The Cyrenians has changed its name to Changing Lives to avoid confusion with other charities as it plans to expand in the next year.
The charity, which works with homeless people, recovering addicts and ex-offenders, is based in Newcastle and provides services in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teesside, County Durham and Yorkshire. It plans to expand into South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the north-west of England, the Midlands and south Wales over the next year.
The Cyrenians was named after Simon of Cyrene, whom the Roman army told to help Jesus carry his crucifix.
Stephen Bell, group chief executive of Changing Lives, said the name Cyrenians had been presenting difficulties for the charity as it expanded beyond north-east England.
"There are other charities – some operating in similar fields – that are known as ‘Cyrenians’ and we have been very sensitive to potential confusion with them as they continue in their important work," he said.
"This major and exciting development is driven by our success in developing and delivering innovative and effective services that change the lives of people for the better every single day, and by our plans to expand further afield and offer these more widely."
The charity began the process of changing its name in the summer and has consulted more than 170 staff and service users, which generated about 700 ideas.
Changing Lives was the favourite, Bell said, and was chosen by specialist staff and the trustees from a shortlist of ideas.
"I’m delighted we have chosen a name that does what it says on the tin," he said. "Every single person in Changing Lives does just that – helps people to change their lives for the better every day, supporting them towards stability and independence.
"I’m confident that the new name will serve us well as we take the opportunity to work further afield."
The name change is part of a wider rebranding and was carried out by the agency Sumo. A spokeswoman for the charity said the cost was "in the low five figures".