Recovery Colleges

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Recovery Colleges deliver comprehensive, peer-led education and training programmes within mental health services. They should be run like any other college, providing education as a route to Recovery, not as a form of therapy.

Courses are co-devised and co- delivered by people with lived experience of mental illness and by mental health professionals.

Their services should be offered to service users, professionals and families alike, with people choosing the courses they would like to attend from a prospectus.

As well as offering education alongside treatment for individuals they also change the relationship between services and those who use them; they identify new peer workers to join the workforce; and they can replace some existing services.


You can download the Recovery Colleges Briefing here

 Examples of Recovery Colleges

CNWL Recovery College (London)

The CNWL Recovery College was launched in April 2012 and is the third college of its kind to be developed in the U.K.

It builds on the national drive to create a society where people with mental health difficulties have access to the same opportunities in life as everyone else.

Our students are encouraged to be active in their own self-care and wellbeing, learn how to counteract and manage their conditions, and, equip themselves with the tools to live a happy and fulfilling life.

CNWL Recovery College prides itself on being a transformational space. We help to build support systems and strive to remove the stigma associated with mental health.The college provides a range of courses and workshops designed to:

  • Help people develop their skills and understanding
  • Help people identify personal goals and ambitions
  • Create a fun, positive and safe environment for learning and exploring recovery
  • Give people the confidence and support to access opportunities and resources available to them

The  range of educational courses, workshops and resources are available to people who use Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust’s services, their supporters (friends, family or carers) and CNWL staff. For more information go here

 Nottingham Recovery College

The Nottingham Recovery College opened its doors in May 2011, providing a range of courses to help people to develop their skills and understanding, identify their goals and ambitions and give them the confidence and support to access opportunities.

The Nottingham Recovery College aims to:

  • Provide a base for recovery resources Promote an educational and coaching model in supporting people to become experts in self care on their recovery journey Break down barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’ by offering training sessions run for and by people with experience of mental health or physical health challenges and people with professional experience.

The college brings together two sets of expertise – professional and experience – in a non-stigmatising college environment with the same systems as other educational establishments. All of the courses provided at the college are designed to contribute towards wellbeing and recovery. People who share experiences of mental health or physical health challenges teach on the courses with the intention of inspiring hope and embodying principles of recovery.

The courses are designed to put people back in control of their life, helping each person to identify goals and ambitions whilst giving the confidence, skills and support to access opportunities. They are open to adults who:

Have personal experience of mental health challenges
Care about people with mental health challenges
Are a member of staff in mental health services

The Nottingham Recovery College also has a library of varied recovery resources including books, DVDs, leaflets and internet access. All courses and use of the resource library are currently free of charge. For more information go here

 Recovery College East (Cambridge)

The college provides a collaborative, educational learning environment and aims to convey messages of hope, empowerment and opportunity to all. It celebrates strengths and successes rather than highlighting deficits or problems.

Whether you want to develop new skills or increase your understanding of mental health challenges, you will find that the college is a relaxed, friendly place to learn with lots of support on hand if you need it. For more information go here

Recovery Academy (Manchester)

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Recovery Academy provides a range of free educational courses and resources for people with mental health and substance misuse problems, their families and carers as well as health care professionals.

All of our courses focus on supporting people with their recovery and promote good health and wellbeing. The courses are useful if you are looking to increase your knowledge and understanding of mental health, improve your mental wellbeing, or simply want to meet new people while learning something new.

Who runs the courses?
The courses are co-written and co-delivered by professionals and people with mental health or substance misuse problems in order to recognise with equal importance both professional expertise and lived experience and promote our philosophy of shared learning.

Who can attend?
The Recovery Academy offers courses to:

  • Anyone who is experiencing mental health or substance misuse problems
  • Their supporters (family, friends and loved ones)
  • GMW staff, volunteers and students on placement
  • Health Care Professionals

For more information go here

 St Mungo's Broadway Recovery College (London and Bristol)

The Recovery College is an innovative project which offers a variety of free courses aimed at people who have experienced homelessness.

Recovery college Students can now enrol onto a variety of Recovery College day or weekly courses, jointly designed by, and for, clients, staff and others, in London and Bristol.

So, what is a Recovery College? The idea of Recovery Colleges developed from health services. Our Recovery Colleges provide safe and inclusive learning opportunities, supporting recovery through involvement in learning. Read more about its successes and our students' feedback in this Recovery Results Briefing.

Who can enrol? The courses are for our clients, our staff and external people who want to register. What we want are students with an enthusiasm to learn.

The courses are designed and taught with, and by their clients, at the Recovery College, which is based at 33 Rushworth Street, Southwark, London SE1 0RB, and at the Compass Centre/New Street Centre in Bristol. For more information go here

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