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New service launched to support Northumberland adults with health, care and wellbeing

23 June 2023

Voice and rights charity VoiceAbility now provides free independent advocacy for adults in Northumberland, with the new service available since the start of June 2023.

Advocacy supports Northumberland people to be heard in decisions about their health, care and wellbeing.

This includes providing independent support for people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act, for people deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital, and for decisions about care and support.

People in Northumberland can also get support with making a complaint about their NHS treatment or care, as well as general advocacy which does not fall under specific government legislation such as the Care Act.

VoiceAbility already provides advocacy services in nearby Sunderland, where people like Ryan and Mabel have benefited from the independent support available.

Advocacy in action: Ryan’s story

Ryan, who is deaf and lives in a flat with supported living arrangements, was referred to the charity following a breakdown in the relationship with his flatmate. 

Ryan told his Care Act advocate Andrew he preferred to communicate using British Sign Language and by email. 

Andrew had a background as a special needs teacher, so he built on his knowledge to effectively communicate and understand Ryan’s wishes.

As a result, Ryan now feels empowered to express his feelings and wishes – with the situation at home much improved. 

Advocacy in action: Mabel’s story

Mabel – who has been detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act for more than 15 years – told VoiceAbility’s independent mental health advocate Kari that she finds it beneficial talking to someone who does not work on the ward, and having support in meetings is helpful to her.

Now, following improvements in her mental health, Mabel’s been moved to a step-down unit as plans for her to live in the community continue to progress. 

Caroline Entwistle, VoiceAbility’s operations manager for the North East, said:

VoiceAbility is passionate about supporting people to be heard when it matters most.

We’re really pleased to be working with Northumberland County Council and support networks across the area to reach as many people in Northumberland who need our services as possible.”