On Monday 3rd June, the Northern Inclusion Consortium (NIC) held an event in Changing Lives’ head office to launch their charity collaboration with a strengthened agenda. As well as charity leaders, staff and trustees the new North of Tyne Mayor, was in attendance to represent local government’s position on the sector.
The NIC was founded to fight some of the most pressing issues in our region such as homelessness, addiction, drug deaths, crime and health inequality. Their core aims are to encourage sustained health in our region, help nurture an inclusive economy, and improve social wellbeing.
With recent news naming the North East as the UK’s ‘drug death capital’, there has never been a more important time to bring regional inequality and people’s needs to the forefront.
The event on Monday brought together some of the key figures in the third-sector and invited the new Mayor to deliver his views on regional concerns. Driscoll began his speech by stating that the newly formed North of Tyne Combined Authority is “still very much in listening mode”.
His key revelation was the announcement of a proposal being taken to the cabinet this week which pushes for representation of the voluntary sector within the Combined Authority. With a clear initial message about representation of business, he committed to giving the third- sector a voice government level.
“We will have a CVS ambassador whose job it is to work directly with the cabinet. This is an indication of how seriously we’re taking this and how quickly we’re getting running with it”.
“Everything that we’re dealing with is complex and everything that we’ll be delivering through the manifesto recognises that”.
The primary message of Monday’s event was a call for collaboration between service-users, charity organisations and government.
Following the appointment of Jessie Joe Jacobs – prominent social change leader – as their new Director, the Consortium embarked upon a research phase, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that presented the individual organisations and the sector.
Jessie says: “For too long there has been a power imbalance between those who hold funds and make policy and those who face issues or who are working at the coal face to support people with these issues. We see this particularly in the North East where Whitehall and Westminster seem a million miles away.”
“The NIC will seek to be a bridge between those with power and resources and those who need them, working together to find new ways to deliver services, share from our vast amount of expertise in working with the most vulnerable, whilst really listening to voices from the ground.”
Paul Hayes, Chair of the NIC stated: “if we don’t come together to fight the issues, a lot of what we do is a wasted effort.”
“Our communities and those who are in place to serve them are in need of new ideas, innovations and ways of meeting the needs of our region. The NIC is a charity collaboration which pledges to build a bridge between those with power and resources and those who need them”.
The Consortium is founded by four of the North’s leading charities: Mental Health Concern, Changing Lives, Humankind, and Groundwork North East and Cumbria.
The NIC already delivers collaborative projects around employment support and removing health barriers to work. However, this summer it will relaunch with a new vision of becoming a sector shaper and influencer; building partnerships and collaborations; co-designing services; and providing opportunities for people to be empowered and have their voices heard by decision and policy makers.