Coproduction – Ben’s story

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 has embraced co-production in the way it involves people it supports in how the café operates as well as the events it runs. Maria added:

“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 shares its commitment to co-production

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

Appeal for recovery volunteers

One of the Recovery Focus partners is looking for more volunteers to help support its work with people recovering from drug or alcohol problems in Derby.

Aquarius launched the new Derby Recovery Service in April this year, working alongside the Derby Drug and Alcohol Service with Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Phoenix Futures to support people whose lives have been impacted by substance use. The service provides a range of activities including support groups, arts and crafts, music, relaxation, and social gatherings as well as one-to-one support. In its first six months it’s helped 168 people on their recovery journey.

Volunteers play a key part in the service by helping to run groups and provide one-to-one support. Aquarius is keen for more volunteers to come forward so it can support even more people. It’s staging a volunteers open day on 24 October so people can find out more about how to get involved.

Read more

Charity film tackles Cannabis

A new film exploring Cannabis and young people has been produced by a Northamptonshire based charity to help raise awareness.

CAN, part of Recovery Focus, has teamed up with Birmingham based Urban Head to produce the short video to highlight the potential harms of drugs and the impact they can have on young people.

Ali Mills, service manager of Ngagae, the young people’s team at CAN, said:

“The aim of our film is to raise awareness about Cannabis and the issues it creates for young people.

“Lots of young people know drug users, but feel it is recreational despite seeing the impact it can have on people.”

The film focuses on a young couples relationship and recreational use of Cannabis. The film offers a realistic view of the addictive nature of Cannabis as we see recreational use develop into addiction.

The film is available on YouTube and can be viewed here:

Young people who access the Ngage service played a key role in producing the film from scriptwriting to editing gaining hands on experience of film production.

New film tackles mental health stigma

A new film giving insight into the reality of living with depression was premiered today as part of the Working Together forum from national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship.

Day by day was created by people using services from Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus the national group of mental health and substance use charities, and supported by Blue Hippo Media. Read more

Derby mental health service receives dignity award

A mental health service in Derby has been recognised by the City Council for its work in promoting dignity for people with mental health problems.

Trevayler, a mental health service run by Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus the national group of mental health and substance misuse charities, supports people with mental health problems through supported living and a short term crisis house. Read more