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"You spoke, we listened" by Meryl Davies, CEO

AUG
08

I would like to say a huge thank you to every one of our volunteers who has helped with our recent surveys.  

The team and I want to know what you think: we want your honest opinions on how you think Contact the Elderly is doing and to hear about anything you would like to see change or develop.   

What did we ask and why? 

We asked what you thought of our name

In 2018, we asked the staff team if they felt that Contact the Elderly was the right name for us.  The overwhelming majority said that they would prefer to be called something else.

For people here, the word ‘elderly’ is hard to use when talking to older people, and it has been rejected as ageist by numerous organisations.  Of course, we also wanted to know what you thought. The responses to our volunteer survey told us that only 16% of you think that the name is “great”. Over double that number said that they didn’t like it.  

So, we have learned that staff and volunteers hesitate to use the name of the charity and tend to talk about it in roundabout terms.  Surely that’s going to have an impact on how well known we are.  Not surprisingly, over 8 out of 10 of our volunteers told us that they find people haven’t heard of us.

Time to think about our name and how to make sure we have the right one to reaching more older people and volunteers. And I give you my word that we will do this with careful oversight of the cost.  The aim is to make the name and brand work hard for us and that anything we spend on this will ultimately help us reach more older people.  

We asked what you thought of our activities

One of the exciting things that we have started to think about is whether and how to offer alternative activities for those older people – and volunteers – who don’t necessarily want to go along to a tea party group.  

It was great to have confirmation from the volunteer survey that 2/3 or you would also like to see us offering other activities. We have appointed a new Head of Programme Development, Katy Szita, and she is currently working with the team here and with potential partners in the charity sector, to look at new ways of working.  We will share news as these develop. 

We asked about our website

You have let us know that you would like to see more useful and interesting materials on the website that will help you in your volunteering roles, especially help, support, and guidance around working with vulnerable older people. We are working on fresh information for the website now and will be updating all of our content in the coming months.  

We asked if once a month was about right to hear from the national office.  

You overwhelmingly said yes!  

You also wrote some incredibly kind and thoughtful comments, praising the nature of the charity and the work that we do.  Thank you so much for that. The overwhelming theme was the importance of finding ways to reach more people and find the older people who really need us.  We will be taking your ideas on board as we develop new national and local campaigns.   

Thank you for all the care, joy, ideas, and honest communication. 

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