Contact the Elderly changes its name to Re-engage

The charity was founded in 1965 to tackle social isolation among older people

The older people’s charity Contact the Elderly has changed its name to Re-engage.

The charity, which was founded as Contact in 1965 to tackle social isolation among older people through regular tea parties, said it planned to create a wider range of social activities to support people over the age of 75.

The charity has almost 900 groups in the UK that put on regular gatherings for more than 6,600 people.

It said the groups had focused on running Sunday afternoon teas, but it planned to start new activities, including a walking cricket programme and reading groups, with further activities in the pipeline.

The rebrand, which cost a total of £45,000, was entirely funded through a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery, the charity said. 

Meryl Davies, chief executive of Re-engage, said: "Kindness and support have always been the key to helping them achieve this, but we also feel that, by broadening our scope of activities, we will be better equipped to help the current generation of lonely, older people to re-engage with each other, within their local communities and with different generations."

Some supporters were unhappy with the change of name and expressed their displeasure on the charity’s Facebook page.

One said the name was "ridiculous" and another said it might make it harder for the charity to recruit volunteers.

Ruth Sturgess said the name would take a lot of extra explaining. "What an odd name to choose," she wrote. "Contact the Elderly fitted the bill perfectly, Re-engage means nothing."

Helen Dutton said: "It is another one of those awful corporate names which means nothing. Doesn’t work on any level in my opinion."

But others supported the choice of name.

Claire Shearring Harrison said she liked the new name and said her nan hated being referred to as old or elderly.

Catherine Jones said: "I’m loving the new name! Not sure if I would have enjoyed being referred to as ‘the elderly’ when I’m older!"

Responding to the negative comments, Davies said: "Through survey and feedback, we found that many older people and volunteers simply did not use the term ‘elderly’ and considered it outdated.

"Though the majority of feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, some volunteers are incredibly invested in our old brand, and that is a testament to how important our work is for both volunteers and the older people who engage in our activities.

"Volunteers remain at the heart of our organisation and we will work to assure them that our core activities have not changed, while embracing our period of growth and expansion."

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