Collaboration and Change – Making Recovery Real in Dundee

The momentum around the success of Making Recovery Real continues to grow. Christine Muir, from the Scottish Recovery Network, tells us more about this new approach to developing mental health support and encourages you to get involved!

What is Making Recovery Real?


Piloted in Dundee and Moray, Making Recovery Real brings people with lived experience of mental health challenges and services together to decide what would support recovery in the area. It helping to realise a genuine change in power dynamics and is giving people with lived experience the right to be at the centre of decision-making, service design and practice development.

At the heart of Making Recovery Real is collaboration, story-sharing and peer support. Both projects have been developing and delivering Peer2Peer training and supporting the creation of peer roles in local organisations and services. The approach is also helping people to develop and share their recovery stories and provides a platform for conversations about what recovery really means for local people (yep this link leads to some awesome activities to support recovery conversations!). 

“It’s actually pretty simple. People worked with us to decide what they wanted, how they wanted things to be, and now they’re willing to help us make those things happen. How can you say no to that?”

Sharing is caring!

Last month participants from Dundee and Moray travelled to the capital city to speak about how the project has resulted in a wider understanding of the benefits of collaboration with people with lived experience. The film Making Recovery Real in Dundee: A New Future for Mental Health was premiered (much applause and a few tears!) and a series of free resources were launched.

The event was an opportunity to share learning and hear from people involved in the project. Hollie Gilchrist and Emma Wilson, from Penumbra’s Dundee Nova Service gave a fantastic insight into the great things that can be achieved if services work alongside the people they support. Emma Wilson, Manager of the service commented:

“I think it’s inspired me to think about how we do things differently within the service I manage. I am really excited about the future.”

Hollie with support from Dundee Nova Service came along to some of the Making Recovery Real events. Being part of Making Recovery Real gave Hollie the confidence and support to build on her own recovery and share her story with others. She has since gone on to complete Peer2Peer training and, after volunteering with Penumbra for a while, is now a Peer Worker with the service, supporting others on their recovery journey. Hollie said:

“Being part of Making Recovery Real as a supported person and now working with Penumbra I have seen some of the hard work that has gone into it and I am proud to have been involved and don’t think I would be where I am now without it”

Let’s talk about recovery

Since launching in 2015 Making Recovery Real in Dundee has (so far!) collected and shared over 40 recovery stories which are helping to inspire others and shape local priorities. It has also produced a film series of Recovery Stories with an accompanying

Film Discussion Guide. This is being used in communities to encourage people to think about their wellbeing and what works for them.

“The film was outstanding. It was so real…It was just ‘what you see is what you got’; and it was the people talking to the people. It was the people helping the people”

The recent launch of the Scottish Recovery Network’s A Guide to Sharing Recovery Stories provides materials that you can use to support the people you work with to develop and share their own stories of recovery. Make sure you also check out the bonus story sharing templates!


Exciting Times Ahead – Get Involved

We hope that the learning and resources from Making Recovery Real will be used and adapted by you and your service to collaborate with the people you support and the communities you work in. We would love to hear how you are using them!

This is just the beginning for Making Recovery Real and we want you to be part of developing this approach in your area. Give us a call or drop us an email and let’s get the ball rolling:

0141 240 7790 |

There’s so much more to tell you!

Making Recovery Real continues to develop new and innovative ways to support recovery and wellbeing and there is so much more to tell you! Stay in touch and

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Christine Muir is a Senior Communications Officer for the Scottish Recovery Network.