CNWL Recovery & Wellbeing College team is made up of peer trainers (people with lived experience of mental health challenges) and mental health professionals.
Working together, we recognise that the expertise of people with lived experience of mental health difficulties is as valuable as the knowledge of mental health practitioners: both to the individual journey of recovery and to the development and delivery of services.
The members of the team that you may meet when you visit the CNWL Recovery & Wellbeing College are:
Renée joined CNWL in September 2023 as the Recovery & Wellbeing College Manager, having set up the Thurrock Recovery College from 2016.
Renée is passionate about supporting people to find their own ways to live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives. She started her career training to be a doctor in South Africa, but after 5 years she realised that a purely medical model of health did not sit well with her values. So she left the training and began an adventure which took her from the historic wine estates in Constantia to being a live-in carer in beautiful Kent and elsewhere along the way. This showed her another side of healing and other ways to optimise living and thriving despite illness and disability. She returned to education to train as an Occupational Therapist in the UK.
Renée has been working in the NHS and Social Care in a variety of services for 20 years. Through all this, she has found opportunities for learning and encouraging people to see beyond limitations. She was involved in early recovery-focused initiatives in Kent, co-developing and co-facilitating a recovery group with a service user in 2005, while in the community mental health team. This experience was transformative for them both. Renée went on to complete a Masters in Mental Health and Wellbeing, while juggling two energetic toddlers and full-time work. She has also been a part-time university lecturer in Health Policy and Promotion, following her love of learning and seeing individuals grow through knowledge.
Renée loves to read, to learn, to be in nature, to spend time with family and pets as well as to be creative through journaling, blackout poetry and painting.
Waldo is a Senior Peer Recovery Trainer with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust in London UK. After several years of accessing secondary mental health services in CNWL, he completed a CNWL User Employment Placement in Westminster Community Day Services.
He was introduced to the concept of co-production when he played an active part in co-producing CNWL's Health and Wellbeing plans and also played a key role in initiating the Trust’s Peer Support Worker programme. He has also completed an accredited Peer Support Training programme through Sheffield Hallam University.
Waldo was one of the first Peer Support Workers Employed in the Trust. He played a key role in starting the CNWL Recovery and Wellbeing College and was employed as the first Peer Recovery Trainer when the College opened in 2012. He takes an active role in co-developing and co-delivering the courses. As an ImROC (Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change) Consultant he is training peer support workers in England alongside Health Education England and has delivered presentations and training across the UK and abroad.
He is a member of the International Community of Practice looking at how Recovery Colleges across the world can come together and learn from each other and has contributed to several publications looking at Recovery Colleges, Peer Support, and Co-Production.
Wil has a background as an Educator in the field of World Music. For many years, Wil was the Education Officer for an organisation that toured African and Caribbean artists around the U.K. Wil has lived experience of using mental health services and has been a Peer Trainer at the Recovery and Wellbeing College since it opened its doors in 2012. As well as co-producing and co-facilitating training and workshops at the College, Wil is actively involved in local and national mental health issues (e.g. Day Service contracts, improving in-patient care and amendments to the Mental Health Act). In her spare time Wil enjoys writing, micro gardening in her patio and is a budding DJ.
Fi Tutton has been working for the Central and North West London Recovery and Wellbeing College since 2017 as a Senior Recovery Trainer (Mental Health Lead).
Among other responsibilities she co-produces and reviews training support materials for courses and workshops, co-delivering a range of recovery focused courses and workshops and leads on the development of the Recovery and Wellbeing college volunteer programme.
Fi has worked within adult mental health services for over 16 years primarily in day services as a trainer. She feels strongly about the importance of an educational approach to recovery and in particular providing a warm, supportive environment where learning is both enjoyable and accessible.
Angela Kinn works as an Advanced Lived Experience Educator at the Recovery and Wellbeing College. As well as Peer Training, which has been Angela’s role for a number of years, she is now involved with development of the wider lived experience workforce, leadership of the peer team within the Recovery and Wellbeing College, and special research and community development projects. Angela has lived experience of bipolar disorder and associated problems and spent a long time ‘missing in action’ in the psychiatric system. Her lived experience of recovery from these difficulties, together with the lived experience she constantly learns from other recovering people working in mental health services, still strongly informs all aspects of her work. She is deeply committed to co-production with more ‘traditional’ mental health professionals and to wider community co-production.
Miriam Peck is the Events and Communication Administrator at the Recovery and Wellbeing College and a Domestic Abuse Ambassador for CNWL.
She has worked at the College since 2014. She has experience of using mental health services and uses this and her personal experience of recovery within her work. She is part of the Admissions Office team and a peer trainer.
Her background is in legal, criminal justice and other public policy research. She has also worked in services providing support for vulnerable adults, helped to run a mentoring service for young people and been an adviser at a community centre.
Scott has worked within CNWL for over ten years. Since 2013 he has worked with the CNWL Recovery & Wellbeing College admissions office, helping with enrolments of students and planning and distributing course material.
Beto started with the College in January 2019. He coordinates putting the College’s timetable together each term. Beto also work as a peer trainer using his personal experience and his background in fitness to help others.
Fiona has been working with the Recovery and Wellbeing College since 2020 and with CNWL since 2016.
Fiona is a jewellery designer and gemmologist by background, as well as having worked with higher education accreditation charity
After a long recovery from what was then named Borderline Personality Disorder, in 2016 she turned her creativity and love for supporting people to becoming a Peer Support Worker.
Fiona uses her extensive lived experience of recovery in her work as well as her creative skills.
I have been an Associate Peer Recovery Trainer with the College since 2013. I have lived with my bipolar affective disorder for almost five decades. I have learned how to manage my condition with the help from the mental health team making appropriate lifestyle choices to augment my medication for more than 20 years. I happily share elements of my personal recovery journey with students in our workshops. I look forward to having conversations with you, if you are a new student of the Recovery and Wellbeing College, when planning which workshops will benefit you.
Lucia Franco has been working as an Associate Peer Trainer for Central and North- West London Recovery and Wellbeing College for several years. She has a degree in psychology and a counselling diploma and has previously worked in mental health as a support worker. She is currently doing research part-time at Brunel University for a PhD on the causes of psychosis.
Santino Vassell has been a longstanding Associate Peer Trainer at the Recovery and Wellbeing College. He joined us from the beginning in 2013, where he was instrumental in co-developing our specific learning disabilities course and easy read document “Journey to self-Discovery” He draws on his experience in Learning Disabilities where he helps coproduce material for our courses. He also plays a pivotal role in making us a diverse and relevant team. He is often asked to speak to medical students and new staff members in Learning Disabilities, and runs our stalls at conferences and awareness days.
Alaina joined the Recovery and Wellbeing College in December 2021 after discovering the magic of Recovery Colleges in a previous NHS Trust, where she also supported peer support worker roles.
Alaina’s background is in Occupational Therapy (MSc), which aligns well with recovery principles such as fostering hope, motivation and empowerment. She loves seeing people becoming inspired, realising their potential, and living a meaningful life however they determine.
Her varied experience crosses both physical and mental health, as well as advocacy work and working for mental health charities.
Alaina’s first degree was in Drama with Psychology (BSc), and her interests include the theatre, yoga, cooking new dishes, the power of nature, and other wellbeing pursuits.
Jon joined the Recovery and Wellbeing College (RWC) in November 2021. He was initially drawn to the RWC due to the collaboration of working alongside people who have lived experience of mental health difficulties.
Jon takes a person-centred care and recovery-orientated approach and has 22 years’ experience of working in the NHS, the last 14 of which have been as a Technical Instructor with an Occupational Therapy team in mental health settings, primarily in a variety of secure forensic rehabilitative, community focused hospitals.
He has always had an interest in providing support with enhancing people’s general health, wellbeing, fitness, and lifestyles. Having qualified as a Fitness Instructor he then went on to complete Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
Jon enjoys fitness, cycling, walking, theatre, interior design and cooking.