in partnership with

Kent and Medway Social Care Trust
Canterbury Christchurch University
Greenwich University

What other Professionals say about the Buddy Scheme

“Education seeks to change practice, to enhance health and to improve the experience of care. Involving service users as equal partners in education enhances and enriches the process. We should not provide education unless it is in partnership with people and carers that use our services”

Professor Richard Gray
Professor of Nursing and Nurse Consultant

The Buddy Scheme is transferable, generalisable and operable across all professional disciplines.

“I think that it is crucial that paediatric nursing students have a placement in a mental health setting in order not only to be able to recognize that people may have mental health problems, but to be able to sign post onto appropriate services. I think that paediatric nursing students need to work with service users as their mentors, because they need to understand the dynamics of a family where a family member has a mental illness and to have an understanding of the strategies that the family may need to put into place to deal with that illness in everyday life. It is also important for paediatric nurses on a ward to be able to recognize that a family member may have mental health needs, either new or existing, that perhaps may have been triggered by the child’s episode in hospital, and that may need specialist intervention”

Aileen Whatley
RN Child, Dip (HE) Paediatric Oncology, CASH Nurse

“I think that the Buddy Scheme would benefit multidisciplinary staff working in A&E as it is integral to providing person centred care, and facilitates empathy and insight into mental illness from the perspective of service users.”

Heidi Edmunds
Emergency Nurse Practitioner A&E, RGN, RN (Child)

What students say


“The Buddy Scheme involves side by side partnership working between service users and students”


“As a midwifery student I found the time that I spent with my Buddy was invaluable”


“…an inside understanding of the experience of mental illness from his perspective and most importantly about service users’ involvement in developing services for the future”


“It will enhance reflection in practice and future decision making, and in my opinion it is a useful tool to develop skills for future practice”

The Buddy Scheme is an innovative method of practice education that enables students to access service users’ personal knowledge and utilize this as an important education tool.

Through hearing the service users’personal narrative, students’ are able to move beyond medical labels to an understanding of mental distress, well being and recovery based on these personal experiences.

Indeed, there is growing evidence that access to service users’ personal knowledge in this way is an important active ingredient in the development of person centred care skills employed by professionals.

In addition, taking place as it does close to the students practice experience there may be some additional benefits to those gained by service user involvement in the classroom.

The service users that contribute effectively as part of the Buddy Scheme may be less likely to feel comfortable being involved in classroom work at the University.

This method then is able to give a voice to those currently in receipt of mental health and social care services who may otherwise not be heard in an educational context but who have demonstrated they have much to offer in the learning process of professionals.

Finally, the Buddy Scheme experience provides students with an important model for hearing, acknowledging and connecting with the clients’ perspective on their own situation. This is crucial in the development of a person centred approach to service delivery.

Makes sense for the Buddy Scheme method of practice education to be formally integrated into the curriculum of all Health and social care professionals.”

Janet Wood Senior Lecturer
Mental health and Faculty strategy lead for service user and carer Involvement in health and social care at Canterbury Christ Church University.

What Service Users Say

“As I spoke to the student, it brought back memories of when I was ill, which help me to face it now. I spoke about the stigma I used to experience which now doesn’t bother me. My confidence has improved as I used to sit in the room at meetings and find it very difficult to participate. However, now with the Buddy Scheme I can sit in a room and talk confidently about my experiences.”

”The Buddy Scheme has encouraged me, helping me on my journey to recovery. I know from talking to other service users who have had the chance to work with the Buddy Scheme that they share the same feelings.”

”The Buddy Scheme helps you to build trust, enables you to move on and helps progress change and improvements in services.”