Discovery Centre

About this Recovery College:

Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre is a recovery college that aims to restore hope, increase people’s sense of control over their lives and support them to take opportunities to pursue their goals, interests and aspirations.

Courses and workshops are co-produced with patients, where possible, and run across four areas. These vary in content, length and learning, and include:

  • Understanding mental health challenges
  • Recovery journey
  • Developing knowledge and skills
  • Getting involved

Co-production means that the course is designed and delivered by people with personal experience and people with professional experience. Working together in an equal partnership, the results are effective.

Located at the medium secure Dewans Centre, with a second venue for low and open wards at Café Oasis, the Discovery Centre takes its inspiration from the Nottingham Recovery College and focuses on rebuilding lives rather than reducing symptoms.

Creating links with the local community, workshops include those with Rethink Mental Health, South Devon College and an environmental art therapist.

There are also courses to help patients deal with familiar issues, like coping with low moods and depression, dealing with grief and loss, anger management and many others. The focus is on providing useful and practical advice for those using our services.

Part of the strength of the centre is in its strong focus on co-creation – working together with people who use our services to create and deliver the events. It’s proved to be a highly successful approach.

In fact, more than half of the residents at Langdon have engaged in some way with the centre. For those who don’t want to take a course, there is a large recovery library with self-help resources. Those who might need some advice can speak to a recovery coordinator who can help patients decide on the most appropriate course for their needs.

The centre reflects recovery principles in all aspects, and as a result, feedback has been very positive. “I have particularly enjoyed working with my co-producer and enjoyed the conversations that have resulted as our sessions have developed. In particular, people thinking about what recovery means to them and how they believe services can support them to work towards recovery."

The Discovery Centre is also having an impact on those who come in to deliver courses in partnership with patients. "I have greatly enjoyed co-facilitating sessions, seeing how much the participants got from them and feel I've got a great deal from it personally as well." Explained one external course facilitator.

What is a recovery college?

The recovery college model first emerge in from America. The first recovery college was set up in Arizona in 2000.

The model arrived in UK in 2010 and there are now over 30 recovery colleges across the country.  The purpose of a recovery college  is  to support  people's  recovery from  mental  health  difficulties  through  learning  and education  that is  co-produced by people with lived experience  and  people  with professional  expertise.

Recovery colleges  aim  to provide  a  safe  place  for people  to learn  new  skills  (and  expand  on existing skills)  together,  which helps  to increase  their  connection  with  others, and their  sense  of  control over their lives.

Emphasis  is  placed  on people's  talents  and  strengths, with  the  aim  of inspiring  optimism.  Students are encouraged  to consider  their opportunities  for the  future,  creating  a  culture  of personal  empowerment and an underlying  feeling  of hope.

Co-production guidelines

If you agree to co-produce a course at the Discovery Centre we hope the following guidelines will help you:

  • Make contact with your co-producer, and arrange to have a meeting.
  • Take the time to get to know your co-producer.  Generate a shared understanding, and explore different perspectives.
  • Complete the course plan template (we will provide you with a copy of this), and use it as a basis to help you both to agree on an outline for the course.
  • Make time to develop your outline, and decide what areas to expand upon.
  • Agree the actions that you will each take as a follow up from the meeting.
  • Check that your co-producer feels comfortable with their tasks, and that they will be able to access any necessary materials.
  • Arrange more meetings as necessary to ensure that you are both happy and familiar with the course and its contents.
  • Prepare a power point presentation or course materials together with your co-facilitator.
  • Remember to support your co-facilitator as much as you can, and enjoy the experience.
  • Once you have co-produced a course, take the time to review the experience.

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