Advocacy Centre North’s advocacy service for people with neurological conditions in Newcastle and Gateshead has completed its second year. Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund we have been delivering this pioneering service, which is the first and only specialist advocacy service in the country for people with neurological conditions, including stroke, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Motor Neurone Disease and autism.
The service is provided using both paid and volunteer advocates who receive specialist training delivered in partnership with Northern Neurological Alliance. Their specialist knowledge of this client group and their needs significantly enhances the service. The trained advocates have offered Independent Advocacy on a wide range of issues ensuring people with neurological conditions have access to the services that they need and that they communicate their wishes in often challenging circumstances.
During the first year we set up the service in a way that ensures it meets the needs of people with neurological conditions and the service:
- Provided 2358 hours of direct advocacy support to 69 people
- Recruited and trained 12 new volunteer Advocates
100% of clients who returned questionnaires said their advocate was “excellent”.
During the second year we are proud to say that the service:
- Provided 3835 hours of direct advocacy support to 111 people
- Recruited, trained and supervised 44 volunteer advocates
- Supported people with 20 different neurological conditions, some with multiple conditions and some with no diagnosis as yet.
Our Neurological Advocacy Service is being externally evaluated by Barefoot Research and Evaluation. An interim report covering the first 18 months of the service has been published. It includes case studies, statistics and recommendations.
The report says: After 18 months, the project has become well established with two highly specialised neurological advocates and a developing team of trained volunteers. The service is working with a diverse caseload with a number of complex cases referred in from a range of sources, including self and family. They are developing as a centre of expertise in Newcastle and Gateshead for neurological advocacy services. The client need is showing some early differences to other advocacy services, such as higher number of cases per referral and an increased complexity to those cases. These differences will be monitored as the project and evaluation progresses.
To download a copy of the evaluation go to http://www.cvsnewcastle.org.uk/advocacy-centre-north/ community-services or contact us for a paper copy.
Advocacy Centre North is part of Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service. Information about Advocacy Centre North and how to refer to this and our other services is available at: http://www.advocacycentrenorth.org.uk