News and Views

Below you'll find all the latest news, views and stories from across Recovery Focus.

For comment, interviews, case studies or information journalists should contact our communications team on: or phone: 0207 6973 342.

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Recovery Focus Annual Review 2017/18 out now

The Recovery Focus annual review for 2017/18 is now available.

It’s been a busy 12 months with a new partner joining Richmond Fellowship, our evolving Working Together group and a range of new services opening.

There’s a look at some of the exciting developments across the Group, from The Old Moat Garden Centre to the SHANTI Project and the expansion of our mental health crisis support, plus feedback on what recovery means to our staff, volunteers and people we support.

There’s also an update on our success at winning and retaining contracts and our achievements against quality standards.

To download your copy, click here.

Derby City Life Links – A new mental health service for Derby

A new Mental Health Service for Derby launched last Monday (1st October). The service, named Derby City Life Links is a peer support and recovery service that brings together those currently receiving mental health support and those with lived experience of mental ill health to support others with similar needs.

Derby City Life Links will provide a range of support tailored to each individual’s personal goals around their mental health and wellbeing, such as achieving stability; pursuing voluntary work or employment; or managing their wellbeing. A key element of the service is peer support, connecting people with lived experience of mental ill health to support others with similar needs.

A dedicated website and information line will help those looking for resources and local groups, helping people to identify the types of support available to help them with mental health needs and general wellbeing, including sport and leisure activities.

The service, jointly funded by Derby City Council and Derbyshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group has awarded the operation of the service to a national mental health charity, Richmond Fellowship. The charity already has a local and national presence, supporting those with mental ill health.

Richmond Fellowship will work with local organisations, such as Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, to offer support and provide information to enable people to learn more about mental health conditions, manage their own mental health, and identify what works for them.

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing said:

It is great news that we have been able to launch a new community support service for mental health in Derby. It is great that residents will be empowered to play an active role in delivering support to others and maintain their own wellbeing. This service forms an important part of the Council and NHS’s plans to promote the independence, safety and wellbeing of people with mental health needs.

Joe Redmond, Managing Director of Richmond Fellowship (North) said:

This is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our mental health support in Derby, and we’re delighted to offer a space for peer support and building links across Derby. The new Life Links service will complement the other Richmond Fellowship services already operating in the local area and ensure we can reach out to even more people in the community as possible.

David Gardner, Head of Mental Health Commissioning at Derbyshire’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups commented

The CCG is pleased to support this joint initiative which recognises the importance of peer support  to recovery and stability. The service will be valuable for people who have had mental health problems for a long time, as well as people who have had experienced more recent episodes of mental health difficulty. The service gives GPs more support options to offer people who present at our practices in Derby. The scheme supports our Strategic Plan to promote ways in which people can participate in managing their health problems and reduces reliance on community psychiatric services.

For more information visit the Derby City Life Links website or call 0800 032 2202.


Recovery Focus signs up to Big White Wall

Recovery Focus has teamed up with online service Big White Wall to provide anonymous support to all staff and individuals using its partner services.

Big White Wall is an online early intervention service for people in psychological distress. The service combines social networking principles with a choice of clinically informed interventions to improve mental health and wellbeing.

It can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has wall guides who ensure the full engagement, safety and anonymity of all members.

Staff and those using Recovery Focus’ partner services (Richmond Fellowship, Aquarius, DVIP and My Time) have been encouraged to sign up to the free web portal.

Mary Wishart, Group Director of Business Development at Recovery Focus said:

“We’re really proud to be teaming up with Big White Wall to offer this fantastic service free of charge to everyone at Recovery Focus. As a Group, we’re committed to the wellbeing of both staff and those using our partner services.”

Steph Evans, Chief Operating Officer at Big White Wall said:

“We’re delighted to begin a new partnership with Recovery Focus to provide 24/7 digital mental health support to their staff and people using its services. It signals an exciting and fresh move in the third sector to support those providing vital care for the wider population across the UK, highlighting that Recovery Focus are committed to staff wellbeing. For people they support, our immediate access and round the clock availability provides an additional level of support to those who need it most. We’re looking forward to working together and supporting Recovery Focus with the amazing work they do.”

To find out more about Big White Wall, see

DVIP joins the Recovery Focus Group

Today (Monday 2nd July 2018), the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) announced that it has joined the Recovery Focus Group as a division of its largest partner, Richmond Fellowship.

For over 25 years, DVIP has delivered vital services and actively campaigned to end violence against women and girls. Today the London-based charity continues to provide essential services to hold perpetrators to account, end their abusive behaviour and support survivors to create greater space for action and safety for them and their families.

DVIP will work closely with other national partner charities involved in the Recovery Focus Group to identify new and innovative ways to support individuals and families affected by domestic abuse, mental ill health and drug and alcohol use.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Recovery Focus, said:

“Today is an extremely exciting day for the Recovery Focus Group and we are delighted to announce DVIP as our newest Group partner. DVIP has a long and proud history of working with families affected by domestic violence and prides itself on leading campaigns to end domestic violence for good. We very much welcome DVIP to our Group and look forward to working with the team in the future to shape new ways of working which inspire recovery in the areas of mental health, drug and alcohol use and domestic violence.”

Marianna Tortell, Managing Director of DVIP, said:

“DVIP is happy to confirm our new partnership with the Recovery Focus Group. Our new Group partners all share a passion and desire to support individuals and families affected by issues such as domestic violence and are committed to working alongside communities to inspire recovery nationwide. Those values reflect what DVIP has been working towards for over 25 years and we look forward to working with our new partners in the future to find new ways to improve the lives of the communities we support. As a proud feminist organisation for over 25 years, DVIP looks forward to working with our new Group partners to continue to work towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls”

DVIP joins Richmond Fellowship, the national mental health charity; Aquarius, the Midlands based drug and alcohol charity; and My Time, a division of Richmond Fellowship, as part of the wider Recovery Focus Group.

Formed in 2015, Recovery Focus is a Group of charities highly experienced in delivering services for people living with mental ill health, drug and alcohol use and domestic violence to achieve their ambitions. All of the partners involved in the Recovery Focus Group believe that with the right support, at the right time, they can meet the shared vision of inspiring individual recovery nationwide.

Edge Hill supports mental health service users through new partnership

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.

Read more

Blog: Grazina Berry on how coproduction inspires recovery

Grazina-Berry-executive-director-of-performance,-quality-and-innovationAs 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

Coproduction – Andrew’s story

Andrew began working for Richmond Fellowship in 2011. As a Recovery Worker he supports people using our services across Durham.

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

Coproduction – Simon’s story

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.

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.”