Living Well… a year on

There’s always a real buzz and a warm welcome at Living Well Partnership headquarters in Effra Road, Brixton. Light streams through the glass environs and everyone looks engaged.

After only one year in its new building, new partners seem to be “queuing at the doors to be included,” says Lee Elliott, Employment, Education and Training Co-ordinator, “with new courses from WEA (Workers Education Association) in Black History and Community Interpreting, as well as the Recovery College providing a whole range of courses accessible to the community (dealing with the initial diagnosis of a mental health problem to making plans for the future). Tuesday evenings see a fitness coach leading keep fit classes, Thursdays see members running baking workshops… the list goes on.”


Meanwhile, the new Young Adults project is doing sterling work putting together a young people’s resource pack and are “key to our future development”,  adds Lee.

Things are really shaping up as a recent focus day revealed. “It was really positive with lots of energy, ideas and fun, ” says Chief Executive and Clubhouse stalwart Maresa Ness.

“The work was done with staff and members together and then trustees joined the day to hear the unit priorities and discuss strategic priorities, such as fundraising, Transitional Employment Programmes (TEPs), personalisation and enablement.There were presentations from each of the units (Business & Administration, Employment and Education, Hospitality & Horticulture) and one of the main priorities focused on “evaluating how we have been working since we moved in and how we can improve things, such as training,” adds Maresa.


Biggest challenge


Mosaic’s partnership with the Lambeth Collaborative, as hosts of the centre started a year ago, but Maresa’s involvement with the clubhouse (part of an international movement) dates back 20 years. Maresa helped set up the original clubhouse at a time when Lambeth was known as ‘the psychosis capital of Europe’  (see her moving account of  ‘my brilliant moment’ in the video at the bottom of the page).

Being nominated for a Charity Award (Disability category) and now a Charity Times award is important says Maresa, “because the clubhouse is co-produced, winning an award would be a celebration of members’ achievements. This would demonstrate to members that the contribution they make in peer support and running the clubhouse, for others, who, like them, live with severe and enduring mental health conditions, is valued externally.”

The transition to the Living Well Partnership has been our  “biggest challenge in 20 years!” she exclaims. “Members and staff have planned, trained, organised, created and developed all the environmental, policy and system changes together.  The community has never felt more focused or vibrant with so many more opportunities for members both in the clubhouse and outside thanks to our many engaged partner organisations.”

In the last year;

We received 389 referrals

30 members secured employment outcomes

94 educational outcomes were achieved

4 new TEPs were added

Since it opened 129 people were supported through the information hub.

489 were supported through the Clubhouse in 2013/2014


12-week offer

Behind these numbers are real people whose lives have been transformed. Lee Elliott describes one person’s journey through the 12-week programme after fronting up at the information hub with difficulties relating to an imminent eviction. “He’d also been referred to Mosaic Clubhouse as a potential member. He joined the Employment, Education and Information Unit and quickly became a highly valued member, helping create visual displays on the new smart boards, develop ideas for stronger celebrations of TEPs at the monthly Employment dinner and helped other members develop their IT skills. Within 10 weeks, he felt able to return to work and found full-time employment.”

The focus day examined the 12-week programme and how people can be supported to meet their goals through short term access to the initiatives and opportunities on offer both in-house, with partners and in the wider community.


Testimony to TEPs


Paul Moreton, who started work in January as Project Administrator with Missing Link peer support service (Metropolitan), says “my amazing journey into employment could not have been achieved without the support of Mosaic, they realised the benefit these experiences were having on my confidence and suggested I take another step forward and start a job via the Transitional Employment Programme, TEP, with SHARP” (Social Inclusion, Hope and Recovery Project, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust). Read Paul’s story

“During the time that Paul worked at SHARP he greatly developed his confidence and skills and was an integral and valued member of the team,” says SHARP’s Team Leader Marieke Wrigley.  “It is so heartening and inspiring to see what he has achieved and to read his story.”

“Paul is a great contribution to Missing Link,” says Co-ordinator Lucas Teague, “he really understands the peer support workers. As well as being committed, hard working and willing to go the extra mile.”

Summing up Lee Elliott says, “Paul’s progress from his first contact with Mosaic Clubhouse, through to his TEP with SHARP and his job with Metropolitan demonstrates both his own determination and resilience and the fantastic opportunities that are generated when organisations work in true partnership. Many congratulations, Paul – we’re proud of you!” 


Hospital in-reach

At the heart of all the work is peer support and nowhere is this more wonderfully illustrated than in the in-reach work at Lambeth hospital. “I have seen some amazing changes in patients,” says Programme Manager Beverley Randall of the project that brings people daily from the ward to the centre to take part in activities (read more).

Clubhouse member and driver John recently took people to the seaside at Whitstable. “We read out some poetry on the beach after going for a fish and chip lunch that was so fresh, I can’t remember ever having fish that tasted so good, ” he relishes (read John’s trip report).


Survey headlines

So just a year on it looks like the Living Well Partnership is firmly on the map. The  headlines from a recent online survey reveal that there is a good level of knowledge about the range of services provided, particularly around education, training and employment. Impressions of Mosaic Clubhouse are overwhelmingly positive.

Looking to the future there are many initiatives planned that will give members “more opportunities to grow, gain confidence and skills,” says Maresa. These will include  “teaming” so that people can volunteer daily to be a unit  “team leader”, as well as “challenge yourself Friday” where individuals are encouraged to volunteer for something they have never done before. And more people will be encouraged to work in the information hub now there is a grasp on training needs.

They are also encouraging members to learn to make cheap and nutritious food at home, as well as a weekly “newsflash” so that members make a bulletin to be shown on the smart screen at Friday get togethers. There are plans for even more TEP and education opportunities and ways to make the service even more accessible to all cultures, ages and gender.

The Charity Awards is organised by Civil Society Media ( and sponsored by the Charities Aid Foundation ( Charity Times awards will be announced in October.


Karen Hooper

Photos: Matthew and Young Adults project 


Check out Maresa’s ‘My Brilliant Moment’

‘My Brilliant Moment’ broadcast on the Community Channel (SKY) 24.02.14 (06:45) & 28.02.14 (18.45).



Find out ‘Why we love Mosaic’


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