At Recovery Focus, working together is at the heart of everything we do. We usually hold Working Together Forums with the people we support twice a year – with hundreds of attendees convening in a different city for a day long event. However the pandemic and lockdown has of course meant that we had to think differently about the event this year. We still needed and wanted to create the opportunity for people we support and our staff to work together on issues important to them. So Working Together WEEK was born – 5 days of online events and discussions curated and planned by the people we support.  

We held online workshops on resilience, positive relationships, mindfulness, creativity and of course heard a range of recovery stories from people we support. Below, three people we support who attended the workshops (Anisa, Muhammad, and Cara) tell us about their experience of the week, alongside some video clips from staff and people we support who have used working together to make recovery reality for themselves and others.

What is working together?

Working Together can mean something different to everyone. Anisa, a person we support, tells us what working together means to her:

“Working Together to me means coming together to listen, support, help out, encourage, learn and explore through different methods, mediums and meeting others to share a wealth of knowledge, life experiences, hobbies and the message that every single person brings so much to the world and we can all learn from each other. No matter what the situation, there is always more to learn, utilise and that's how progress is made.”

Demi, a person we supported who is now a recovery worker, tells us why working together is so important to everything we do at Recovery Focus:

Recovery Focus Working Together Week 2020 - Demi, Recovery Worker

As someone who's a service user and a worker at Recovery Focus, I believe that the Working Together Forum is a huge step in the right direction. Demi
Anisa, Muhammad, Ian and Cara, tell us how they found the workshops and about their recovery journeys

Day 1:

I attended day 1 feeling really excited but anxious and I really enjoyed the variety of the day. I really enjoyed the opening speech by Rachel Perkins, Chair of The Working Together Committee. I feel it really kicked off such a positive and encouraging message for the week. I loved how Rachel encouraged unity in her speech.

Starting off with and going straight into the Connecting with Creativity workshop was such a positive ice breaker. Grace Dalgleish was lovely. I really loved the first activity such a simple task of tracing hands whichever way up and creating uniquely however we wished. To me this is what the theme of unity is: hands and reaching out, support and simple joys of life. 

As I'm still gaining confidence on face-to-face interactions and technology, being able to listen to and create, look at other’s work, ideas and use the chat function really helped. I also managed to talk after completing the final task of taking simple objects in the room and creating a face. I loved Grace's closing remarks of “art/crafts like humans are perfectly imperfect”. This to me bought home the message of Recovery Focus and the widespread inclusion and encouragement of everyone being unique, different and also working and coming together.

After the break we heard from Beverley Clay, Best Practice Development Manager. It was really interesting learning for the first time about the skills and interests form regarding hobbies and suggestions to volunteer time within services, the community, and as well as seeing what you like, and being involved in how services are shaped. We learnt about the London Committee, and the Working Together Committee meeting which happens twice a year. Beverley stated it was important to have staff and people from services involved. There were chances and opportunities to help planning of the forum, help deliver, volunteer.

Day 2:

The first workshop of the day was hosted by Vicki Pritchard. The workshop was really interesting, informative and I loved the use of slides. I also learned a lot as I feel we all in some ways shared so much in common but all had unique differences. I really loved how Vicki filled in the slides as we went along, answered questions, listened and also taught us more about how trauma affects the brain etc. The workshop was very very hard for me due to the subject but also was massively positive as I achieved a personal goal staying through the whole session, listening, interacting and I learned a lot.

When we came back after lunch we went into the workshop Inspire the Nation Meditation with Oliver Scott, Recovery Worker from Oak House. I absolutely loved this workshop. The mixture of slides, his genuine passion again for the subject and I also really loved how he said he got such joy in seeing others on their recovery journey as they go along and how they progress.

I know so many people commented via chat how much the week was helping and to me by day 2 I felt more at ease and was so appreciative and glad to be invited. I feel it's had such a positive impact upon my further recovery journey.

I can't thank everyone enough involved at every stage, including participants. The sense of encouragement, acceptance of each other and also the emails sent by Pamela each day with links, feedback too.


An important part of Working Together Week is hearing recovery stories from people we support. A highlight of the week was when Ian, a person we support in one of our 24 hour supported housing services, shared with us how his love of cooking played an important part in his recovery journey.

Recovery Focus Working Together Week 2020: Ian, Person we support

I'm sort of trying to teach other people how to cook. Ian

I attended the day 2 of the Working Together week and thoroughly enjoyed the participation of people with issues similar to me, learning new coping skills, and feeling more determined to heal my anxiety disorder.

The understanding of the part played by human amygdala in the fight, flight, or freeze response and its significance in anxiety disorder caused by childhood trauma was of particular interest to me. I also found Max's story very daring and interesting, as she shared her personal experiences. Last but not the least, the meditation at the end was very relaxing and had an educational significance for me. I learnt that forgiving others is not easy. But if we learn to forgive others, we provide ourselves a better chance to use our time more constructively to our own advantage.

All and all it was a day well spent that enhanced my ability in managing my daily life more confidently.


I attended the 'Connected through Creativity' session on Monday and was very interested to learn more about the topic and word 'Creativity'. It opened my eyes to viewing the word in a more open-minded way and I realised that I am creative in ways that I maybe hadn't already realised, as it isn't just about art, drawing and painting etc.

We were given an exercise to draw around our hands on a sheet of paper and then to add to it to try to transform it into something else. I realised that I don't have the best imagination, lol! But I was very impressed to see what other people in the session had created, some of them were very eye catching! It was fun to have a go at it anyway and to be part of a group having a shared experience together.

I really enjoyed (the presenter) Grace's PowerPoint on creativity and will definitely look up some of the artists who were listed on there to learn more about them. I was very pleased and happy that I attended the session and would recommend others to do the same in the future.

Learning from Working Together Week will be used across Recovery Focus to make recovery reality for everyone we support.

Rachel Perkins, Trustee and Chair of the Working Together Committee, explains how we learn from working together in Recovery Focus services. 

Recovery Focus Working Together Week 2020: Rachel Perkins

Throughout Recovery Focus, we know that there isn't just one source of expertise of professionals, there's also the expertise of the people who use those services. Rachel

We thank all the people we support involved in these blogs, and who came to our sessions. Their input is integral to all the work that we do, and we would not be able to Make Recovery Reality without them. In the future, thinking optimistically past the pandemic, we hope to still hold a combination of face-to-face and online forums. This week’s online events really helped us to see how beneficial they are for people who, for whatever reason, prefer not to attend face-to-face events.  We are looking forward to planning the next working together week, with assistance from people we support, and to continuing to work together in our local and central services year-round.  If you want to take a look at all the social media content we put together for Working Together Week, take a look here! 

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