An NHS-led college, which provides free courses for people with experience of mental illness, is ‘at the forefront of a global wave’ that could transform mental health recovery.

That’s according to Mike Slade, left, Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion at University of Nottingham and chair of the
European Network for Mental Health Service.

Over the last five years, the college, based on the Glenfield Hospital site in Leicester, has supported more than 1,600 students through a growing programme of free recovery focused courses. The college is continuing to grow and expand access for people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. This summer it launched its biggest prospectus to date, with a total of 38 free courses at 11 different venues and launches a new course in Coalville for the first time later this
month. A free mindfulness course will run at North West Leicestershire District Council’s offices on Friday 22 and 29 June. It is available for anyone experiencing
mental health difficulties and also open to relatives and carers.

Professor Slade, who has pioneered research into mental health recovery, was guest speaker at a special Recovery College celebration event, to say thank you to the tutors, volunteers and partners who have played a key part in its successful growth and development.

He has been working with the college as part of a one-year pilot study called RECOLLECT, and delivered a presentation on Recovery Colleges as a Source of
Innovation and Change, sharing key findings from the project with the audience. Guests also heard from RECOLLECT researcher Rebecca McNaughton.

It is hoped funding will be secured for a more detailed five-year study, which the Leicestershire Recovery College is expected to participate in.

Recovery College student Jolyon Folkett, shared his inspirational personal recovery journey with the audience, telling them the college had been instrumental in
transforming his mental health recovery, taking him ‘from darkness to light’. The event ended with an uplifting performance by Leicester’s Britain’s Got Talent
semi-finalists the DMU Gospel Choir.

Recovery College co-manager Kate Hamill said: “Thanks to our supporters we can also celebrate how the college is making a difference to people’s lives, as the
evidence from the research study and a Trust evaluation of our work last year also confirms.”

“This was a unique opportunity to thank all the tutors, volunteers and partners for their ongoing support and commitment.”

New courses at the college this summer include a six-week exercise programme, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” and a course from the Department of Work and
Pensions providing guidance on Universal Credit and health-related benefits and financial advice.