National Voices launches Annual Report 2020-21
Tue, 28 September 2021
In 2020, we pivoted our entire work programme towards supporting people living with ill health, impairment and disability during the pandemic, to ensure that their needs and hopes weren’t forgotten during the necessary shift to COVID care.
We opened our networks and events to non-members and encouraged smaller organisations to join, supporting people in ‘easy to ignore’ groups as members in an effort to support the VCSE sector in its response to the pandemic. We brokered relationships between the VCSE sector and senior decision makers in the NHS, and offered open events such as webinars to ensure these voices were listened to by the right people.
Our Chief Executive Charlotte Augst comments “In the heat of the moment, it often felt that we were simply fire-fighting, with no time to plan strategically or to assess the situation calmly. It is therefore particularly pleasing to realise, as we review what we did during this last year, that it adds up to a coherent and compelling set of interventions.”
These interventions included:
- Our Nothing About Us Without Us Five Principles that 100 members and partner organisations signed up to.
- Insight reports into people’s lived experience of the shift to digital appointments, and the digital exclusion which negatively impacted upon some people’s ability to access good quality care The Dr Will Zoom You Now and Unlocking the Digital Front Door: the keys to inclusive healthcare.
- Our COVID Voices, a digital platform that gave people living with ill health or disability a way to express how the pandemic was impacting their lives. This then led to What We Need Now, a qualitative review based on Our COVID Voices and a series of I Statements, eight expressions of expectations simply communicated as illustrations.
We placed health inequalities at the centre of our work. In summer 2020, we organised a series of inequalities focused webinars, and in 2021 we held a conference, How Can We Dismantle Health Inequity Together? National Voices’ conference to realise the power of the voluntary sector. We have endeavoured to be bold in tackling inequalities and in confronting uncomfortable truths whilst taking action.
Amid this remarkable year, we said a fond farewell to outgoing Chair Hillary Newiss and welcomed our new Chair Helen Buckingham. In her introduction to this year’s annual report Helen observes, “The work of National Voices provides a route through which the statutory sector can build that understanding and through which the voices of all those who rely on health and care services can be amplified.”