Recovery colleges

We have four recovery colleges in our local districts – BarnsleyCalderdaleKirklees, and Wakefield – that offer lots of different learning opportunities to help people on their recovery journey. You can find out more about each college by looking at the links on the left of this page.  We also have a recovery college within our forensic (secure) services.

The colleges are not just actual buildings – but are a focus for how we can, by working with our local communities, provide opportunities to support people. Each college has a base, with some courses being provided here, as well as at community venues across the local area.

Courses available at the recovery colleges have been developed and are delivered by people with experience of health problems, alongside people with professional experience.

The colleges will be developing and growing all the time – building on the strengths that are already in our local communities.

What courses are available?

There are lots of different courses available at each recovery college. Some courses relate to helping people with specific issues in relation to health and others focus on helping people to learn a new skill, get involved with sport or help to set up their own social enterprise.

Courses will be developed and added to throughout the year and we will link in with our local communities to make sure that the courses we develop are those that will offer an opportunity for people to get involved in something locally that aids their recovery.

Will people be referred to a college and is it different to existing local colleges?

People may be signposted to a college but they are not referred, they choose to attend. It’s not a substitute for mainstream colleges but it can, however, provide a route on to mainstream education. The recovery colleges focus on developing people’s strengths, and helping them understand their own challenges and how they can best manage these in order to pursue their aspirations. People who come to a college may find they don’t need as many traditional health appointments.

Is recovery just about mental health?

No, we don’t think it is. The history of ‘recovery’ as a healthcare term lies in mental health services but we think it applies equally to people with physical illness, particular to anyone with a long-term condition. So, it’s for anyone who may currently be in touch with our services – including carers – or for anyone in our communities who may need to use our services in the future. A mental health programme called Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change (ImROC) has been a really useful starting point for our Trust in terms of learning, experience and evidence base for our ongoing work.

So, what is our Trust’s approach to recovery?

We see recovery as underpinning and supporting everything we already do and everything we will do in the future. It is part of our ‘day job’ but also part of our ‘change job’; transforming how we deliver our services and making improvements. It links closely to our innovative Creative Minds initiative which is all about finding creative ways to aid recovery. Ensuring recovery runs through all our services isn’t always an easy thing to do but we know we can do it if we work in partnership with people who have experience of health problems.

What do we mean by working in partnership?

Implementing recovery is all about working in partnership with our staff, our communities and organisations and groups in those communities. Most importantly it’s about working with people who have experience of health problems – we cannot do any of this work without their expertise. Sometimes you may hear this referred to as ‘co-production’ and it’s a fundamental guiding principle for us.

How can I get involved and find out more?

Explore the links on the left of this page to find out more about the recovery college in your local area. You can also keep up to date with developments by following us on Twitter @allofusinmind or ‘like’ us on Facebook

Local staff can give you more information about what’s going on near you and you’re also very welcome to get in touch with us via comms@swyt.nhs.uk