Wellbeing & Recovery Partnership

The Dorset Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership (WaRP) is a formal, nationally and internationally recognised partnership between the Dorset Mental Health Forum and Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, putting lived experience expertise hand in hand with professional and technical expertise to bring about transformation and change.

The Partnership was established in 2009 with the purpose of ensuring that the voices and experiences of people who access services are at the heart of the shaping, design and delivery of mental health services across Dorset.  The concept of Recovery was intrinsic to this work:

“Probably the most useful way of understanding Recovery is linking it to our own experience because it is something that is common to all of us; it is not specific to mental health problems.  Any of us, who have been through a divorce, being made unemployed, a major illness or bereavement, know that that changes us; there is no way to going back to how we were before that event.  We have to incorporate that into our way of living and we learn from that and move on with that, which is exactly what we are talking about in terms of Recovery from mental health problems. 

Recovery is about taking back control over your own life and your own problems, about not seeing your problems as being uncontrollable, or that their control is just the province of experts. It is about understanding yourself what is possible and what you can do to help yourself.”

By Dr Julie Repper from An independent investigation into the care and treatment of Daniel Gonzales (January 2009) p.124.

The activities of the WaRP have developed and grown over the last 13 years.  Today the Partnership and people’s experience is an integral part of the mental health system in Dorset.  The WaRP’s role within the Dorset System is to facilitate transformation and cultural change by building capacity within individuals, teams, services, organisations and communities through the equal partnership of lived experience and professional, technical and learned expertise.

In the Partnership work today, we aim to:

  • Demonstrate the fundamental importance of learning from life and lived experience alongside technical expertise through Recovery Education.
  • Promote Co-production and the sharing of power within services, communities and the broader system across Dorset.

The principles of Wellbeing, Recovery and Co-production underpin all of the Partnership’s work.  As our understanding and experience of Co-production as evolved over the years, these principles have enabled us to facilitate NHS service and community transformation programmes, with local people and communities at the heart of this important work.

The WaRP delivers a range of projects in partnership including:

  • Recovery Education Centre
  • Discovery Project
  • The Retreats
  • Dorset Work Matters
  • Peer Specialists working within NHS mental health inpatient and community settings
  • Advanced Lived Experience Practitioners
  • Dorset Open Door bereavement signposting service

Further information about the journey and the history of the Wellbeing and Recovery Partnership can be found here.

If you would like to know more about the work of the Partnership, please contact the WaRP team: [email protected]