News, views, network(s) and updates etc

Not dead, very much alive!

A wee update for all who may be dismayed at a slight lack of new material on this, our Launchpad website.

We are very much still going, still very active (and still, until Summer, at Broadacre House). The best place to find updates (apart from here, when I get round to putting stuff up…) is at the website of ReCoCo, which we co-founded.

Launchpad is an integral part of ReCoCo, which has seen the voluntary sector and the NHS come together is a new way of working, with a different approach. Help, but also self-help, advice given but also sought, a collective giving and taking for mutual and maximal benefit. A transparent, mutually-assistive way of operating, open to all-comers, and every mental health group (interpreting mental health in a broad inclusive fashion, thus acknowledging cross-overs with drug and alcohol services, family services, learning disability and autism spectrum agencies) being positively welcome to use the space, its rooms and resources. The key to this all that it not only centres on user-led peer support, but also that it is “open source” or non-proprietary, working across organisations within the locality. It gives the most supportive, progressive yet flexible way for service users to utilise their lived experience for the benefits of other service users, and to empower themselves in doing so, working across different agencies and communities without barriers. This rewards and gives an entry to paid work, plus opens the door for opportunities for more such work with partner organisations and/or those in which workers may become embedded.

Basically, it’s the mortar in the mental health system, that holds separate blocks together into a coherent structure that has purpose. If someone is lucky, they may receive an hour or two of direct clinical intervention in a week, which leaves 166 or 167 hours to be filled. We allow users and interested others (carers, volunteers, family, clinicians, experts) to help fill those hours with purposeful activity and self-development, creating the necessary conditions for that small segment of clinical time (delivered elsewhere) to have the most beneficial effects.

The gap between political platitudes about mental health and the realities lived by those with mental health difficulties has never been larger. So, why ReCoCo? Because of our collective track records of compassionate and informed mental health expertise, of involvement and activism with integrity, of organisations run and led by people with lived experience of mental distress and the knowledge of what it’s like to be on the receiving end. ReCoCo speaks truth to power without being seduced by it, always staying true to the insight of the lived experience and the grassroots. We are composed and credible but not compromised, with a solidity of purpose and a level of competence that means we can’t be blithely dismissed. Our mission and passion is to capture, convey and catalyse the lived experience: the good and the bad, the tragic and the comic, the browbeaten and the bolshie; to reflect mental health service users in all our glory and all our misery. Not merely to ensure that we are heard, but that we are respected and able to shape our own futures and services.

And here’s the current prospectus, if you can’t get to the ReCoCo website and access it there: Recoco5-web (super compressed)

Sir, the rebels, they're alive

Canny City. Some news…

Dear all, you may have been under impression that things have gone very quiet on the Canny City front, and that wouldn’t be wholly inaccurate.

Still in order to not lose momentum (or more properly, not lose more momentum) we’ve hit on a means of generating word-of-mouth etc.
Yup, we’ve got quite a lot (and can order more if needs be), made of mylar, so they’re reusable and washable etc, and you could use them to decorate T-shirts, tote-bags, make posters, dust icing to decorate cakes. The design and pictures are attached. You may also want to adorn walls and pavements with them, as we’ve also got some chalk (i.e. it washes away) spray paints, which you can have on request.
Some stencils are already out there in the wild, being used, but if you haven’t got one and would like one, just get in touch, and if you can think of others who may want them, let them know to get in touch, too. The aim for now is to build awareness and a “buzz”, so spreading the word is very much order of the day.
As has been mentioned before, there is no website as yet, but we do have a domain name ( and we could put up a holding page for now with the value statement on it.

[This is the value statement:
• Emotional health, well-being and living without fear, distress and anxiety are fundamental. And a right we all have.
• The greatest asset a city has is its people: we want residents and visitors to Newcastle and Gateshead to feel accepted, understood and supported, enabling them to feel physically and emotionally safe, but with support and help close to hand.]

Anyhow, stencil (and sprays) are available now. And we will have a meeting in the week beginning the 10th of July to take things on again.
Alisdair Cameron
Launchpad Team Leader, ReCoCo co-creator

What is it? One, two, three! And that’s a Magic Number…

The third in the groovy new style of prospectus is out!

Like, now, daddy-o.

And it’s a corker, bumper edition with more things inside it than can be counted, full of passion, heart, hard truths and wonderful activities. Plus an annual report, that may just be unlike other annual reports.



ReCoCo-3-WEB    <<<< Click here to download


Final cover 3

Any notions that power shifted massively to patients in 2016 are a fantasy worthy of a snow globe, take it personally from me

I was digging about in my garage the other day and found an old snow globe. I am afraid I have always found these ornaments – the mainstay of souvenir shops across the world – something…

Source: Any notions that power shifted massively to patients in 2016 are a fantasy worthy of a snow globe, take it personally from me