Building Recovery Networks in West Yorkshire

Whilst many were out and about preparing for Christmas, on a cold night in early December, people came together from all over West Yorkshire for the inaugural meeting of the West Yorkshire Recovery Federation. The event had been organised by Michelle Foster, in conjunction with representatives of the UK Recovery Federation.

The UKRF’s role is to help to develop community-led recovery communities across the country through the establishment and support of sub-regional recovery networks. This gathering was the first for the Yorkshire region. The networks or settlements – modelled on the US settlement movement as pioneered by Jane Addams at Hull House in Chicago from 1889 – will build recovery capital through the generation and support of new social enterprises and community initiatives. These community-led initiatives will provide volunteering and employment opportunities and will be a focal point within communities where organisations, groups and individuals can come together to plan and deliver projects and services that support and promote recovery, community empowerment and meaningful opportunities.

It is proposed that the new recovery networks will mobilise recovering people and people in recovery who wish to give back to their communities. They will support the generation of recovery activists who will take up prominent roles as ‘living assets’ around which indigenous recovery communities will be nurtured and developed. The networks will form a strong bridge between recovery-oriented treatment services and recovery communities and will play a significant role in the establishment of coherent recovery-oriented quality standards for treatment.

Through the formation of links with new investors and social entrepreneurs, recovering people and people in recovery will be skilled up and supported in accessing education, employment and mainstream community services and opportunities. The networks will support the expansion and promotion of a wide range of mutual aid support structures in the West Yorkshire area and develop recovery-focused partnerships between the public, voluntary, social enterprise and private sectors, promoting the recovery achievements of individuals, groups, communities and organisations and supporting community members in the generation of their own creative solutions. The core message of the UKRF – recovery is a reality – will be embedded within all regions of the country.

Over the coming months, Recovery Times will report on the development of the West Yorkshire Network, and will keep our readers informed of events associated with the Federation. In our next edition, we will also explore how the Federation is mapping our recovery assets in West Yorkshire through an asset-based development model, and how we can build on our recovery capital.

If you want to get involved in the Federation, email Michelle Foster, at

Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 2