Recovery Pathways is a Trust citywide service. Through creative and wellbeing themed practice that is delivered in supportive settings, we aim to build confidence and skills, enable personal recovery from mental distress and support access to moving on.


Recovery Pathways Case Studies

Nesting Box & Bug House Project

Nesting Box & Bug House Project

One of our Recovery Pathway tutors talked to us about a Nesting Box & Bug House Project with our service users!  Find out more below.

The project was devised within lockdown 2021 as a way of continuing to engage Benchmark service users in meaningful activity as part of their journey with Recovery Pathways.  The sessions were goal focused and designed to benefit participants wellbeing by following instructions, making decisions and using creative talents to construct & decorate wildlife habitats. As their woodwork tutor, I put together packs of materials/kits and delivered to people’s homes. This gave the opportunity to meet face to face (socially distanced) to go through any finer points of the construction process that might be lost through the medium of online delivery. We then constructed the kits together in online sessions in small achievable steps. The participants involved said that they liked regular activities, making things, and keeping busy.

This helped to keep people well and distracted from other symptoms they may be experiencing. As regular sessions could not go ahead, this project helped people to continue to work on their individual goals that had been established at the beginning of their time with Benchmark.

What was the outcome of the project?

The project concluded successfully, with the easing of lockdown restrictions and a spell of warm sunny weather which enabled us to have socially distanced sessions in the participants gardens. We put the finishing touches to the nesting boxes & bug houses, added brackets to the back of the boxes and then installed them in place.



Men’s Sheds, community groups that provide a space for men to do carpentry and small construction work, have been reported to enhance men’s health and wellbeing. Men benefit from participation, camaraderie, socialisation and skill development. Individuals who have suffered from severe mental illness (SMI) often have difficulty finding employment after recovery. Case studies of people recovering from SMI report that volunteering in woodwork/joinery roles has helped people develop increased confidence, self-esteem and transferrable skills to gain paid employment.


Quotes from participants – service users and carers

What, if anything, did you enjoy or find beneficial about the session?

“Being creative.  Social contact and humour.  A sense of achievement.

We really enjoyed every moment and John was brilliant”


“Both client and carer being able to work together. Being able to carry on through lockdown, when such activities are particularly important. 

Not needing to travel”


“The staff where I live were impressed with what I had made, they said they would buy something like that, this made me feel proud of what I had done.”


“Kept me busy, and kept me well. Kept me occupied from other voices.  Made me feel proud”


“Liked being in my own home especially when feelings of paranoia

bug house   bird box  

bug houses    fixing bug house


Links to local/national policies

Increased mental wellbeing

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Greater Manchester Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy


Reduce social isolation

Manchester Population Health Plan

NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014) 


NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014)

Taking Charge of our Health and Social Care in Greater Manchester (GMCA, 2015)

Helping people aspire and succeed

Our Manchester Strategy


Research & Evidence base

Wilson, N.J. and Cordier, R. (2013) A narrative review of Men’s Sheds literature: reducing social isolation and promoting men’s health and well‐being. Health & Social Care in the Community, 21: 451-463.

MILLIGAN, CHRISTINE, et al. (2016) Older Men and Social Activity: a Scoping Review of Men's Sheds and Other Gendered Interventions. Ageing and Society. 36(5) pp. 895–923., doi:10.1017/S0144686X14001524.

Reinie Cordier, Nathan J. Wilson. (2014) Community-based Men's Sheds: promoting male health, wellbeing and social inclusion in an international contextHealth Promotion International , 29(3)  pp.  483–493.

Olivier Vardakoulias (2013) The Economic Benefits of Ecominds: A case study approach

Recovery Pathways Annual Report 2020
The service offers time-limited programmes of specific activities that encourage independence, improve wellbeing strategies, and access to leisure, education and employment or volunteering opportunities. 

We help people to lead valued lives by providing support, goal-focused activity, learning and training. Through creative activity and meaningful occupation we support people with their aspirations, achieve their goals and be part of their communities.

Read our annual report:  RP Annual Report 2020 final.pdf

The service is broken down into the following areas:

  • Start
  • Studio One
  • Benchmark
  • Green Wellbeing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Arts for Good Health Courses
  • Individual Placement Support – Employment Service (for clients on CPA only)

Short courses and other sessions are frequently run at a range of settings across the city. Working with goals in mind, Recovery Pathways activity services encourage personal reflection and help individuals to achieve in the following ways:

  • Effectively manage symptoms
  • Build confidence and self esteem
  • Recognise and apply coping strategies
  • Notice the world around us
  • Practise good decision making
  • Improve social skills and connect with others
  • Increase independence
  • Become comfortable in groups settings
  • Recognise progress
  • Manage commitment and routine

There are two pathways into our service through a central referral email address and for more information on how to refer please see below…

How to refer

Referring to Recovery Pathways means that service users have access to time-limited support of around 12 months including a regular review of progress, occupational therapy where needs are identified, a variety of activities and a moving on plan.

Referrals will be considered using the following criteria:

  • People over the age of 18
  • Manchester resident
  • Existing Trust user
  • Under care of CPA with up to date Risk & CPA (within 12 months)
  • or meets NEC criteria (with Lead Professional involved for duration of their engagement with our service)

Please send NEC form by email with password protection or by post to Recovery Pathways Referrals, Cornbrook Enterprise Centre, 70 Quenby Street, Hulme, Manchester M15 4HW

NEC Form -  National eligibility criteria for social care.docx

Please email referrals to:

For further advice, please call 07436 560 917

Or contact Charlotte Brown, Recovery Pathways Lead 07890 996 586

Results from Coronavirus Support from the Recovery Pathways

Results are coming in from the continued support and encouragement for service users from the Recovery Pathways team.  Creative activity still continues, despite being at home, and our service users have benefitted from regular contact and projects that have been shared over the phone, email and through the post.  For one service user, this meant creating a table out of an old pallet with the encouragement and advice from the Benchmark team. 

Keep connected, keep active and keep learning something new… Links to courses available below

recoverypathways Why Not Try

Why Not Try Why Not Try Why Not Try

Why Not Try Creative Courses

Why not try - Neurographic Style Art?

Free resource to start your Neurographic art journey.
Download the pack here:  Why Not Try- Neurographic Art.pdf

Why not try - Annie's 3D Collage?

Free resource to start your 3D collage journey.
Download the pack here:  Why Not Try - Annie's Found Story 3D Collage.pdf

Why not try - Journal Writing?

Free resource to start your journaling journey.
Download the pack here:  Why Not Try - Journal Writing.pdf

Why not try - Upcycling?

Free resource to start your upcycling journey, inspired by Frida Kahlo. As a Mexican Artist, Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, pain and passion, and bold, vibrant colours
Download the pack here:  Why Not Try - Frida.pdf

Why not try - Creative Writing?

Free resource to start your creative writing journey.
Download the pack here: Why not try - Creative Writing.pdf
Download the second pack here:  Why Not Try - Creative Writing 2.pdf

Why not try - Seed Planting?

Free resource to start your gardening journey.
Download the pack here:  Why not try- Planting Seeds.pdf

Why not try - Drawing?

Free resource to start your drawing journey.
Download the part 1 of the pack here:   Why Not Try- Drawing Part 1.pdf
Download the part 2 of the pack here:   Why Not Try- Drawing Part 2.pdf

Why not try - Mindfulness?

Free resource to start your mindfulness journey.
Download the pack here:   Why Not Try Mindfulness Week 1.pdf

Why not try - Collage?

Free resource to start your collaging journey.
Download the pack here:   Why Not Try - Collage.pdf

Why not try - Mia's Textiles Projects?

Free resource to start your textiles journey. 
Download the pack here:   Why Not Try - Mia's Textiles Projects.pdf