By Holly Smith, Strategic Marketing Officer
St Mungo’s Recovery College offers our clients the opportunity to engage with learning, training and employment, and to rebuild their lives.
When the pandemic began, we were in the middle of making a film about a proposed move to a new Recovery College base in London.
But if there’s anything that I’m sure we’ve all learned in 2020, it’s that every tale can take you somewhere you didn’t expect.
So we used the opportunity for clients to talk about how the Recovery College responded to the pandemic by moving its classes online.
The four people involved, Adrian, AJay, Charles, Mincer, plus our Digital Inclusion Coordinator James, have shared their creativity and resilience every step of the way during this strange time.
They adapted to new technology, learning to work differently and navigated connections – both badly behaved internet ones, and the welcome surprises of those connections forged with others as a result of the pandemic.
AJay said: “I am glad to be part of [the film] as I really valued what St Mungo’s is doing for our community. I hope that the organisers of the digital courses continue to thrive in making sure that everyone feels valued in the community so both old and new students enjoy the experience of taking part in more classes as they get to meet more students and tutors.”
St Mungo’s Recovery College is a completely fundraised service, made possible by the generosity of our partners and donors. Pre pandemic, there were a number of College bases in London and Bristol with another set to open in Leicester.
By early June there were 24 Remote Recovery College activities for our clients to choose from, with 15 regular weekly group sessions, in addition to personalised progression coaching and employment support.
The most popular individual sessions have been the happiness and wellbeing project and creative writing, delivered through Google Hangouts and over the phone. ‘Music, arts and culture’, ‘health, wellbeing and personal development’ and Maths and English have all been popular classes. By June we had delivered 60 one to one digital support sessions to enable people to engage with the College and use their digital devices to stay connected.
One Recovery College client was supported by a progression coach to sign up to an online Level 2 diploma in counselling. This was something he had wanted to do for a number of months, to work towards his long-term ambition to work in mental health.
Reta Robinson, St Mungo’s Director of Fundraising, said: “The way the Recovery College adapted so nimbly to the challenges of the pandemic has been a real reflection of the innovation and resourcefulness of our staff, clients and volunteers.”
Gavin Benn, Head of St Mungo’s Recovery College, said: “It’s great to see more and more clients joining our remote Recovery College programme and to hear how it has supported their journey to learn, grow and be inspired, despite often challenging personal circumstances. My thanks to all those involved in making this fantastic film.”
The Recovery College is running a summer programme until 28 August and then starts its autumn term on 5 October, until 27 November.
Find out more about our Recovery College here, and watch more on YouTube. Thanks also to film makers Chocolate Films.