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Living Life to the Full at North Ayrshire Recovery College

North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College is funded by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and is available to anyone over 16 who lives, works or studies in Ayrshire. The college offers a range of self-management focused courses to encourage people’s personal growth and recovery. The college works with a variety of tutors, partners and students to coproduce courses which are delivered by people with a lived experience alongside subject matter professionals creating a culture of recovery and connection. The progression of the mind and body through a range of courses and opportunities gives students a chance to progress from Track 1, through 2 to Track 3 and finding their next step which may be peer volunteer trainers, further education, paid work or volunteering.

LLTTF Course at the Recovery College

One of the central courses within Recovery College is ‘The Living Life to the Full’ (LLTTF) course for adults. Claire and more recently Jeanette & Molly completed our train the trainers course. We have enjoyed close working relationships with the college over the past few years and glad to hear the course is having a positive impact for students.

Recovery College Co-coordinator, Jeanette Allan explains that the college strives to:

  • enable students to increase their coping and self-managing skills
  • gain an increased sense of empowerment
  • an increased sense of connectedness with others
  • achieve an increased sense of hope and optimism for the future

The four key principles of the college are:

1. To work in a co-production approach.

2. Learning and education, focusing on self-management.

3. Inclusion- the college is open to everybody.

4. Recovery focused- everyone is in recovery of something, it is about moving forward.

4 Values of Recovery College

The four key values of the Recovery College are; celebration, empowerment, adopting a strengths based approach and recognising that everyone’s journey is individual to them.

During Covid-19 the college have taken all their training onto Zoom and have developed a blended learning approach with films, live workshops and worksheets to enhance learning.


Student’s Experiences

Lainey McKinley explains “Learning so much helped my own recovery. The courses taught me that it’s not what’s wrong with me, it’s what happened to me that matters, and it helped me to work on my personal growth and development and increased my self-confidence through opportunities. I use my LLTTF course Little Books weekly to maintain my coping strategies”

Janet Smith’s experience of the ‘Living Life to the Full’ course was that she came to “understand the thinking behind anxiety, rather than treating depression with just medication. I didn’t know I could work on my own self-management”

Tommy Murphy;

“The college gave me a focus during a difficult period in my life and gave a real sense of achievement.” The ‘Creative Recovery’ course was particularly helpful as he previously believed he didn’t have much artistic ability, so it was a challenge to do something different and discover that he could and really enjoyed it. Participating in creating driftwood signs with positive wellbeing messages which contributed to an art exhibition ‘Drift On By’ along the Irvine harbour area took recovery into the community.

Wilma Paton;

“The College acted very promptly at the start of lockdown to keep the courses running and getting everything up on Zoom, and enabled me to develop some more digital skills.”

The college offers recovery through a range of courses including the living life to the full (LLTTF) for adults course. Topics such as learning resilience to using creativity for wellbeing such as ‘Drum 4UR Life‘ a community drumming group for wellbeing’ all serves to create an environment where students can flourish and choose what it is that best course to meets their learning needs. 

Learning and self-management are important aspects of recovery. The college puts people with lived experience at the centre of everything they do and have developed a peer pathway with opportunities which gives students, volunteers and co-designers to work together and to build a recovery community.

Physiotherapist, Claire Young has been delivering the ‘Living Life to the Full’ (LLTTF) course and her ‘Mind & Body’ course at the Recovery College over the past few years. Claire has appreciated working alongside a Peer Volunteer Trainer and the personal experience they contribute. Claire recognises that attendees get a great sense of empowerment from understanding their own chemistry and how what they think affect how they feel and what they do. The feedback from the LLTTF course participants is that students repetitively find that it is worthwhile and also links people together on the course.

College Tutor and psychotherapist, John McCormack believes; “It’s the democratisation of recovery knowledge and skills. The tools that exist in psychotherapy are made available to use for yourself and you can take responsibility for your own self-management.”

For more information about the Recovery College see or check out some films on the North Ayrshire Wellbeing & Recovery College youtube channel or contact Jeanette Allan the Recovery College Co-ordinator at

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