The number of people affected by mental health problems is rising, with one in four people in the UK experiencing mental health issues each year, and Edge Hill University has joined forces with a leading group of charities in an attempt to tackle this.
Providing a range of mental health and substance use support services across England, Recovery Focus has united with Edge Hill to forge an exciting new partnership, bringing together academics from multiple departments across the University.
As National Co-Production Week draws to a close, Grazina Berry, Group Director of Performance, Quality & Innovation at Recovery Focus, gives her thoughts on co-production and what it means for inspiring individual recovery.
Our Working Together Strategy is all about people. So often we hear about commitments to co-production and listening to the voices of the people we support, but here at Recovery Focus I’m proud to say we actually do it. Read more
He talks about how the service’s allotment is helping people to learn new skills, develop relationships and engage with nature. He also discusses how the allotment is a shining example of co-production: Read more
Simon uses Richmond Fellowship services. As a man living with a disability, mental health problems and a history of addiction he knew he had a range of experiences to bring to help other people and wanted an opportunity to do so. Our coproduction group offered that.
I am an older service user with a disability and have had mental health problems for most of my life. I’ve also battled with addiction and social isolation.
When I began to use Richmond Fellowship’s services I learned about their coproduction and was encouraged to get involved. As a group we look at the structure of the service, how we do things and what we can do to improve the service and support more people.
Through the group I was able to attend a conference in Birmingham for other service users. I thought I’d be the only disabled person there, but it was refreshing to meet other people with a range of disabilities both visual and hidden.
I live alone and struggle with social isolation. It’s really helpful for me to be part of this group as I don’t see or speak to many people.
The staff team are very good at making us feel wanted and needed and that our ideas and input matter.
In the past I did volunteering with other charities and I got walked over and treated badly. It’s not like that here; I don’t get discriminated against, shouted out or not listened to. Here I feel valued and that my ideas are worthwhile and that the team actually listen to me. It’s a really nice feeling.
Everyone needs to find a place where they’re happy and I get that with Richmond Fellowship.
Throughout co-production week we’re sharing stories of success from our services. Through Sparky’s café, our social enterprise in Guildford, Ben has learned new skills and greatly increased his confidence.
For seven months Ben, 33, has been working at Sparky’s café in Guildford. Ben, who has a learning difficulty, began with Sparky’s following a successful interview and has since made great progress in his new role.
Since starting at the café, Ben has learnt a range of new skills, made new friends and discovered a passion for his new vocation. Ben said:
“Since starting work at Sparky’s, I have learnt a wealth of valuable new skills and I’ve really developed my confidence.”
In his role, Ben has developed culinary skills, knowledge of professional health and hygiene standards for catering as well as a talent for customer interaction.
Maria Ruiz, Team Leader at Sparky’s, said:
“Ben really enjoys having the freedom to travel independently on the train into Guildford, and the daily interaction with staff and customers has improved his self esteem immensely. We’re exceptionally proud of his achievements.”
“Sparky’s Café provides a community hub where people can go for a relaxing chat with friends, as well as providing people with health and wellbeing advice, ranging from healthy eating to dementia awareness sessions in workshops and events.
“When it comes to running Sparky’s we’re all one big team. Ben and the other people using the service have so many great ideas that we’re able to implement to help our café grow. It’s fantastic to be involved in a project that truly embraces co-production and gives a voice to the people we support.”
Recovery Focus, the national group of charities with the shared aim to inspire individual recovery, is highlighting its Working Together strategy as part of Co-production week.
The national awareness week highlights the work of organisations actively supporting people using their services to have equal say in the support they receive and a forum to share their skills, experiences and ideas. Read more
After an initial degree in English and Philosophy, David worked for the Probation Service between 1963 and 1997. He worked initially in Staffordshire and latterly in the West Midlands, picking up an MA in criminology from Keele University on the way.
His many years of experience included practice, staff supervision, training, and management. In the last years of his probation experience he was particularly involved with homelessness issues in the Birmingham area. Read more
The national group of charities (which includes Richmond Fellowship, Aquarius and My Time) has the ambition to bring their services into the digital age, utilising technology to better support people.
Trevor joins Recovery Focus from Qatar University where he oversaw the project to digitalise the entire university.
A Finalist for Middle East CIO Award Computer News Arabia, Trevor transformed the university from white boards and paper to a digitally immersive organisation utilising everything from an online library and database so students could access materials 24/7 to augmented reality to support safety campaigns and help save lives.
His work brought about huge savings at the university and delivered real change in efficiency and productivity.
Trevor returned to the UK for his family and sought to give something back with a role in the charity sector. He said:
“My role is to look at Recovery Focus and see what we can make digital. Technology will help make us more efficient and enable us to invest more time and money into supporting people through our services.
“In the short term we’ll address our back office functions and see how digitalising our processes can save time and money as well as making our operation environmentally friendly.”
However, Trevor has exciting plans for the role of technology in supporting people with mental health and substance use problems as well as the victims of domestic violence, as he explains:
“Technology plays an increasingly important role in the health and social care sector. Other organisations are seeing the benefits of incorporating digital methods into service provision. That can be anything to an employment consultation by video chat to revolutionary apps that monitor wellbeing and open the door to instant advice and support.
“There are fantastic innovations occurring with wearable technology that is able to monitor alcohol levels in sweat to better support people living with substance use problems.”
We’ll have more information about our digital transformation projects soon.
You can read it here: Recovery Focus Annual Review 2016
Derek Caren, Group Chief Executive of Recovery Focus, said:
“This year we have brought together stories of inspiring individuals throughout the Recovery Focus group to bring to life the fantastic services our organisation provides.
“These stories serve to inspire our work everyday and I hope you’ll find them equally inspiring.”
Our annual review highlights the successes our group has had over the last year supporting people using our services.
We hope you enjoy reading our Annual Review.
For more information about our services and the partner organisations who operate them visit: