The Collegiate Recovery UK project was awarded an SSA Engagement Grant in 2023, and has now launched a website and free collegiate recovery toolkit.

Collegiate Recovery UK’s mission is to help students thrive by making higher education settings ‘recovery friendly’. The project aims to support the growth of collegiate recovery programmes across the UK, including through the development of a collegiate recovery toolkit, which is available to download from today.

Simon Trelfa, Project Lead of Collegiate Recovery UK and Communications Manager of Recovery Connections, wrote a blog for the SSA website, where he discussed his personal hopes for collegiate recovery programmes.

“I bring experience in creating digital content, platforms, and solutions; I also bring lived experience. I was a student who dropped out of university due to addiction, eventually returned to university and found recovery while studying, and managed to rebuild a life that I nearly lost many times over.”

“If there was one consistent theme throughout this turbulent time in my life, it was ‘loneliness’. I struggled to understand my situation, I was riddled with shame about it, and I felt unable to explain any of this in an academic setting, even when I was in recovery. My hopes for this project – for collegiate recovery programmes – are huge.”

The project has two expert steering groups – one composed of academics who have researched and set up collegiate recovery programmes all over the world, and the other composed of students involved in collegiate recovery programmes in the UK.

To date, collegiate recovery programmes have been rolled out at Teesside University (2019), the University of Birmingham (2021), the University of Sunderland (2022) and University of Chester (2023). These build on the history and experience of more than 150 collegiate recovery programmes in the US, and will start to generate a UK evidence base.

The ‘Better Than Well’ programme at the University of Birmingham is led by former SSA President, Dr Ed Day from the Institute for Mental Health in the School of Psychology, and is managed by Programme Leader, Luke Trainor. Better Than Well provides support with the admissions process, early orientation, training of peer mentors, and dedicated housing for students in recovery.

by Natalie Davies

The SSA offers Engagement Grant funding for initiatives that increase the scientific understanding of addiction and its treatment. The last deadline was on 31 May 2024. The scheme is currently under review and will reopen soon, in time for the next deadline on 27 September 2024.

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