About us

Converge was established in 2008 from a simple idea: to offer good quality courses in a university setting to local people who use mental health services taught by students and staff.

The development of Converge has progressively demonstrated the potential of offering educational opportunities to people who use mental health services, delivered by students and staff and held on a university campus. This has become the key principle which, today, remains at the heart of Converge. Born of a unique collaboration between the NHS and York St John University, Converge continues to deliver educational opportunities for people with mental health problems.

We offer work-based experience to university students involved in the programme. All classes are taught by undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff and, increasingly people who have lived experience of mental ill health. We have developed a solid track record of delivering quality courses. Careful support and mentoring underpin our work, thereby allowing students to experiment with their own ideas and creativity whilst gaining real world experience in the community. This undoubtedly enhances their employability in an increasingly competitive market.

As a leader in the field, Converge develops symbiotic projects and partnerships which are driven by innovation and best practice. The result is twofold: a rich and exciting educational opportunity for people with mental health problems alongside authentic and practical work experience for university students.

Principles of Converge

  • Work together as artists and students
  • Build a community where we learn from each other
  • Engage and enhance the university and wider community
  • Provide a supportive and inclusive environment
  • Respect others and value ourselves
  • Above all, strive to be ordinary, extraordinary yet ourselves

Aims of Converge

  • To offer mental health service providers valuable educational opportunities for their clients.
  • To offer high quality educational opportunities to those who use mental health services in the York area.
  • To provide a means through which undergraduate and postgraduate York St John University students can fulfil their module requirements in community, applied or work-based modules; thereby developing skills and experiences to prepare them for work.
  • To support and develop the creative potential of York St John University students and course participants.
  • To work with mental health professionals and other partners to fulfil our aims.
  • To conduct practice-based research, impact studies and evaluations.
  • To support the development of further innovations in the field.
  • To challenge the dynamics of social exclusion which make it difficult for people who have used mental health services to access quality education and employment.

Winners: Non-Clinical Team of the Year, 2016, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust.