The charities formerly known as Age Concern and Help the Aged have just amalgamated into a conglomerate known by the meaningless and rather sinister brand name of 'Age UK'.
A quick Google uncovers a rash of recent charity makeovers, all ostensibly executed by the same re-branding agency.
Instead of reassuring terms such as 'Association', 'Campaign', 'Concern', Trust,
'Foundation' or 'Action' next to our major charities, we are now seeing the reductionist;
It can only be a matter of time until Cancer UK and Oxfam UK join them. Is it just me or does this make charities sound more like faceless corporate entities who no longer give a stuff about the public interest, rather than the charitable institutions that they were founded as? Would anyone now feel inclined to leave all their worldly goods to Age UK when it doesn't sound like a charity on their side any longer, or even a charity for that matter? Recent rumour of their strong-arm tactics on 'persuading' the very elderly they are supposed to advocate and protect, to leave them large sums of money using coercive door-to-door bequest 'salesmen' hasn't helped.
And which re-branding agency is receiving all this money for the same one-trick pony concept on each charity?
I mean I've just predicted all the main cancer charities amalgamating into 'Cancer UK', so where is my £2m re-branding consultation fee please? In fact I'll make a similar charge to add 'UK' to the end of any charity yet to be UK'd, slightly less for the smaller charities - I'm not greedy. My website designer friend Dan can come up with a funky logo for each no doubt. And who needs a Focus Group anyway since they seem to ignore the views of their supporters irrespective?
Several years ago it was proposed that the Leonard Cheshire homes and day centres for the disabled should lose the name 'Leonard Cheshire'. Who after all still knew or cared about the mouldly old heroic WWII air ace who once decided that severely war-disabled servicemen need not regard their lives as over, but could still be helped to lead productive and rewarding lives with the right TLC, training and support (a charity which has since expanded to serve disabled people across the board)?
Luckily, enough people still remembered who he was to defend the retention of his name in the charity formed by him and there was sufficient outcry to persuade the re-branders to mollify their efforts to the masterstroke of adding 'disABILITY' to 'Leonard Cheshire'. Will his late (and no less amazing) wife Sue Ryder suffer the same threat in due course?
But every charity benefits from a good story doesn't it? And they don't come much better than the true love and inspiration story of Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder.
We certainly need at least a few charities left we can still Trust.
Sue and Leonard
(left more than a park bench)