Newcastle’s Recovery College Collective wins Bright Ideas in Health Award

Posted: 04/12/18

A Newcastle-based peer led mental health charity which offers education and support for people to meet together and build skills has won a prestigious North East healthcare award.

The Recovery College Collective (Recoco) in central Newcastle won a Bright Ideas in Health (BIHA) Award in the Service Improvement category. The prize was announced at the Bright Ideas awards ceremony which took place on Thursday 29 November at the Newcastle Gateshead Hilton Hotel with around 400 healthcare professionals attending.

Angela Glascott, Coordinator and Co-Creator of Recoco, said: “We are delighted and it’s great that mental health innovation is being recognised. We offer some understanding, skills and opportunities through peer production, but essentially what we do is assist people to recognise the value of what they already carry and how that can be used to provide inspiration and hope to others.”

Angela added: “From symptoms to superpowers, transformation takes place at Recoco and we hope that winning this award will provide our community with even more opportunities to help others.”

The Recovery College Collective is a peer led mental health charity which provides a peer delivered education and support service within a safe space. The Collective aims to equip people who have already suffered from distress with the skills and the support to help others.

Recoco offers a wide range of educational opportunities and classes, from gardening, basic IT skills and understanding psychiatry, to mindfulness, creative writing, fitness and self-esteem.

Around 1,200 people have already enrolled onto at least one of Recoco’s courses, and all classes are both completely free of charge and open to anyone who feel that the Collective’s work could benefit them. 90% of courses are delivered by former students.

As well as educational activities Recoco also provides free, peer led training to third sector and statutory organisations working in the mental health sector.

Recoco was set up with support from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and disability services across the North East. NTW was one of several organisations which came together to set Recoco up, and while Recoco is an independent registered charity NTW remains one of its key partners.

James Duncan, NTW’s Finance Director and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “I would like to congratulate the Recovery College Collective on this fantastic and richly-deserved award. This Trust is immensely proud to be a partner of this unique, brilliant and innovative charity and we are looking forward to a bright future working together.”

The BIHA awards celebrate the cutting-edge work of individuals and teams within the NHS, academia and industry, and shine the spotlight on people working to improve healthcare services through innovative problem-solving across the North East and North Cumbria. The awards are organised and hosted by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC).

Dr Nicola Wesley, Chief Operations Officer at the AHSN NENC, said: “The Bright Ideas in Health Awards never fail to amaze and inspire. The North East and North Cumbria is a hotbed of innovative thinkers and problem-solvers and these awards provide the ideal platform to celebrate the achievements of the healthcare professionals that are making a real difference across a wide range of healthcare settings.”

Dr Wesley added: “At a time when our health service is under immense pressure, it’s never been more important for us to search for solutions to address everyday healthcare challenges. We have been overwhelmed by the quality of projects taking place across our region and I would like to personally say well done to all the winners and the finalists. I’m sure they will act as inspiration for others to think outside the box and develop ideas that could ultimately help lessen the pressures on frontline NHS staff and improve patient care.”

In a statement announcing the award winners, the organisers said: “The Recovery College Collective have recognised that equipping people who have already suffered from distress, with the skills and the support to cathartically help others, is an effective, efficient and sustainable approach to increasing and maintaining wellbeing.”

The other winning ‘bright ideas’ included South Tees Hospitals NHS FT’s Blood Borne Virus (BBV) Test, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT’s  ‘Pop-Up Hospital’, a collaborative approach to reducing pressure sores through training and education from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS FT, and South Tyneside NHS FT’s ground-breaking research in endoscopy.

For more info on Recoco’s work visit

For more details on this year’s Bright Ideas in Health Awards, visit: