Celebration of Recovery - 28 November 2023

Our Recovery College launched in 2013 and we are pleased to be 10 years old. We would like to invite you to join us for a day of celebration on the 28 of November in Norwich. 

We started with delivering a small selection of courses and we have proudly expanded to offer an annual prospectus containing 40 courses. We are consistently growing and continue to support more people across Norfolk and Suffolk. We will be celebrating the success of all students and staff achievements during this time.

How can I book a ticket? 

If you are a student, please book one via the self-booking portal or email us at RecoveryOnline@nsft.nhs.uk to book your ticket. 

If you are NSFT staff or from another organisation, please book one via Eventbrite.

What will happen at the event? 

We will be celebrating mental health recovery, hope and empowerment. We will be having:

  • An exciting line up of guest speakers (featuring Jonny Benjamin, Neil Laybourn, Mary Leamy)
  • Recovery stories
  • Bitesize workshops
  • Stalls
  • Buffet lunch


Car parking spaces and public bus stops are available outside of  the venue.

Please refer to this link in regards to coming by car, bus or train: https://www.thespacenorwich.com/attending-an-event

Guest speakers

Keynote speakers

Sir Norman Lamb

Portrait of Sir Norman Lamb

Sir Norman Lamb was Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk from 2001-2019 and served as a Health Minister in the Coalition Government from 2012-2015. In 2019, Norman became Chair of the Advisory Board of Kooth, the longest established digital mental health provider in the UK, and received a knighthood for his mental health campaigning. Since leaving Parliament, Norman has established a Norfolk mental health and wellbeing fund, bringing together a coalition of local charities and community groups supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and become Chair of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Neil Laybourn 

Portrait of Neil Laybourn

Neil is a renowned public speaker, mental health ambassador and expert consultant. Neil started his journey from humble origins beginning in 2014, when Neil's intervention of a public suicide attempt was recognised through a Pride of Britain award. The following year, Channel 4 told this powerful story in the award-winning 'Strangers on the Bridge' documentary, which has reached millions of viewers across the globe. In recognition of Neil's mental health campaigning and advocacy work, he has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Bristol University. 

Jonny Benjamin MBE

Portrait of Jonny Benjamin

Jonny Benjamin MBE is a mental health campaigner, author, filmmaker, and founder of the charity, Beyond. At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar, and later began making films on YouTube about the condition that have been watched by over a million people. His 2014 social media campaign to successfully find Neil Laybourn, a stranger who talked him out of jumping off a bridge when he was suicidal, went viral and led to the two becoming prominent spokespeople on suicide prevention. Jonny has talked publicly about living with mental illness around the world to help educate and break stigma in settings such as Yale University, The Empire State Building, and Kensington Palace. He also produced and presented documentaries on BBC Three and Channel 4, including multi award-winning The Stranger On The Bridge . In 2017, Jonny co-founded the workplace conference This Can Happen , and subsequently helped setup the social enterprise Speaker’s Collective in 2018. In the same year, he co-founded the youth mental health charity, Beyond . Each February, they hold a wellbeing festival for schools and colleges , as well as giving grants to provide mental health support for young people across the UK. Jonny has written 3 books, including a book of poetry, Pill After Pill . His most recent paperback, The Book of Hope , was published in 2022.

Dr Mary Leamy

Portrait of Dr Mary Leamy

Dr Mary Leamy is a psychologist by background. Her PhD was in mental health research: 'Community Psychiatric Nurses' empowerment of people with Serious and Enduring Mental Health Problems'. Mary is currently a Senior Lecturer at Kings College London in Mental Health Recovery and Staff Wellbeing. 

Amanda Green

Portrait of Amanda Green

Amanda is currently a PhD student at King’s College London where she is supervised by Dr Mary Leamy and Professor Alan Simpson.  Her PhD is a realist evaluation of Safety Planning: a recovery-orientated mental health risk management intervention. She also has an MSc in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion from University of Hertfordshire. Amanda began work in NSFT as a Peer Support Worker in 2013 and was one of the founding peer tutors of the Recovery College. In 2020 she became Peer Support Lead and is currently working as Lived Experience Programme Lead for Model of Care + . She is part of National and International Lived Experience Leadership Networks and is often called upon to speak at conferences. Most recently she provided a Keynote speech for the rehabilitation psychiatry conference in Lyons, France and presented her autoethnographic research at the Refocus on Recovery International Conference in UK 2023.

Other speakers 

Juni West - Research Development Lead Older People's Services & Discovery Project 

Corinna Hackman - Research Development Lead Adult & Discovery Project 

Rhiannon R - Assistant Practitioner and Recovery College Tutor 

Hope Gunn - Practitioner Tutor & Discovery College 

Taster sessions

You will have the opportunity to attend two half-hour workshops — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. 



Wellness Planning  

Taster of the highly rated five week course. This looks at everyday behaviours and activities that help to keep us well, specifically, how to make the most of your strengths and resources. 

Image of tutor

"This course helped me in ways I never expected to be helped. We developed good relationships over the few weeks which enabled trust and openness. It was informative and inspiring" 

Creativity for Wellbeing 

Taster of the two week course which explores how creativity can be beneficial for recovery. It recognises the ownership of personal creativity and how this can contribute to personal recovery and sustained wellbeing. Previous experience is not needed. 

Wellbeing tree

"I enjoyed the comfort to be myself without judgement. I found out about how creative I can be"

Introduction to Yoga

Taster of the popular four week course where you will experience how yoga can create a sense of calm and positivity. You will have an understanding of how yoga will be able to help your personal recovery. You do not need experience of yoga to take part as all levels of fitness can be accommodated. 


"Being active was helpful for my mental health recovery. I learned I could do things I didn't think I could."


ACT on Life 

Taster of the Webinar and four week course exploring the ideas behind the ACT approach: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training. It looks at exploring personal values and how to live in line with them. 

Man with woman

"This helped me understand the concepts of ACT very quickly. There were lots of practical exercises. The diffusion techniques were very helpful and mindfulness exercises also added good variation."

How to Tell Your Story 

Taster of the four week course. This helps people to understand their story. It covers how your story can be told in a safe way and how to develop your story. 

Man writing on paper

"There was no pressure to share and I could learn at my own pace. Everyone's voice was heard. I appreciated how the peer tutor opened up about their lived experience. It was really inspiring and gave me a lot to think about" 

Understanding and Exploring Identity 

Taster of the three week course. This is designed for people who want to discover more about their identity and extend their recovery learning. 

Image of tutor

"I found it useful to hear about other peoples experiences. This helped build on my own recovery. This course was very applicable for me as I struggle a lot with a sense of self." 

Introduction to Boxing 

Taster of the four week course. Physical activity can benefit mental health recovery. These are friendly and relaxed sessions with students going at their own pace. You will learn basic boxing skills and techniques. 

Woman wearing boxing gloves

"I felt so good after the session. It motivated me with other tasks in my life."

Success stories



“Listening to other students, helped me realise I was not alone with my thoughts and feelings.” 

“Meeting other people with similar experiences has helped me to feel less alone and to feel more connected again.” 

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