South Essex Recovery College Evaluation

Kaminskiy, Emma and Moore, Stephen (2015) South Essex Recovery College Evaluation. Project Report. Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK.

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This report covers an evaluation that took place between March 2014 and March 2015, of the South Essex Recovery College (SERC). The programme follows an adult education model that aims to deliver open, peer led recovery workshops and courses. If was set up with the primary goal to encourage people with mental health conditions to become students, enabling them to better understand their own challenges, and how they can best manage these in order to purse their aspirations. It facilitates the learning of skills that promote greater self-confidence and recovery. SERC, endeavoured to design and develop a college that embraced the values of recovery colleges elsewhere, notably in encouraging that people become experts in their own self-care, and prioritising lived experience at all stages and levels in its development. A broad evaluation framework using a mixed-methods process and outcome-oriented approach was adopted. Data was collected in a number of ways: structured self-completion questionnaires, written feedback about the programme from participants, focus groups, and follow up interviews with peer facilitators. Findings are presented against four key areas: 1) The overall management and structure of the pilot program, its organisation and growth. SERC, after a long and delayed pilot program, offers three courses, over 6 deliveries (3 x Introduction to Recovery; 2 x Taking Back Control; and 1 x Be You). It has met six of its set objectives, and compares poorly to other exemplar recovery college pilots elsewhere in the country. Areas where the recovery college showed poor performance against its set objectives was in the growth and promotion of the college, development of new courses, and volunteer recruitment. 2) The experiences of participating in the programme (process). Findings across both questionnaires and discussion as part of the focus groups demonstrate that the experience of attending the Recovery College was overwhelmingly positive, for most. Importantly, the courses offered participants tools and new skills and hope for the future, a sense of belonging, a way to meet others and make friendships. This was very important for overcoming anxieties associated with starting the course. Participants wanted a dedicated space to grow the college further, and enhance the sense of community that the college afforded. 3) Changes over time following participation (outcomes). The Questionnaire about the Process of Recovery (QPR, O’Neil et al, 2008) was used to measure a change in recovery outcomes before and after course attendance. No significant difference between QPR responses before course attendance (3.22, SD= .56) and after the course (3.45, SD=.57), t(17)= -1.694, p>.05 was found. Other bespoke questions were included to explore the student’s perceptions of how attending the course affected aspects of their personal recovery. Across all courses, 61% of students reported feeling more hopeful for the future because of attending the course. 4) The impact of peer trainers and co-production on the process and outcomes. Having peer facilitators, who themselves have experience of mental health problems, was seen as very important. Participants across both focus groups highlighted that the use of peer facilitators was a particularly helpful aspect of the course, offering increased hope for the future and feelings of being able to give back, following the course. Peer facilitators reflected on how the change in identity from student to peer facilitator was challenging, and further support and training was needed. However it was also seen as a personal achievement, rewarding and had increased personal confidence Six recommendations are provided to guide further development of the college, and act as a benchmark to measure further development and the future success of SERC.

Item Type: Research Report or Working Paper (Project Report)
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 11:37
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2022 09:44

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