About Us

Our wide range of services promote social inclusion, equality and social justice. They have enabled us to meet the diverse and complex needs of people in vulnerable circumstances across the region.

“I feel like I’ve gone from having nobody to having an army of guardian angels! Incredible”

Our impact

Last year we:

  • Supported over 1,400 people and worked on 2,300 issues
  • Provided 22,000 hours of direct advocacy support
  • Employed a team of paid Advocates and an Administration team - all managed and supervised by our Senior Management Team
  • Supported and mentored 53 volunteer advocates
  • Worked in 36 Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and employed four bilingual Advocates

“It is the first time in five years of being unwell that I have got the help I needed, someone who understands my condition and difficulties and is able to help me communicate it”

It’s a Win-win: Watch our film which tells you more about advocacy. We met with Service-users, referrers, commissioners and Advocates to talk about the importance of advocacy and making our services accessible to everyone.

Award-winning services

We were honoured to receive ‘Outstanding Service’ at the National Advocacy Awards 2018. The category aims to ‘showcase the very best in service delivery’ with ‘creative and innovative ways that services are evolving their support’. The competition was very close as there are so many great services across the country. We are proud to have received an award from our industry peers in recognition of our hard work and impact through advocacy.  We would like to thank our staff, volunteers, partners and funders who have all helped to make this possible.

Quality Performance Mark (QPM)

The Advocacy Quality Performance Mark is only awarded to organisations who can demonstrate that they provide excellent services in line with the QPM standards and the advocacy charter. Advocacy Centre North has been awarded successive QPMs since 2005. We successfully passed our latest assessment in January (with every requirement, based on the Advocacy Code of Practice, fully met) and have been awarded the Advocacy QPM for another 3 years.

The assessor’s comments include:

“Highly values led organisation with a passionate, dedicated, skilled and knowledgeable team”

“Services were seen to be responsive, respectful and highly person centred. Advocates are thoughtful and reflective in their advocacy delivery”

“Strong policies and procedures in place which underpin advocacy practice”

Here at Connected Voice, we pride ourselves on our award-winning services and achieving recognised quality standards so we can be the best possible employer. See our organisation-wide awards and accreditation

Commissioner’s Quality Assessment

Our Gateshead Statutory Advocacy Services (IMHA, IMCA, ICAA and RPR) were assessed over two days in January 2019 by the commissioner, Gateshead Council. We achieved a 100% score against these outcomes:

  • People benefit from person centred care & support
  • People are safeguarded from abuse
  • People are supported by excellent staff
  • Organisational & management systems ensure excellent quality services
  • People benefit from excellent security, health & safety

Upholding rights & valuing voices: Advocacy principles for coronavirus and beyond

These Advocacy Principles have been developed by advocacy providers, for advocacy providers. We know from our experiences of delivering advocacy that people who use health and social care services are being specifically disadvantaged by the coronavirus restrictions we have all faced. The principles are designed to shape our collective responses and make sure that no-one who needs our support is left out, that people’s rights are respected, and nobody goes unheard.

A brief history

Our Advocacy project was first set up in 1996 to support people, help them to be heard and secure their rights. As well as supporting people through our advocacy services, we also help to achieve positive change at a local, regional and national level by informing and influencing decision-makers in policy, service commissioning and service provision. In 2005, we gave evidence about Mental Health Advocacy to the Joint Committee on Mental Health Bill in Parliament. Following changes to the Mental Health Bill, our services expanded to include statutory advocacy services for people who have a legal right to an advocate. We were the first organisation in the UK to offer specialist support for people with neurological conditions and specific health and social support for people from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Learn more about the history of our advocacy project and Connected Voice in Our Story.