Recovery Devon Board Meeting Catch-Up – Nov 2018

A quick look at the projects and tasks our board are managing in November 2018. Remember, we’re an open group. If you’d like to join our board, or just have ideas on a project, feel free to get in touch.

The Board met for its regular monthly meeting at the Exeter City Football Club. We got through our regular business in the morning, which included hearing updates about the work of the Devon and Torbay Suicide Prevention Alliance, more shortly known as “The Alliance” or sometimes “Ditspa”. Recovery Devon is affiliated to the Alliance and helps out with the management of its funds, and two of our Board members are also members of the Alliance. They reported on forging links with other local and national organisations, support for work on dangerous suicide “hotspots” like the Torridge Bridge, and  good feedback for the “Letter of Hope”. The “Letter of Hope” is an open letter reaching out to people in acute distress, which you can read at:

Letter Of Hope

And there’s more about the work of the Alliance at:

Business Planning

We stayed on after the meeting for a shared lunch, as we had set aside the afternoon for one of our regular development sessions, where we give ourselves some time to review our business plan and think more broadly about Recovery Devon’s activities, how we are doing and whether we need to be heading in new directions. We were happy to be joined for this session by the Medical Director of Devon Partnership Trust (DPT), Dr David Somerfield.  Recovery Devon is funded by DPT, and while we are an independent organisation and decide on our own activities and priorities, we work very closely with the Trust as we share so many common aims and objectives.

 We talked with David about two of our shared projects: the Recovery Learning Community, which is based in DPT but strongly supported by Recovery Devon; and the Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which is based in Recovery Devon but works as part of the Trust’s involvement strategy. Both projects have been very successful but it’s always helpful to sit back and review how they are working from time to time. Things can change very gradually without anyone really noticing from one day to the next, and it’s important to make sure that those changes are going in the right direction. For example, are some people getting more involved and others less? Are new people taking an interest? Are some parts of the work getting more difficult or more expensive to do? It was good to exchange views on this and see where we may need to take action.

David was also able to tell us more about what the Trust is concentrating on at the moment. They have to take into account national strategy and funding decisions as well as local priorities, and he explained to us about how they work with the principles of the “Five Year Forward View for Mental Health”. This 82-page report was published in 2016 and you can read it here:

It was particularly encouraging to hear from David about a number of initiatives which fit well with a recovery ethos:

  • providing a broader range of services for people struggling with their mental health, including recovery learning and “social prescribing” to help people access more community-based activities;
  • closer links between primary and secondary mental health providers so that people don’t fall into gaps in services
  • different and better ways of responding to people in crisis, including possibly more funding for crisis houses and treatment at home to avoid hospital admissions
  • ways to ease the transition out of hospital. We will be particularly interested to follow this up as Recovery Devon has been thinking about the possibility of establishing some peer support for people leaving hospital. 

That’s all for now! Our next meeting is in November. In the meantime for any further information about the Board please get in touch.


October 2018