Derbyshire charity unveils new name in move 'to help more people who need us'

Gill Geddes, left, the chief executive of Connex Community Support and MP Ruth George, right, pictured with staff and invited guests at the launch of the re-named community charity on Buxton Market Place on Friday. Photo: Anne Shelley.
Gill Geddes, left, the chief executive of Connex Community Support and MP Ruth George, right, pictured with staff and invited guests at the launch of the re-named community charity on Buxton Market Place on Friday. Photo: Anne Shelley.

A charity which has helped thousands of residents in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales live safer and more fulfilled lives has taken on a new identity - with the aim of supporting even more vulnerable people in the community.

Connex Community Support is the new name of Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales.

Roddie MacLean, right, and Roy Pickles, both of the Hall Bank Trust, hand over a 6,000 cheque to Rachael Mitchell, the befriending co-ordinator and chief executive Gill Geddes at the official launch of the re-branded Connex Community Support group on Friday.

Roddie MacLean, right, and Roy Pickles, both of the Hall Bank Trust, hand over a 6,000 cheque to Rachael Mitchell, the befriending co-ordinator and chief executive Gill Geddes at the official launch of the re-branded Connex Community Support group on Friday.

The charity provides a diverse range of services, including transport for older and disabled people, befriending, care and support, home maintenance and cleaning. In 2017/18 alone it helped over 5,300 people.

Originally established in the High Peak as Buxton Volunteer Bureau in the 1980s, it has undergone various transformations over recent years, including a merger with Volunteer Centre Derbyshire Dales in 2013 and the introduction of many new services.

Chief executive Gill Geddes said the changes had caused confusion among services users, volunteers and the public, prompting the rebrand.

“Feedback revealed that our existing name was not only lengthy and sometimes hard to remember, but that it was causing confusion over our service portfolio – we were still remembered as ‘the bureau’ which was renowned for volunteer development,” she explained.

The Connex Community Support chairman of trustees, Tina Sullivan, right, cuts the cake to continue celebrations of the re-branding of the community charity based on Buxton Market during a special event on Friday. Also pictured are from left, Gill Geddes, David Brindley, Helen Hazelhurst and Robert Shaw. Photo: Anne Shelley.

The Connex Community Support chairman of trustees, Tina Sullivan, right, cuts the cake to continue celebrations of the re-branding of the community charity based on Buxton Market during a special event on Friday. Also pictured are from left, Gill Geddes, David Brindley, Helen Hazelhurst and Robert Shaw. Photo: Anne Shelley.

“Today, we have so much more to offer, ranging from our specialist Readycall Macmillan befriending service, which supports those affected by cancer and life-limiting illnesses, to our transport and home maintenance services.

“Our service portfolio is vast, and it was clear we needed a new communications plan that would tackle this and promote us effectively.”

The charity, which has offices on Eagle Parade in Buxton and on King Edward Street in Ashbourne, was lucky enough to be awarded additional grant funding to help support the much-needed rebrand.

This allowed the organisation to employ the support of a local specialist in third sector communications and branding to help devise a new communications strategy.

Gill added: “Connex Community Support has a positive effect on everyone it encounters, and our communications should do the same.

“We are really proud of our ability to deliver 100,000 hours of care and support to those who need it and even though we’re valued in the community, our goal for 2019 is to reach and help more people who need us.”

High Peak MP Ruth George launched the new name at an event last Friday attended by members of the public, stakeholders, staff and volunteers.

Choice of new name is designed to promote charity’s diverse offering

Chosen for its simplicity, the new name Connex Community Support has been designed specifically to promote the charity’s diverse offering in a simple and effective manner, while galvanising the brand to gain greater reach.

At the heart of the brand was a desire to keep production costs down while maintaining a professional appearance and a sense of pride for those who connect with the organisation and work within it.

Debbie Hackett, business development manager, said: “The key to the rebrand was understanding the DNA of the organisation.

“We needed a name that was memorable, short, yet flexible enough to communicate our varied service portfolio.

“When you have services like domiciliary care and disability support services sitting alongside property clearance and maintenance services - it’s a complicated brief for any agency.”

For more information about Connex Community Support, visit connex.org.uk or call 01298 23970.