Our history

Richmond Fellowship has been making recovery reality for more than 55 years. We’ve come a long way since those early days when we set up with one therapeutic community in Richmond, Surrey.

We’re now one of the largest voluntary sector providers of mental health support services in England.

Most recently we’ve grown our organisation into a partnership of like-minded charities, working together to inspire individual recovery nationwide. Our new group, called Recovery Focus, officially launched in October 2015.

Its membership is made up of 2Care, who joined in 2011, CAN and Croftlands Trust, who joined in 2013, My Time, who joined in 2014, and Aquarius, who joined in 2015.

1960s - 1970s

1960s

Richmond Fellowship 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 our journey to the present day.

1970s

We pushed the boundaries further, adopting the therapeutic community model in a more formal manner. In 1973 Princess Alexandra became our Patron and in 1976 we became a registered housing association.

1980s - 1990s

1980s

We played a significant role in ground-breaking hospital re-provision, providing new homes in the community for people across England. Another ‘first’, we set up RF Workschemes in 1984, followed by day centres and workshops in 1986.

1990s

We responded to the growing community care agenda with a widespread programme of development; self contained flats, floating Support and 24 hour nursed care. Our RF Workschemes pioneered the QEST model of support into mainstream employment, and in 1998 we achieved Investors in People status.

2000s

2000s

We began to implement the ten year National Service Framework for Mental Health. In 2003 RF Workschemes became RF Employment & Training (RFET) and successfully delivered ‘New Deal for Disabled People’ while our floating support schemes were expanded by more than 300 places nationally. We also influenced the report of Government’s Social Exclusion Unit.

In 2005 the Cross Links Service, based on social inclusion and combining community and employment support, opened in Knowsley and RFET pioneered Job Retention programmes. In 2006 we adopted a new strapline, ‘Making Recovery Reality’, to reassert our 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.