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Local agency with deep roots gets a major makeover (5 photos)

Simcoe Community Services rebranded as Empower Simcoe; Agency is 'here to respond to community needs whether you're a child or an adult'
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A local service agency has undergone a colourful makeover.

Officials from what used to be known as Simcoe Community Services unveiled a new logo and name Wednesday in Orillia. It is now called Empower Simcoe.

“As an organization, we really need to be mindful of how we present our services,” said Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins.

That includes eliminating confusion, as some people assumed Simcoe Community Services was run by the County of Simcoe. Others figured it only provided services to those with intellectual disabilities.

“That’s one of the reasons we rebranded,” Cousins said. “It’s about more than people with developmental disabilities. It’s for everybody.”

Empower Simcoe, which has offices in Orillia and Barrie and provides services across the county, “is here to respond to community needs whether you’re a child or an adult,” Cousins explained.

The agency’s services include group homes, residential respite, supportive housing, infant development, and it runs EarlyON Child and Family Centres.

“We’re about more than group homes,” Cousins said, noting even if someone comes to Empower Simcoe seeking a service it doesn’t provide, a referral will be made to the appropriate place. “There’s no wrong door. We have to be open to helping them find their door.”

During Wednesday’s gathering at Empower Simcoe’s offices at 35 West St. N., employees, dignitaries and clients gathered to celebrate the new look and name and enjoy some cake.

Cousins said the nearly 400 employees of Empower Simcoe were integral to the rebranding process. Staff were consulted and made recommendations to the board.

“Change is never easy, and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without them,” she said.

Empower Simcoe is embarking on a public awareness campaign that will take place all year. A town hall meeting was to take place Wednesday in Barrie. Another one will happen in Orillia in the fall.

“We want to tell the community what we do,” Cousins said. “Being transparent and being open to questions makes you stand up and be responsive to your community.”

Learn more about Empower Simcoe and its services by visiting its new website.




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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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