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Compass Recovery College

A Recovery College is based on the recovery principles of hope, opportunity and control and uses an educational approach to enable people to become experts in their own healthcare. They build on peoples strengths and help them to develop skills and confidence to manage their recovery journey.

National mental health policy recommends the development of Recovery Colleges as a key lever for change. There is evidence that a ‘Recovery College’ model has the potential to transform services as it shifts the emphasis from treatment and risk management to education, growth and self-fulfilment. The Recovery College is not a day centre and it does not offer treatment or care co-ordination. Instead it provides a range of courses.

In areas where Recovery Colleges have been developed they have demonstrated excellent outcomes such as:

  • Students feeling more hopeful for the future
  • Developing their own plan for managing their problems and staying well
  • Accessing mainstream course, employment or volunteering

 At the core of the Compass Recovery College is Co production:

“Co production is not just a word, it’s not a concept, it is a meeting of minds coming together to find a shared solution. In practice it involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together from the start to the end of any project that affects them”.

National Involvement Standards, National Service User Network, 2015

Compass Recovery College in Reading

The Care Act extends Reading Councils wellbeing and prevention duties beyond the needs of the 1% of Reading’s population that are eligible to be supported by mental health services.

Compass Recovery College is open to anyone over the age of 18 with lived experience of mental illness, or life challenges; their friends, families, carers and mental health practitioners and clinicians.

We provide a supportive, friendly environment, where students can learn and share experiences and ideas in confidence and comfort in order to develop skills for life.

We will do our best to meet the needs of every student that wishes to develop and take control and manage their lives

Compass Recovery College is working with partner organisations, enabling us to provide a wide range of activities for the people accessing our services. We acknowledge that mental wellbeing comes from being socially and mentally active as well helping students to gain understanding of mental health conditions.

Compass Recovery College partners include:

  • Reading Community Learning Network
  • Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust
  • Readipop – music
  • RVA, Reading Voluntary Action
  • New Directions – Adult Education
  • Sport in Mind– physical health
  • Crescent Centre – employment
  • ICgl – drug and alcohol services
  • ACRE – representing diverse communities

Compass Recovery College courses and workshops are delivered Monday to Friday, 9.30 am - 4.30 pm and are held at various locations around Reading.

All the venues have disabled access & are on regular bus routes

If you have trouble accessing courses because of mobility problems, anxiety, and/or sensory impediment, poor literacy and numeracy issues or are unable to leave the house please contact us at the address above and we can discuss your problems with you and arrange support where possible.

Compass Recovery College is a work in progress; we aim to develop the service to meet the needs of the people that work in and the people that access its courses and workshops. We will research examples of best practise in the field of recovery, discuss and action the findings and work out how we can implement new work practice in Reading.

At present people with lived experience:

  • Are members of the Recovery College Governance board
  • Compass Recovery Courses are co developed and delivered by people with lived and learnt experience of mental health issues
  • Compass peer volunteers facilitate a range of social activities in the community
  • Compass Recovery College are recruiting & training peer workers to deliver a range of new courses for 2107 

Compass Recovery College welcomes your comments, advice and ideas.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Sue Barton
Contact Position
Recovery College Lead
0118 937 3945

Where to go


Classes are run at various venues within Reading

Time / Date Details

When is it on
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm
Time of day

Other Details


Is there a charge for
using this service?


Referral required
Referral Details

Mental health problems can be very difficult to understand, not only for the individual but also the family and friends who often struggle to know how best to support them, so the Recovery College is open to them as well.

We are open to anyone of the age of 18yrs and over.

This information has been collected from third party providers therefore the Reading Services Guide, Reading Borough Council (RBC) and Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of this information and recommends that parents, carers, young people, residents and professionals check with providers regarding DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) and OFSTED registrations and CQC registrations. Information collected by Reading Service Guide; is used solely to implement and supply the Family Information Service (FIS), Special Educational Needs & Disabilities - Reading's Local Offer, Adults & Carers Support Group and Reading Youth.