even with the combined pool of potential volunteers.
Choosing a name
So the trustees considered the need for a more generic, future-proof name.
They thought about names that include some or all of the words: ‘Aniridia’, ‘Network’, ‘UK’, ‘Ireland’, ‘British Isles’, as well as others like ‘Action’.
They noted that if we went down the route of adding the countries to our name, we would be likely to write them smaller on our logo and even be prone to omit them entirely in speech and text for brevity. This would make our name appear to be just ‘Aniridia Network’ anyway.
The trustees feel the best option for our official name is: ‘Aniridia Network’, for the following reasons:
- It is inclusive for people on the island of Ireland
- It is a consistent, simple brand, resilient to changes to the UK borders.
- Many people already refer to us as ‘Aniridia Network’ by mistake.
- Changing our logo would be minimal (effort). In fact it would be more compact and so easier to work with in both landscape and square forms.
- We could potentially add ‘UK and Ireland’ as part of a strap line to our logo. When differentiation in text is necessary, we could still be AN (UK&I)
- It would dissuade us from referring to ourselves so frequently with an acronym, that has to be explained first.
We realise that the absence of ‘UK’ it will make our limited geographical remit less obvious, especially to people in other English speaking countries. Even with ‘UK’ in our name, we often receive enquiries from overseas. We would have to be more explicit in our descriptions about who we have capacity to help.
We would like to hear what you think about this name change. Please comment below or write to us.
Overall we are very excited by the upcoming jump to full charity status. We believe that combined with this tweak to our name it will put is in a much more presentable and sustainable state.
By the way, the first conference and annual general meeting of the new incarnation of our organisation will be in London in 2018.