Adapt (North East) is a user-led organisation, which provides community services, with the aim of improving the quality of life for disabled people, people with sensory, physical or learning difficulties and people with mental health problems. The organisation also supports those who are unable to access public services because they live in rural locations.
Adapt (North East) is dedicated to liberating those in the North East who may be isolated, whether socially or geographically. The organisation facilitates the Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network, and is a partner in the regional Equality Coalition, leading on the Disability strand for Northumberland. Adapt (North East) is run by a dedicated team of 35 staff and 8 volunteers.
The organisation provides community services such as wheelchair loans, activity groups, CRB checks and a community helpline, along with offering training and consultancy in subjects like disability awareness and equality.
Adapt (North East) runs a community transport scheme, which currently benefits 740 members in the North East. The organisation also manages a ‘Get Going CT Fund’, which assists community groups in Northumberland who want to work with local community transport providers. Adapt (North East) offers young adult placements with these community transport providers, with the aim to provide work experience and enhance employment opportunities.
Throughout the 20 years in which Adapt (North East) has been operating, the organisation has gone through numerous changes. The organisation was founded in Tynedale (as ‘Action by Differently Abled People in Tynedale’, or ‘A.D.A.P.T.’) in 1991, but changed its name to ‘Adapt’ in 2007, to reflect a new, region-wide, mode of working. In 2008 it secured the host role for Northumberland LINk, a project through which Adapt (North East) supports vulnerable people in Northumberland by providing access to information about health and social services.
In 2010 the organisation was presented with the Community Transport Association’s Best Rural Community Transport Award, and – most recently in 2012 –Director of Adapt (North East), Liz Prudhoe, was awarded the Best Social Enterprise award at the WIN (Women in the Network) Awards, held in Newcastle.
Tony Kirsop from Social Enterprise Northumberland, who has worked with Adapt (North East) closely for many years, said: “Adapt is one of Northumberland’s leading social enterprises, they are a great example of a voluntary sector organisation which was heavily reliant on grants a couple of years ago, but who – a few years later – are generating the majority of their income themselves. They are a wonderful example of how to switch the ethos of an organisation, and a lot of that is down to the great leadership they have found in Liz.”
Adapt (North East) is a registered charity, a company limited by guarantee and a social enterprise which is managed by a voluntary board of trustees.