Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Team of the Year Award

Recovery College

Is the winner of this award

Hellesdon Hospital, Norwich 

The nomination said...

Recovery College provides a shared learning environment for all service users, carers and staff. 70% of places are reserved for carers and service users and 30% are reserved for staff members. All courses are developed and delivered by people with lived experience and learned experience. All courses are focused on personal recovery and learning self-management techniques as well as a strong emphasis on learning from each other’s experience. Recovery College empowers service users to take control of their recovery and to take opportunities and to discuss important topics such as collaborative care planning and shared decision making. It empowers staff members to learn from service user experience. Recovery College courses take place on an equal footing. We ask staff to take their badges off and you could go through a course without knowing who is who. Recovery College is an education model, not therapy, although it can be therapeutic with shared learning.  Staff often report that they have had a positive experience and that they have learned different ways of working with people and different approaches to try as well as a deeper understanding about some diagnoses.

There are very few paid tutors in Recovery College and the majority of it is delivered with clinicians from local teams taking out time in their schedules to tutor. This provides strong partnerships with clinical teams and a joined-up approach by staff, service users and carers and a respect for all knowledge bases and experience.

Recovery College is always looking to improve our services. We are looking to expand our service to be able to work with minority groups, starting with working with a homelessness project soon. Recovery College has expanded to all the wards where we have a presence in promoting recovery and delivering taster sessions to patients. Patients then continue to come to Recovery College after they have been discharged.

The Recovery College takes an active role in teaching recovery-focused sessions to mental health nurse students and social work students at the University of East Anglia and the University of Suffolk, contributing to the education of the future workforce. We also take part in extra projects with universities in order to provide insight to students around specific topics such as observations on wards. In addition to the courses in the college, we provide bespoke recovery-focused training to our clinical teams to support the development of recovery-focused practices and change in culture.

We have successfully increased the number of courses on the timetable and in development, and also increased the number of students we are reaching.

The Recovery College is unique in that it successfully models and is a shining example in the Trust of co-production being the foundation of all its work as well as a steadfast commitment to promoting and working to recovery principles. Recovery College excels in working together. Everything we do is based on the integration of lived and learned experience; respect and equity between staff and service users including collaborative decision making. All courses and reviews are co-produced and co-delivered to be able to give students different perspectives. We are constantly reviewing course material to keep it up to date.

We provide our own in-house supervision and tutor development programme for all peer tutors and staff tutors at Recovery College across all localities.

Recovery College creates a safe, accepting and non-judgmental environment consistently across five localities. Recovery College has a 98% feedback rating from service users, carers and staff that they would recommend our service. Our model provides inspiration and hope to students on their recovery journey and also provides an environment where staff students can increase their knowledge and improve their practice by learning from service users. Recovery College is an important part of students’ recovery journey alongside their clinical support. Many students feedback that we have inspired them to begin a recovery journey if they didn’t feel ready before and that we have provided a useful foundation of knowledge for them.

We are active in contributing to all four Recovery Strategy Priority Goals:

  1. We do not just work for Recovery College, we are Recovery Champions. We promote recovery by running stalls at events, by running taster sessions, by speaking at events and team meetings, by attending community group meetings and engaging with our NSFT colleagues
  2. Co-production is at the heart of everything we do. We have recently increased this by setting up a development group with representatives from staff and peer tutors or peer support workers. We will soon be developing this to include the student voice
  3. We have a Safety Planning course which we will be developing to roll out to all areas and contributing to staff training
  4. We work in partnership with the museums service and Equal Lives and there are other partnerships in development