Connected Voice has won the Outstanding Contribution to Equality and Diversity Award at the 2023 National Advocacy Awards, organised by Black Belt Advocacy, an organisation working tirelessly to champion Advocacy across the country.
This builds on the success of our 2018 and 2022 National Advocacy Awards for Outstanding Advocacy Service, and we want to thank everyone who has contributed to us receiving this respected recognition.
The judges felt that our Advocacy service demonstrated a strong approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and was particularly successful in nurturing positive relationships with funders that encouraged positive risk-taking and innovation. Of Connected Voice, the judges said: "their work was thoughtful in how to target groups in the community that need Advocacy support. This included targeted recruitment for a more diverse workforce, support for disabled and neuro-divergent employees, and nurturing a diverse board of trustees that oversee an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion framework where each team (including Advocacy) is held to account to demonstrate performance measures."
'We Champion Equality' is one of Connected Voice's core values and, as an organisation, this permeates everything we do. Each service has a commitment to deliver our board-agreed EDI framework. We aim to make our services welcoming and accessible. We tackle digital exclusion and deliver outreach to communities where we can. We research areas of need, and collect data to help make people more visible. We support and identify gaps in service provision across our communities. But we wouldn't be able to have such impact in the region without our funders' investment and encouragement to try out new projects.
So, we'd like to thank our funders:
- Community Foundation's Linden Family Fund, FOGO Fund, and Pargiter Trust for investing in pilot schemes to target Advocacy in seldom-reached groups such as older people from LGBTQ+ and ethnically marginalised communities, and refugee and asylum seekers.
- The National Lottery Community Fund and our colleagues in the VCSE (NELC and Changing Lives) for developing long-term partnerships to tackle financial inequality and address the cost of living crisis through our Help Through Crisis project.
- The Office of the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner for investing in Advocacy to support marginalised and discriminated people who face hate crime.
- The Barbour Foundation and NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) for helping to reach people who need a voice in navigating our health and social care systems.