“Our best yet” – that was the feeling all round as we wrapped up this year’s Celebration Day and AGM.

With the classroom packed to standing room only, our community of goodwill gathered among the pumpkins and apples at West Town Farm to harvest the fruits of a year’s recovery.

Development Fund winners each made presentations. Listeners were moved to tears by the stories of courage, creativity, and companionship that were shared as the day went on. We heard from:

We also heard news from Development Fund winners of years gone by; Happy to Share, and the Lions Barber Collective. CEO James Wooldridge said, “It just goes to show that for the want of a few hundred pounds, something enduring can grow from a whole lot of goodwill and passion.”

Our friend and colleague Ian Henwood gave a moving speech concluding his 4 years building and managing our Lived Experience Advisory Panel.

Ian has dedicated his expertise to the design and delivery of our LEAP project, which consults with those with lived experience of severe mental illness on service design.

Ian was keen from the start to ensure those experts were properly valued and compensated for their consultation.

 

He shared how his personal story led him to Recovery Devon, and what the LEAP project had meant to him; “it’s about changing the question from ‘what’s the matter with you,’ to ‘what matters TO you,’ and I hope that ethos continues in the new Together project.”

We have loved working with Ian and wish him all the very best for the future.

After heartfelt conversations over a hearty chilli lunch, a newsround of the year covered our new anthology Riding the Storms, details of our new Community Development Worker vacancies, presentation of our Annual Report, and a teaser for next year’s Recovery Rising conference.

All that remained was a wellbeing walk together in good company around the beautiful Devon countryside.

A note from our CEO

Our Celebration Day & AGM is the biggest day on Recovery Devon’s calendar and today has been the best yet!

I would like to thank every single person who joined us at West Town Farm where we were privileged to hear many inspirational personal stories from those who took part and helped deliver this year’s Recovery Development Fund projects.

Thanks also go to our many guests, many of whom made new friends and connections as were handsomely fed and watered by our kind hosts at organicARTS.

Early feedback speaks of the welcoming atmosphere, relaxed informality and being a safe space to share.

I’d also like to thank all of the Recovery Devon board members who offered their support and friendship throughout the day.

On a personal note, I am both hugely encouraged and increasingly hopeful for the future if the spirit of today can be carried forward. It is by creating opportunities for healthy relationships and by maintaining strong connections that we will grow, develop and sustain Devon’s Recovery Community.

Best Recovery Wishes,

James Wooldridge

Thank you to everyone who helped make our 2019 Celebration Day such a success.