Quality continues to show after 20 years

A charity that has provided free advocacy services for 20 years has claimed a national quality award.

North Shields-based Independent Advocacy North East (IANE) provides support for people who may struggle to speak up for themselves.

It works with more than 500 people a year on a range of issues, helping them to exercise their rights.

The charity was one of the first of its kind to receive the Quality Performance Mark (QPM) in 2008, and now it has become one of the first to claim the revised edition, awarded by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NTDI).

The scheme is a robust national test of the quality of independent advocacy provision.

IANE chief executive Keith Thomson said: “Independent Advocacy has always sought to be a charity that delivers high quality services to our service users and to our commissioners. Receiving this external verification is a great accolade and a reflection of the hard work and commitment of our volunteers and staff.”

To celebrate its 20th year, the charity held an amateur bake-off at its annual general meeting, judged by Pansy and Tulip, the ugly sisters in Whitley Bay Pantomime Society’s production of Cinderella. It was won by Pat Wigmore, who received a family ticket for the show.

Long service awards were presented to volunteers Karen Macgregor, Emma Grimwood, Mel Bryce, Karen Reed, Sarah Stanworth, David Pygal, Linda McIntyre, Elspeth Kirkwood, Richard Lee and Kerry Shields.