in partnership with

Kent and Medway Social Care Trust
Canterbury Christchurch University
Greenwich University

The Aims of the Buddy Scheme

  • To enable health and social care students and medical trainees to develop a greater understanding of mental ill health and related issues from a service user perspective.
  • For students to have a service user mentor in addition to a professional mentor.
  • For students and trainees to take learning from the Buddy Scheme forward into their practice in the workplace.
  • To reflect the wishes of service users to be involved in education to develop skilled, person centred, recovery focused practitioners who are enabled to improve services, reflecting the views of people using those services.
  • To facilitate active, valued roles and flexible employment for people who use healthcare services in the education and development of professionals; to challenge the misconceptions and stigma that surround mental ill health.
  • To involve all stakeholders in health and social care and medical education-educators, service users, service providers, students and trainees and facilitate partnership working across education and service delivery.
  • To reflect educational learning outcomes of educational establishments’ Curriculum. The Buddy Scheme is validated by the NMC in the curriculum for mental health nursing at Canterbury Christchurch University (commendation) and for midwifery at Greenwich University.
  • To help mental health trusts meet local and national drivers and strategic priorities.
  • The Buddy Scheme is now operational through The Buddy Scheme Community Interest Company which provides a financial and business governance structure to provide flexible paid employment for mental health service users and carers.

Helping Organisations


How the Buddy Scheme can help a mental health trust meet local and national drivers and strategic priorities

Perkins et al (Dec 2009) stated that

“Increasing the employment opportunities for people with mental health conditions has strong potential to increase the quality of the service, improve performance and reduce the cost to the NHS.”

The Buddy Scheme aims to improve services by enhancing recovery through the resumption or continuity of occupation and employment, enabling a Trust to meet performance targets such as The NHS Performance Framework Application to Mental Health Trusts (DH 2011) Key Performance Indicator to increase the number of adults using secondary mental health services entering employment. The recent cross government mental health outcomes strategy “No Health without Mental Health” (HM Government Feb 2011) and “Work, Recovery and Inclusion” (HM Government 2009) further connect employment to the recovery process. Other organisational drivers the Scheme enables an organisation to meet are: NICE Guidelines for Schizophrenia (2009 update) regarding employment; PCT Targets for Mental Health Strategy regarding personalisation, equality and diversity, social inclusion; Quality, Innovation, Productivity, Prevention (QIPP) agenda (DH 2010) and Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) ( DH 2008) local service quality improvement targets for mental health trusts regarding user experience and enablement.


Some of The Organisations we Are working with

  • Kent and Medway Social Care Partnership Trust
  • South Essex Partnership Trust
  • Oxleas NHS Trust
  • Sussex Partnership Trust
  • Reading Borough Council with Berkshire NHS Trust and Reading University
  • Canterbury Christchurch University
  • Greenwich University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Medical Education Kent and Medway SCPT