Specialist recovery college opens doors to public

Published: 07 December 2018

The council’s community mental health team is holding its Stronger Together open morning for its specialist college at Arbour Park Community Sports Stadium next Friday (14 December).

Hope College is a recovery college, delivering educational courses and activities to people with mental health conditions.

The purpose of the college is to provide hope, opportunity and control for every student, as they embark upon their recovery journey.

A main ethos is supporting individuals in having a life no longer dominated or centred on their illness or disability, and enabling them to reach their full potential.

At the college, mental health professionals focus less on symptom reduction and more on empowering students to find a satisfying and meaningful life.

Students, who come to the college on a referral basis, attend courses and workshops which are co-facilitated and co-created by people with first-hand experience of mental illness.

Through a diverse weekly schedule, students gain support in structuring a routine, social support, life skills, how to better manage their mental health and more.

Courses and activities run by the college include:

• knowledge and understanding of mental health conditions, plus how to identify triggers, managing stress, how to keep well, challenging stigma and how to be more assertive
• looking after your physical health, plus a range of sports, from Tai Chi to tennis
• finding your artistic voice and expressing your thoughts and feelings through painting, poetry, photography and more, with Slough charity Art Beyond Belief
• cooking on a budget, learning how to grow and cook vegetables, healthy eating and food and mood
• singing for health
• support and training for carers and those looking to gain employment, plus social sessions where people can have a coffee and chat.

There are also opportunities for students to become peer mentors, where they can apply their own experiences of mental health to support others.

During the open morning, visitors will have a chance to find out more about the courses, workshops and activities set to run during the January – March term next year. They will also be able to meet the team, as well as enjoy taster sessions run by peer mentors.

Additionally, the college’s choir, The Vibe Tribe, will be performing at midday and encouraging guests to take part in festivities.

The open day is part of #NotAlone, the council and Slough Wellbeing Board’s campaign to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health.

The initiative, which launched on this year’s World Mental Health Day, aims to raise mental health awareness in Slough and the importance for everyone, whatever their age or situation, to ensure they take time to look after their own mental health.

Much like the college’s work, #NotAlone wants to help people in the borough identify proactive ways to address their situation, focusing on what a person can do, instead of what they can’t.

The campaign also aims to play a part in ending the mental health stigma and normalising mental health, as people should not feel the need to apologise for their situation or how they’re feeling.

Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “The work of Hope College and the #NotAlone campaign is extremely important, as nobody should feel alone and unsupported, whatever their situation, but particularly if they have a mental illness.

“Looking after your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health, and in Slough we are championing the diverse and practical curriculum offered at Hope College.

“Come and visit the open day to see the fantastic work of our students, as well as hear from our staff and peer mentors on the wonderful work by Hope College.

“And to get us into the seasonal spirit, the talented Vibe Tribe will be leading us in a traditional sing along!”

For more information, and if you’re interested in attending the open morning, contact the recovery team on 01753 690 950.