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News release: Local charity looks to the future following three national award wins in three weeks

North-east charity Your Voice Counts has won three national awards in the space of three weeks for their work helping people with learning disabilities, autism, mental illness and other challenges to speak up for their rights.

The three awards provide Your Voice Counts with prize money and strategic business consultancy that the charity will use to accelerate plans for expansion. Demand for its services has grown significantly in recent years as local people struggle with issues such as the cost of living crisis, social isolation and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

In the space of weeks, Your Voice Counts won a National Advocacy Award for working with people who use the charity’s advocacy services to co-design how these services will be delivered in future.

A prestigious Charity Governance Award followed that recognised Your Voice Counts’ approach to supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and mental ill health to sit on its Board of Directors so that their views and experiences directly influence how the charity is run.

Completing the hattrick, Your Voice Counts received a Weston Charity Award in recognition of its work to support people who lack capacity to make their own decisions and the community services it provides such as drop-in groups, welfare rights advice and job coaching to help vulnerable people improve their lives.

Lisa Kelly has a learning disability and is the Co-Chair of the Your Voice Counts Board. She said: “I am passionate about giving people who use services the chance to have their say about how these services are run. People with learning disabilities have a right to have their voices heard and it’s fantastic these award wins celebrate the work we do to make this happen.”

David Woolley, Chief Executive of Your Voice Counts, said: “We work with some of the most vulnerable people in the north-east and are seeing increasing need for our services as our communities try to recover from the pandemic while dealing with the cost of living crisis, social isolation and the continued marginalisation that many people with learning disabilities, autism, mental illness and other challenges experience.

“Our fantastic team supports people on a daily basis, helping at times of crisis, developing people’s resilience and ensuring that people who struggle to advocate for themselves are able to have a voice and be represented in decisions about their lives. We have ambitious plans to grow and develop our charity so we can carry on meeting this demand and championing the rights of all people to have a voice at all levels of society, and these award wins provide us with a springboard to move forward to help even more people stand up for what they want and need.”

In addition to prize money, the Weston Award connects Your Voice Counts to a team of business experts that will work with the charity over the next year to provide strategic consultancy services.

Ed Mayo, Chief Executive of Pilotlight, the charity that delivers this consultancy, said: “Your Voice Counts has been selected as a Weston Charity Award recipient on the strength of its ambitions and the openness of the leadership team to external perspectives. Working with business experts, the Weston Charity Awards will strengthen Your Voice Counts to support people who are most at need in our society.”


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