A recovery college run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has opened new premises in Bury St Edmunds to support people with mental health conditions.
On Tuesday, patients, carers, staff and partner agencies all gathered to see the new premises, located on Hospital Road, officially opened.
The new college replaced the old base at Blomfield House in the town, which was no longer fit for purpose.
The recovery college, which has bases across Norfolk and Suffolk, provides a range of courses and workshops to patients and service-users who are receiving secondary mental health care with the trust.
The courses aim to help patients gain a better understanding of their condition and to identify positive goals to work towards. They also provide patients and service-users with access to better opportunities, such as employment and independent living.
The courses are run by peer tutors who are former patients and have had experience of living with mental health issues.
The trust hope that having these peer tutors on the team will help provide more support to patients, as well as allow staff to learn from one another.
Carers and NSFT staff can also attend the courses to further develop their skills, gain support, and more fully understand individual mental health issues.
Emilia Deakin, local recovery college co-ordinator, said: “We have had a great response from people so far, with many commenting that our freedom to run more courses means they are easier for people to fit into their everyday lives.
“The courses and workshops make a real difference to people’s lives, empowering them to live well with their mental health condition.
“We hope to run more sessions of our most popular courses so that people don’t have to wait until spaces become available.”
As well as the workshops, the new premises also has three training rooms, more meeting space and increased car parking.
This expansion is part of the trust’s recently launched recovery strategy, which aims to give people with mental health issues the chance to get involved in things which are important to them and build a life beyond illness.