Parkinson's Disease Society defends rebrand

Criticism of change on website forum prompts web debate with chief executive

The Parkinson's Disease Society will hold an online meeting after supporters expressed concerns over the charity's rebrand.

The organisation announced last week that in April it will change its name to Parkinson's UK. 

But after criticism in a discussion on the charity's website, entitled ‘New look PDS - not sure about this', it has set up the meeting, which will be held on the charity's website using instant messaging.

The member who started the discussion, called Wobbly, wrote that she was "not terribly thrilled that my subscription has funded this.

"How much did it cost to have this whizzo stencil font designed specially for us?" she said. "My granddaughter can get the same effect with a felt pen and a plastic stencil from WHSmith."

Another member, called blueeyes47, wrote: "Spending money on a brand strategy? Are we competing with Coca-Cola and Heinz?" Anne Sel wrote: "That money would pay for more Parkinson's nurses."

Steve Ford, chief executive of the charity, said he wanted "as many people as possible" to take part in the online meeting, which will be held on 10 March.

"The meeting is designed to harness members' enthusiasm and collect ideas ready for the change on 8 April," he said. "Although we've had a few negative comments, the overwhelming majority have been positive."

Ford said the rebrand cost £200,000. "This is less than 1 per cent of our annual spending," he said. "Our new strategy requires us to raise £110m over the next five years - a 10 per cent increase year on year. We wouldn't have had a cat in hell's chance of raising this amount with our current identity."

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