September2 2020 | Page 20

RECOVERY CENTRE OF WELLBEING A new recovery enterprise aims to be more than just a ‘bolt-on’ to mainstream services, as Jamie Gratton explains In 2020, the time of global crisis, we expect to hear news of companies closing down rather than starting up. However, Staywell Derby CIC is bucking that trend with a vibrant new community-focused social enterprise, set up by a passionate team whose members all have lived experience of mental health, addiction, homelessness and trauma. From Derby city centre, Staywell brings together a wide variety of people and businesses who all have the same goal – to create a safe space for people to heal, grow and develop. The idea started around ten years ago, based on the notion of a recovery community organisation (RCO), which uses lived experience of those who are in recovery from addiction to help those who are still struggling. We extended this to a wider wellbeing ethos and decided that a proactive approach to wellbeing was vital, especially during these difficult days. Everything we want to achieve is based on the seven pillars of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational. This allows us to grow and be a small part in not only an individual’s wellbeing journey, but also to help improve the wider community’s wellbeing. The lived experience approach means we can incorporate experience from our past to empathise and understand what people are experiencing better. As David Gilbert says in The Patient Revolution, ‘The magic comes when the wisdom gained during suffering meets the wisdom gained when one got lost in the first place... to create something deeper – an enriched expertise.’ We’re passionate about recovery and wanted to use our lived experience to compliment the work that services do around the area – a proactive approach to get people looking after their own wellbeing. We know we can’t catch everyone, but we can help the over-stretched services in Derby. We’ve already got a great partnership with CHIME to Thrive, a user-led organisation which shares the same ethos on patient leadership and community approaches to wellbeing. Here, lived experience practitioners support individuals struggling with their mental health, addiction and trauma, while the social enterprise provides consultancy and training to organisations around co-production, peer support, trauma, and compassionled approaches to mental health. We have already received amazing support from organisations like Community Action Derby, and Praxis Probiotics CIC are helping us to develop the café, with their focus on nurturing both health and change and their like-minded passion about community. Our building will be community focused and led, with a ‘safe space’ coffee shop and community kitchen and Staywell Derby ambassadors on hand. These lived experience volunteers will have training in everything from wellbeing support to referrals, and will be able to help people tell their story in a positive way. With the vibrant café and wellbeing ‘get away’ space downstairs, the first floor will house a wellbeing academy with A wider wellbeing ethos and... proactive approach to wellbeing is vital, especially during these difficult days all kinds of different courses to build creativity, learning skills and confidence. The academy will help people to set up support groups and there will also be a live feed to access our courses for people who are housebound or can’t get to the Staywell Derby wellbeing hub. At the top of the building a community hub will have space for small grassroots projects to hire out or hot desk, with everyone sharing the same ethos. The project’s directors, including Lauren Jones, Pippa Nayer, Rosa Beue Parry and Kelly Carson, are all passionate about bringing their lived experience to the table to help others. I’ve had my own battle with addiction and homelessness, and have been in recovery for 20 years, so I’m passionate about challenging stigma. Working in the community, and also within the public sector and services and as a social prescriber in the NHS, has further fuelled this. Even without COVID-19 there’s always been a need for a proactive approach. There’s great work being done throughout the city but we want to make sure lived experience is not just an add on – we can give a whole new dimension to support and help. Lockdown has increased people’s emotional and wellbeing issues and we can help people who wouldn’t normally go into services get back on track. Jamie Gratton is Staywell Derby’s founder and operations director. The group is inviting involvement from other social enterprises and grassroots projects, and is looking for volunteers – visit https:// 20 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • SEPTEMBER 2020 WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM