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RCOMH Partner - developing partners

Developing partners logoWho we are

Developing partners (dp) was founded in March 2007 by people who have all had (and for some continue to have) mental health needs at some stage in their life.

“Perhaps the most important benefit the third sector and social enterprise organisations in particular, can bring is a stronger voice both for the users of services and the staff that deliver them.” Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health (Social Enterprise in Primary and Community Care, Sept 2006)


What we do and why

developing partners main aim is employment for all its members. We do not use capital letters in our name to show solidarity with people at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

developing partners aims to undertake research, evaluation, training and project development in collaboration and equal partnership with people who have experienced social exclusion, in all its forms.

Through personal and professional development, members are facilitated and supported to undertake their own research and / or projects and to develop training drawn directly from their lived experience.

Members of dp, work within in a person centred, holistic paradigm through the adoption of unconditional positive regard for the person coupled with a community psychology approach through experiential learning and bottom up approaches in order to ensure that their work reflects the needs of people of the people with whom they are working.

Members are facilitated and supported to discover their skills and capabilities through the development of their critical thinking and experiential learning in research, training and project development / management, plus a range of associated skills such as counselling, information technology and human rights.

The Recovery Model is used to inform the supervision process maintaining the focus on the person’s strengths and abilities.


Work currently being undertaken collaboratively

Open Up Media Campaign: Development of experiential Human Rights training to be delivered to members of socially excluded groups,  the voluntary and community sector and Public and Private Services.

We are working with a theatre group, Playback Theatre Company, who specialise in experiential Theatre Workshops to develop a production and workshops that can deliver experiential human rights training to members of the Community. We are doing this in partnership with people who have experienced social exclusion.

Development and Implementation of the Regional Strategy for Employment for people with mental health needs: In collaboration with Govt North East, CSIP / NIMHE, Public Health.

Following on from the production of a regional service user consultation report members of dp presented the report at 3 local conferences held to direct and implement the strategy and were able to extend personal invitations to participate in this process to every person who took part in the consultation process in Durham, Stockton and Newcastle (approx 37 people) all of whom had long term mental health needs.

We are now looking at potential research proposals in this in conjunction with the research Centre in Occupational Mental Health based at the University of York St John of which we are a partner.

We were one of the organisations who contributed to Dame Carol Black's Review of Employment published in May 2008.

Mental Health First Aid: NIMHE / CSIP extended invitations to members of dp to undertake MHFA training.

Two of our members are now accredited Mental Health First Aid Trainers.

We are delivering taster Sessions for MHFA and are in the process of delivering MHFA training across the North East of England.

Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies: In partnership with the University of Teesside, the TEWV NHS Trust, CSIP / NIMHE and the Dept of Health. As part of this project we have developed Mental Health Awareness Training for Small and  Medium Enterprises in Stockton.

We have also been asked by one of the employers to work with them to support them in developing their Business Case for submission to their Board in order to make the case for a Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy to be enacted across their organisation as a whole.

Socially Inclusive Community Garden: We are working with Middlesbrough Borough Council, Bridge and Groundwork to develop a funding application to the Big Lottery Fund to establish a community garden in Middlesbrough which can be accessed by anyone who experiences social exclusion. We are currently engaged in the public consultation in relation to this project.

We have been granted permission to use a plot of land in Albert Park in Middlesbrough in which to develop the garden. The name Djembe has been suggested as this African word means “Everyone gather together”.

Green and Clean Youth Project in Cameroon: We are consulting and working with members of the community in Cameroon to develop a plan of action in order to inform the development of a funding proposal to the Dept for International Development.

SUSTN: in conjunction with and as members of the Service User and Survivor Trainers Network (National) dp aims to promote and encourage the development of paid roles for its members.

Training currently in development for staff across all public and third sector services:

  • Mental Health Awareness Raising for Employers
  • Women’s Mental Health
  • Communication skills and processes
  • Diversity and Equality
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Experiential Human Rights Training
  • Experiential Equality and Disability Training