A week in the life of…Lindsey


February 9, 2024

A week in the life of the Recovery College Principal can vary hugely! I’m sometimes sat behind a desk all week, sometimes I’m out and about meeting new partners or going to meet other teams, and sometimes I’m spending my time teaching courses and workshops. So I thought I’d give you a little glimpse in to some of the things I had in this past week and some of the things I have planned for the week coming up.

This past week I’ve been involved in some interesting discussions around a research project called RECOLLECT that we’re involved in. If you’re a new student with us, you may have been contacted about getting involved in the study. It hopes to be able to demonstrate the benefit attending a recovery college can have on someone’s quality of life and we’re only one of many other recovery colleges involved in this project.

Once a fortnight, I have a good catch up with the College Coordinators so that we can iron out any issues, forward plan, look at what’s coming up and go through some of the nitty gritty that keeps the College ticking over. I really enjoy these catch ups as not only does it keep me in the loop, but with the team mostly working from home most of the time, it gives us a chance to feel like a connected team. We also have morning catch ups every morning with the rest of the team and these give us a chance to touch base with each other, help each other with our wellbeing and plan for the daily work tasks ahead.

I’ve also been spending much of the past week looking at facts, figures and information on the number of people we work with, classes that we run and other pieces of data that I have to provide a report back to our funders on. It isn’t a huge amount of data, but it does take quite some time to pull together and make sure the information I’m providing is accurate and meaningful. Our student booking system pulls some of this information out for us, but as we upgraded our booking system in the autumn term of last year, it is the first time I’ve used it to pull information off for our termly reports and it did throw up a few technical glitches that also took their time sorting out. I often find that one part of my job leads on to dozens of other little tasks that I wasn’t expecting.

I spent some time this week representing the Wakefield Positive Mental Health Network (PMHN), as one of their leads, at a partnership meeting and next week will be attending the network’s quarterly meeting with its members. These are a great chance for all of us to work in a more connected and supportive way, and help the voluntary sector and statutory sector work closely together to support the same causes.

I’ve spent a little time at Prosper House in Wakefield (one of our course venues) this week, looking at future planning and supporting not only ourselves moving in to the building, but enabling community groups to utilise the space well too.

A chunk of my time lately has involved supporting new members of our team. In the past five months we’ve had four new staff join our team! Exciting times! As team manager, I must complete a full induction, support and training package with all staff so that they not only know how the College works and what’s expected of them in their new role, but also how our Trust works, what values they should follow and how they will be supported whilst working with us.

I’ve got a couple of exciting opportunities in the days coming up to attend some training around domestic abuse and look to see how the College can best be involved in shaping our local offer and supporting our local people, as well as attending an international learning set for recovery colleges. These learning sets are hosted by ImROC (who lead on the development of recovery colleges in the UK and across the world). They happen every two months and give us an chance to network with other colleges, learn best practice, learn how to overcome obstacles based on other colleges’ experiences and share courses and other opportunities.

Whilst I haven’t done any this week, I’m also one of the team members who conducts our individual learning plans (ILPs) with new students, getting to know them, talking about what they can expect from their College experience and finding out how we can make sessions more comfortable for them to attend. I love this part of my job as it means I get to chat with the people who we do all of this for. People share their experiences and contribute to how the College looks in terms of what courses we might need to develop and what we might need to change or adapt. Two of my other favourite parts of the job include teaching classes (I was due to teach one on Monday but due to a lack of enrolments this had to cancelled) and speaking with our volunteers, some of whom I touch base with once a week for a check in call (something we started in 2020 during the pandemic and have carried on with ever since).

As my working weeks can be so busy and I often don’t clock off on time, I always take time out for myself to switch off. If I’m working from home, I head downstairs once I’ve logged off and watch half an hour to an hour of feel-good TV (something like The Repair Shop) or a documentary. I treat this like my commute time so I make sure it’s protected time for me. If I’m in the office or out and about meeting people, I really enjoy the drive home with my music turned up and use this to unwind. In in the evening, three times a week, I head to Vibe Fitness (who we partner with to deliver our Creative Fitness courses) and I attend a fun class with them. It’s a really supportive environment and everyone is made to feel welcome. We also have a good laugh and de-stress in some of them too and encourage each other along the way. There’s never any pressure if you need to take a breather, or prefer to take the less intense version of the class activities that day. Once or twice a week I also go for a walk after work with some of my friends and neighbours. We put the world to rights and get some steps in! We’re not out for too long (perhaps an hour or 45 minutes), but it’s enough to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. We started doing this during the pandemic when you were allowed to start meeting outside with other households, just so that we could see some other faces, be a little sociable, and get out of the house! We’ve kept this up most weeks (though not every day like we were in the pandemic), and many of us as neighbours have become friends (just like the TV show! 🙂 ).

As you can see, it’s quite a varied role and it’s always a pretty packed week! I hope my edition “week in the life of” has given you a little insight in to what it’s like to be a Recovery College Principal 🙂

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