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Recipe for Success: The e-resource

When the team at Hackney Community College won the Association of Colleges Beacon Award (2010) for Widening Participation for its work  with students with mental health problems they decided to share their award with the sector by  commissioning a guide to effective practice.

'Recipe for Success' is the result. It is a collection of 'recipes' gathered together from 6  general further education (FE) colleges with established  provision to support  students (and staff) in FE  who have experience of mental health problems.

It is designed to be used as an online resource (rather than a document that you print out). This PDF is  the tip  of the iceberg. Clicking the hyperlinks in the right hand sidebar of each recipe will take you to additional online information from each of the colleges providing a rare glimpse of declaration rates, the services they offer, in-house resources and policies, work in progress and the things currently on their 'to do' lists. 

With a sense of celebration, empathy and humour, the collection illustrates how colleges work to empower and celebrate the success of their learners with mental health difficulties. The working title we gave this resource fairly early on was 'Cooking up a Storm'  because the idiom conveyed the sense we got  that things are really beginning to get moving in this area of practice and it captured the energy, passion and creativity staff expressed for their work and learners described in their learning experiences.

Many of the issues identified in the former Learning and Skills Council's mental health policies have been taken on board by these college providers. There is evidence that research and resources produced to support  the local implementation of national policy have influenced and been embedded into practice. It is now possible  not only to describe for FE colleges  the key components of effective practice but also how they can be used in different amounts and sometimes quite different ways to support  people with mental health difficulties to succeed in FE.  

In  conclusion we present a discussion about  how, as these services develop and mature, a number of key challenges come into focus. These highlight why it may now be time for us to also be clearer about what doesn't work and to develop, with our mental health service partner agencies, a deeper understanding of the issues and the FE sector's responses in terms of what is effective policy and practice and how and why we need to ensure these are confluent with a recovery based approach to mental health.

 We would  very much like to hear what you think of the 'recipes'  and ideas it contains. 

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If we have inspired you to create your own recipe for success we have included the original questionnaire we sent out to colleges  in the virtul library and we've produced a recipe template (use it to create a great activity for planning, team building, staff training, service review and with learners).

If you would like to submit your recipe for inclusion in the online collection simply use the contact us form or email it to us at the-team@mhfe.org.uk.

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Barrett, C and Creed, A
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