Richmond Fellowship (RF) was founded in 1959 by Elly Jansen, a young theology student from Holland. Taking advantage of the first Mental Health Act, she invited patients from Long Grove Hospital to leave and live with her in the community in Richmond, Surrey. This core founding belief in the concept of recovery has been the guiding light throughout RF’s journey to the present day.
During the 1970s RF pushed the boundaries further, adopting the therapeutic community model in a more formal manner. In 1973 Princess Alexandra agreed to be RF’s Patron, and in 1976 RF registered as a Housing Association.
During the 1980s RF played a significant role in groundbreaking hospital re-provision, providing new homes in the community for people across England. Another ‘first’, RF Workschemes, were created in 1984, followed by Day Centres and Workshops in 1986.
In the 1990s RF responded to the Community Care agenda with a widespread programme of development; self contained flats, Floating Support and 24 hour nursed care. RF Workschemes pioneered the QEST model of support into mainstream employment, and in 1998 RF and RF Workschemes achieved Investors in People status.
In 2000 implementation of the ten year National Service Framework for Mental Health began. 2003 saw more ‘firsts’; RF Workschemes became RF Employment & Training and successfully delivered ‘New Deal for Disabled People’; RF and RFET Service Users influenced the report of Government’s Social Exclusion Unit; Floating Support was expanded by over 300 places nationally. In 2005 the Cross Links Service, based on social inclusion and combining community and employment support, opened in Knowsley. RFET pioneered Job Retention programmes.
RF adopted a new strapline in 2006, ‘Making Recovery Reality’, reasserting its core founding values. In 2007 RF and RFET merged, consolidating the organisation’s position as a leading provider of specialist mental health services in England. In 2009/10 RF celebrated 50 years of making recovery reality with six months of national, regional and local events across the country. To coincide with the 50th Anniversary, RF updated its identity to better reflect ‘Making Recovery Reality’, and was awarded Highly Commended for Brand Development in the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2010.
RF is now one of the biggest voluntary sector providers of mental health care in England, working with nearly 9,000 people towards the achievement of the best possible quality of life for each individual. With over 120 Services across the country, we offer a wide range of housing, care, employment and community support services. Our diverse Staff Team of 967 people benefit from our commitment to ongoing training and development.