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A project by the ²gether NHS Foundation Trust is one of 30 from across the UK to be chosen for a national initiative to improve the quality of healthcare.

The projects selected for the Health Foundation’s Shine programme are testing new approaches to delivering healthcare that will either support patients to be active partners in their own care, improve patient safety or improve quality while reducing costs.

The ‘Coaching for Recovery’ project by ²gether will see the establishment of academic style courses at venues in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, educating people with long term mental health conditions on ways they can improve and maintain their wellbeing.

Project lead and mental health nurse Tim Coupland, of ²gether, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as one of just 30 projects nationally to participate in the Health Foundation’s Shine programme this year.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to look at a new approach to recovery from mental illness and we are hopeful we can have a real impact in assisting lasting improvement for those who attend.

“We’ll be setting up ‘pop up’ recovery colleges from the summer onwards. There are very few of these running within the UK, so people in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire will be part of something at the very cutting edge of mental health recovery.”

Dr Jane Jones, Assistant Director at the Health Foundation, said: “Innovative approaches are required to tackle the challenges that we are facing today in healthcare. We want to encourage innovators in the service to lead the way in thinking differently and to show how new approaches can deliver better healthcare.

‘This year we have chosen the 30 best innovative ideas, selected from a large number of applicants. The project teams will have the challenge of demonstrating the practicality of their ideas and show that they can improve quality and reduce costs with the potential to have high impact when scaled up across the UK. Our aim is to share and promote the most effective innovations to the clinical and managerial leaders of the UK healthcare system and policy-makers.”

This latest round of the Shine programme is the largest ever run by the Health Foundation. It has 30 project teams, selected from a high number of quality applications from across the health service.

Over 15 months, the teams will develop and test their approaches, put their ideas into practice and gather evidence about what works and what doesn’t. Each team will receive £75,000 of funding and a package of support from the Health Foundation.

By the end of 2014 the Health Foundation will have learnt about the different innovations, including those that have the potential to be spread more widely across the UK.

The project by ²gether will lead to one ‘pop up’ recovery college being established from the summer onwards in each of the following areas – East Gloucestershire, West Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Each college will run for a maximum of five days, with approximately 15 ‘students’ attending each course.

The colleges will enable students to learn more about mental health conditions and how to take control of their own recovery. Rather than being a form of therapy or formal medical treatment, the courses are about becoming experts in self-care.

To read more about the Health Foundation and Shine please click here