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Our team

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Karen Atkin - Service Development Manager

Karen has spent all of her working career in the health sector and NHS working initially as a nursing assistant on a busy surgical ward and then moving on to qualify as an occupational therapist. She has continued to be dedicated in supporting people to live life well and maintain and manage their own wellbeing to aid recovery.
She previously worked for Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust as team lead for community therapists in the North West and North East of Lincolnshire and also as patient flow lead in transitional care. Karen has now taken those management skills to develop and join Recovery College looking at developing the College across Lincolnshire and promoting partnership working with other organisation both in Lincolnshire and neighbouring counties.

Emma Bristow – Recovery College Coordinator

Emma loved teaching music in secondary schools and broadening the horizons of socially-disadvantaged pupils. Following an episode of mental ill health, triggered by work-related stress, Emma recognised the need to change her job although retained her passion for teaching. Emma’s current post allows her to combine her teaching expertise and lived experience of mental ill health to role-model the Colleges core ethos surrounding Hope, Control and Opportunity.

Emma is passionate about challenging stigma and unhelpful attitudes towards mental ill health both within and outside the NHS and mainly delivers courses such as WRAP, What is Recovery, Bouncing Back! Mental Health Resilience and Living Beyond the Label.  

Emma says “I want people to be recovering a life, not just recovering from an illness.”

Ed Stables – Recovery College Occupational Therapist

Ed initially completed an apprenticeship in cabinet-making, but personal experience of mental ill health led to a change of direction and career. Ed wanted to combine his practical and creative skills with an interest in fostering health and wellbeing. He re-trained as an Occupational Therapist and has subsequently worked for 20 years as an OT within mental health in a variety of inpatient and community settings. He has always been keen to share his knowledge and skills and he remains passionate about the importance of doing meaningful activities as both the means and essence of recovery.

Helen Bussey – Volunteer

Helen originally trained as a physiotherapist, but moved into education when she started her family. She has supported children with learning difficulties in mainstream education. After she became ill with her own mental health difficulties, she decided to retire early and now enjoys helping at the College. Helen supports people on their recovery journey, as she herself was supported during her illness.

David Garstang - Volunteer

David has experienced mental health issues for the last 21 years. Using his experiences he set up a ‘Hearing Voices’ group in 2004, which runs every week on a Friday 2pm – 4pm at Involve on Mint Lane in Lincoln. David wanted to continue to help others and volunteers within the Recovery College. He is often found assisting in enrolments and offering peer support to students. David also co-delivers our Living with Psychosis course.

John Dwane – Volunteer

John took early retirement from the library service after nearly 30 years, and now enjoys using his forty-five years’ experience of mental ill health to help others on their journey to recovery. At the Recovery College, John co-produces courses and helps deliver the Mental Health Resilience course. He also proof reads documents for the College.

Colin Cromar – Volunteer

Claire Milner - Volunteer