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The new name for Age Concern Kingston upon Thames

Staywell: your questions answered

Staywell: your questions answered

On 1st September 2014 Age Concern Kingston upon Thames changed its working name to Staywell.

‘Over recent years we have evolved and, with the changing nature of ageing, now is the time to look to the future. We continue to provide the same important, personalised services in the same locations but now operate under this new name.’

Shane Brennan, Chief Executive

Why has the name of the organisation changed?

There are several reasons for the change:

Society has changed

The name ‘Age Concern’ was developed over 40 years ago to address the needs of a very different generation, whose health needs and physical capabilities deteriorated a lot earlier in life, where life expectancy was very different from what it is today.  This was a generation that went through the 1930s and World War Two, which suffered great hardship and poor living conditions.  It is not as relevant now that we work in a period where many consider themselves not to be ‘old’ – and quite rightly so.  Attitudes towards age and ageing were very different then; expectations were low compared to now.  There is not the same ‘concern’ over ageing as there used to be, and this means that the name is not as relevant as it once was.  An increasing number of people over 65 simply do not identify with it.

Also, although there is no longer a national body called ‘Age Concern’, often it is assumed we are part of Age UK, which causes confusion. We are in fact totally independent and always have been.

Our work has changed

The name ‘Age Concern’ no longer describes everything we do. We provide a wider range of services and work with a more diverse range of age groups than ever before. We have seen over the last 20 years how older people have changed: people are healthier and more active than ever before. Living longer also presents many issues that are not the same as those faced by previous generations. An increasing number of people still need help and support during later life, particularly to help them live for longer in their own homes – our role is to provide services that support people’s needs today.

Why Staywell?

It’s what we do: we help people stay well. We also want to continue representing the changing needs and identity of older people. This new name better reflects who we are and what people want.

‘We aren’t making this change lightly or in a rush. We have talked to our staff, volunteers, supporters, partners, customers and members of the public, and taken on board their ideas and suggestions. ‘

In 2016 we will celebrate 70 years since the organisation began as Malden & Coombe Older People’s Welfare Association. We have always evolved to stay relevant and this new name is the next stage in our development. We are fully aware that for many years people will still associate us with the name Age Concern and that’s ok – we believe ultimately people will judge us on what we do: how well we run our services and how well we help and support people.

Does this mean you’ll change your services?

We will continue to provide the same award-winning services and to adapt those services to meet the community’s needs. We aim expand what we do and over time widen our portfolio of services; we believe this new name will help us to do this.

‘I think the new name Staywell is good, shows you will keep me well.’

Margaret Parker, 80, Handyperson service user

Does this change your status as a charity?

No, it doesn’t.  Our legal name is still Age Concern Kingston upon Thames and our registered charity number stays the same.  We need the support of the community more than ever before and volunteers will always be central to the way we provide our services.

‘It’s a good, strong and obvious name, and reflects perfectly what this fantastic charity does.’

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston

To read more about the history and evolution of Staywell, click here.

What do you think?

Do you have any comments about this name change? Please contact us and let us know what you think.

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