History of Recovery College

plant growing from a seed held in a hand

Recovery Colleges originated in America throughout the 1990s as Recovery Education Centres. They now exist in more than 20 countries. 

The first Recovery College in England was set up in London in 2009 and there are now more than 80 in the UK.  From starting small, they have grown to offer a huge number of courses.

Recovery Colleges take many different forms. Some are set up by the NHS, some by the third sector and some are independent. They are all funded differently however they all aim to be community facing.

Who can sign up for courses depends on the individual Recovery College. Some are open to everybody in the community and some have criteria restricted to people in secondary mental health services.

Recovery Colleges are based on the Adult Education model, which differs from a clinical approach or therapy. The personal recovery approach recognises that symptoms may not always go away and focuses on living a meaningful life despite the challenges that people may experience.

NSFT's Recovery College was set up in October 2013, with a handful of staff delivering a small selection of courses. Since then, we have expanded to offer an annual prospectus containing 40 courses. This continues to grow and evolve in response to the needs of the students.

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