What is a Recovery College?
Learning together and from each other, as equals, is at the heart of everything we do.
Recovery Colleges have been around for a while and they enable people to grow beyond negative life experiences by providing opportunities learn more about them and discover a new sense of optimism, meaning and purpose in life. There now are over 90 recovery colleges in the UK and have been remarkably successful in showing how life transforming it can it can be to learn together and from each other as equals. Studies have shown that learning about our own and others experiences can also help to build stronger personal relationships and support a more complete and long-lasting recovery.
We believe that students can decide for themselves what they want to learn and what works well for them in managing their wellbeing and recovery. This means listening to what you say and having a continuous process of improvement so that we are always responsive to your needs. We have to start somewhere though so the our workshops have been co- created and co-produced in partnership with those who have lived experience of mental health challenges, their supporters, and professionals.
What makes Recovery Colleges different?
At Stepping Stones, we learn together and from each other, as equals. We especially value YOUR lived experience and most of our facilitators have also had their own life challenges, so they really do understand what it’s like to overcome these.
We work alongside any medication or therapy you may be receiving but place choice and control firmly in YOUR hands. So, when you attend Stepping Stones, it’s important to remember that you are a student. You are not a patient or ‘service user’ and we do not need to know details about any illness or diagnosis, unless you wish to tell us.
This isn’t like school either! What we offer is education in the broadest sense. All our workshops are interactive and informal. Many do not require any reading or writing and there is never any homework – although we might just ask you to practice what you have learnt.
We also limit the numbers attending courses, so you don’t feel overwhelmed or lost in a crowd! We want you to feel relaxed and safe; comfortable enough to learn, have fun and contribute when you’re ready. And we’re always open to new ideas and suggestions – especially about how we can do better.
Who is this for?
Anyone, aged 18 or over, who lives or works in the Bracknell Forest area can register with Stepping Stones and enrol in any of our courses and workshops. You don’t need to be registered with with any healthcare or statutory service and no referral from anyone else is needed.
Attending a recovery college can be very helpful if you or someone you support:
Is recovering from a diagnosed mental health illness or in recovery from any form of addiction
Is experiencing more generalised difficulties with their psychological and emotional wellbeing, e.g., anxiety, stress, low mood or is worried about becoming dependent on any substance or type of behaviour.
Is experiencing homelessness or has recently been housed
Wants to develop better life skills and feel more ready for paid or voluntary work
Wants to learn more about how to support their own and others wellbeing
Wants to share their skills, knowledge or experiences with others in the college
Each of our courses and workshops is led by a professional or peer facilitator who has been trained in the subject and may also have had similar mental health challenges. Facilitators are also carefully selected for their abilities to deliver the courses in a collaborative, supportive way. And everyone, including the facilitator, is learning from each other.
A Peer Support Volunteer or Mentor will also attend each session. This will be someone who is attending the college and their role is to support students during the workshop and afterwards. They are around anytime you need them and can help you develop your Personal Learning Plan and select courses. If you think you might be interested in becoming a Peer Support Mentor or Volunteer, we offer a comprehensive training programme and regular, personal support for you, in the form of supervision. (Follow this link for more details of our Peer Support Mentor Training Programme)