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NT Life Blog: December 2019

Welcome one and all to our first blog. I’m Emma, I have been volunteering for the NT LIFE Recovery College since its early days back in May. Some of you will have seen me at groups or taking notes at the drop in sessions. Some of the feedback we got at the drop in sessions was that people would like a newsletter/blog of some sort and while this will in no way be perfect please bear with me, whilst in my own unique and probably odd way, to sum up what an amazing first few months.   


If you don’t like statistics please jump this paragraph, but for those of you who, like me, are fascinated with them, here are some numbers. Since we started we have now had over 900 hours of student participation. We have also had over 140 hours volunteered by our incredible facilitators and we have registered over 130 people. Many of the groups have been so popular that facilitators have run additional sessions meaning we have nearly doubled the number of sessions provided from what we had originally planned. We have successfully run 13 courses and things like our Christmas Crafternoon sessions were so popular that the spaces filled up within days of it being announced.  

You will be relieved to hear I will stop with the numbers now, but what I really wanted to say in amongst all that was that none of this would be possible without you! The people reading this who have attended sessions or run a course, those who are new to us and just finding your feet, thank you for your involvement and making this all happen. I hope that you got something out of the experience and hope that come January when the courses resume we will see you back, trying new things or continuing with courses that you already enjoy.  

So, let’s celebrate what we have achieved so far. Here are just a handful of pictures we have gathered since September.  

These are some of the dogs who join their humans on the weekly Dogs and friends walking group. The group met on a Tuesday morning and went out and about together on walking adventures.  





Here are some of the Christmas Crafternoon creations. The group met for four weeks in November and December on a Wednesday afternoon, listened to Christmas music and made different Christmas themed items.  





On the left is one of the pictures from the writing group which met every Tuesday morning. While to the right is a picture from the art group that met on a Tuesday afternoon. 





We always want to hear what feedback everyone has. If you think there is anything that we could do better or any courses you would like to see us running please send an email to ali.donkin@voda.org.uk. In addition if you have had a good experience could you please leave us some feedback on the Healthwatch North Tyneside website here. This is so that people who search for us online will get a better understanding of who we are and what we do.  



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North Tyneside LIFE: New Recovery College is here!

A new volunteer-led service has launched in North Tyneside, offering a programme of free courses and workshops aimed at the self-management of mental health and wellbeing.

Created in consultation with over 80 individuals, mental health professionals, charities and voluntary organisations, NT LIFE is the new Recovery College for North Tyneside and is launching from its new base at The Hub in the Linskill Centre, North Shields this September.

Recovery Colleges offer educational courses about mental health and recovery, which are designed to increase students’ knowledge and skills and to help them feel more confident in the self-management of their own health and wellbeing. Delivered in a safe and friendly community setting, courses and workshops are co-produced and designed by individuals who have lived experience of challenges with their own mental health, and who want to pass on their LIFE learning, skills and knowledge to help others.

Ali Donkin, North Tyneside Recovery College Coordinator said: “We are extremely proud and excited to launch NT LIFE, which stands for Learning Experiences From Everyone. We have been busy since June of this year developing a programme which meets the needs of local residents and supplements existing mental health and wellbeing support available. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended our drop-in sessions and who contributed their stories, input, opinions and feedback on how the College should be shaped. Everything from the name to the logo, course content, timings and prospectus have been co-produced by the students, volunteers and professionals who we will be working with to make NT LIFE a success.”

A series of workshops and courses are now available between September and December 2019 with a range of one-off events, weekly sessions and longer-term courses on topics including mindfulness, positive thinking, resilience, confidence building, creative writing, walking football and netball, and lots more. There are also a wide range of volunteering opportunities available as part of the College with roles in administration, enrolment, course delivery and co-facilitation. Ali goes on to say: “NT LIFE relies on the support of volunteers to deliver courses and provide continued support to its day-to-day running. We absolutely champion the ‘expert by experience’ approach and believe that those people with lived experience of mental health recovery and wellbeing can be best-placed to support those who are struggling or need some support. We’d love to hear from anyone – potential students, volunteers or professionals who want to know more and get involved in NT LIFE!”

Funded by North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and hosted by North Tyneside VODA, the Recovery College courses are free and available to North Tyneside residents aged 18 and over.

For more information, including how to enrol, course details and volunteering opportunities, visit the NT LIFE section of our website or contact us for more information.


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