Friday 28th February was the inaugural certificate presentation ceremony of Solent Recovery College (SRC). SRC began offering 13 recovery-focused courses in September 2013 and 145 students have successfully completed courses.
The event took place at the Highbury College Campus in Portsmouth and was attended by Professor Geoff Shepherd, Senior Policy Adviser of the Recovery Programme at the Centre for Mental Health and programme leader of imRoc. Professor Shepherd took the opportunity to speak about the widespread benefits for organisations, peer trainers and students that recovery colleges can bring, as well as the positive changes in attitudes that they can help create within local communities.
Students were presented with certificates, with many of those receiving awards having completed more than one course since the recovery college opened in September. The ceremony marks the first successes of a project RF Portsmouth has been proud to be a strong partner in, working alongside Highbury College of Further Education and Solent NHS trust.
There are now 18 recovery colleges in the UK but Solent Recovery College is the only one thus far to operate from a full time FE college campus. The initiative has the full support of Portsmouth City Council, who provide funding for peer trainers. It’s also a contributing factor in Richmond Fellowship being the largest employer of peer support staff in the city, and we provide both paid and volunteer peer workers to co-design and co-deliver all the courses alongside mental health professionals from Solent NHS Trust, including a consultant and a local GP as well as staff from CMHTs.
The next year will see further development of SRC, with a programme of courses for the spring term already being delivered and further courses proposed for 2014-15. Courses are open to people who use mental health services in Portsmouth, their carers and supporters and staff from the three partner organisations. Portsmouth City Council have also recently agreed an extension to RF’s support and recovery contract, which will ensure the partnership can continue to thrive and Solent Recovery College can go from strength to strength.