What a year it has been for Recovery Enterprises with much to reflect on and celebrate as we head into a new era blending digital technology into our real world community work.
Oasis, Cast, and Hudson and General have continued to develop and produce beautiful and nourishing vegetables, artwork and up-cycled crates and we are now also supporting a Sheffield Recovery Football Club, Sheffield Arts and Wellbeing Network and the Compassion Convoy.
Attracted by the purpose, values and strength of the Board, I joined the team in May of this year. It has been a real privilege to be involved with the wonderful network of people that is Recovery Enterprises. The Board – made up of Pam (Chair), Brendan, Julie, Nick, Andrew W and Jane joined this year by Andrew H, Ben and John has an incredible array of expertise and talents and works hard to achieve our shared ambitions.
Since 2012, the Board, Kath, Sarah, Chrissie, Tim, Richard, Ken, Anne, Keith, Michael, and many others have worked hard to lay the foundations for something very special. See Pam’s post for the story of how and why Recovery Enterprises began.
During the first few months I met many people, some with experience of living with mental health conditions, some health/care professionals and many others who have an interest in our purpose. Steve, Sarah, Toby, Tammy, Jane, Richard, Sally, Rachel, Neil, Rose, Nev, John, Kay, Ruth are just some of the people I met with a wealth of expertise, roles and backgrounds and all committed to making a positive difference.
On a daily basis I have been amazed at the skill, compassion, humility and sheer resilience of people across our networks. It makes me more determined to work with others to lift the barriers that our society and system creates to unleashing our full potential to contribute as citizens and to people who are living with mental health conditions building fulfilling lives.
We had a super AGM in early September where the whole team came together to coproduce an event which reflected warmly back on the year gone by and launched our Sheffield Flourish intentions and beautiful designs.
By September we also had two brilliant new additions to our team: Georgina, our Digital Engagement and Communications Manager, and Alison, our Digital Enterprise Administrator. Together with Brendan (Board Director and University of Sheffield), Nick (Board Director and Human), Chris (Human) they have already recruited an amazing steering group, coproduced the hub design brief and (thanks to Rony Robinson from BBC Radio Sheffield and team – listen at 1hr 10 mins here) launched the holding page and radical vision. The vision produced and spoken by Brendan really captures what Recovery Enterprises and Sheffield Flourish is here to achieve…’recognising people with mental health conditions as experts, leaders and assets…’
In October and November, thanks to Victoria at MHabitat and friends, we (a partnership see below for all those involved) received some people-driven digital innovation funding to explore what people need to live well, how digital resources might support, what gets in the way and how we could work together to lift those barriers. We learnt a lot though this process brilliantly facilitated by Mark. We tried to create an environment where everyone felt and genuinely was equally respected and where people felt able to share their ideas, insights and expertise. When Sue presented our findings at Mind Tech 2015 and referred to it as a ‘flat platform’, I really felt as a group, together, we had achieved something special which I hope we can replicate as we grow in the future. Thank you to Mark, Gemma, Karen, Mark, Nick, Brendan, Fran, Tommie, Sue, Steve, Georgina, Alison, Susan, James, Anna, Nicola, Rich and Tim and to the organisations YooMee, Patient Opinion, Tinder Foundation, Human, Storying Sheffield and the University of Sheffield, who all collaborated in this pilot. We are going to produce a call to action, some guidelines around being safe and healthy and flourishing online and a findings report in the early new year.
December has already been an exciting month for Sheffield Flourish with the first meeting of our Steering Group. Mark, Kate, Tommie, Fran, Liz, Andrew, Ben, Pam, Chris, Nick, Sue, Shirin, Chris and Chair Brendan started by developing the brief for our digital designers/builders Human. We have also launched a new volunteer recruitment launch for Creative Content Producers who will be trained and supported to go out into communities to find and tell stories around mental health and community activities. (Quick plug: we are looking for people who are curious, creative and love story telling in many different forms e.g. photography, written word, film, audio. Please do share this advert across your networks – deadline 18 Jan 2016).
Hot off the press, we are delighted to welcome Terry into our team who will be providing finance and administration support across our community enterprises. We were also thrilled to hear that we have been successful in our application for Proof of Concept funding from the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network so we will be busy in the New Year working on our sustainable business model with this fantastic support.
Throughout the year we have worked closely and been supported by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust in many ways. This is an incredibly difficult time for people working in the mental health space in the NHS but despite these pressures there are many people from senior level to frontline workers who are working tirelessly and thoughtfully to improve services and support or work with people living with mental health conditions to help build fulfilling lives.
There has been lots of time and thought put into how the Trust works alongside people living with mental health conditions for example paid peer support workers, involvement in service improvement, recruitment, education and training. We are supporting one initiative brilliantly titled the Compassion Convoy led by Tammy supported by Catherine, Diane, Steve, Richard, Toby and other colleagues. I was really touched to hear Tammy explaining how she wanted to take Paul Gilbert’s concept of compassion and spread it across the Trust, helping staff and people who are using services to understand self compassion and create a more compassionate environment.
There are other people who live/work outside of Sheffield who have (sometimes unwittingly) influenced the development of Recovery Enterprises including Ally Cameron, David Gilbert, Anne Cooper and Deborah El Sayed. Thank you for all words of wisdom and for generously sharing your knowledge and experience (all worth following on twitter/blogs).
So we end this year on a positive note having strengthened and grown our networks and resources and begun the next leg of the journey of building a blended real world and digital approach to recognising, valuing and unleashing the wonderful abundance of talents and skills of people living with mental health conditions in our city.
Next year look out for the launch of Sheffield Flourish, some wonderful short films (thank you Andrea, Gemma from Picture Story Productions and others) a mentoring programme, a learn and share event with the NHS Confed, work on digital inclusion and education and learning and a new associate fellows consultancy!
Thank you and warmest wishes to all our friends and collaborators for 2016!
Roz Davies, Managing Director
1. If you are curious, creative, and interested in story telling and helping to build a mental health friendly city do have a look at our volunteer Creative Content Producer vacancies. Deadline 18 January.
2. If you and/or your organisation are share our values and purpose please take a look at Sheffield Flourish, listen to our radical vision for a mental health friendly city and leave your email contact details. We will be in touch early in the new year