Our Story

PFG Doncaster began life as the Personalisation Forum Group, but we changed our name to People Focused Group. Over the years we've achieved some amazing things. By helping each other we've helped hundreds of people thousands of times.

This summary (see image) is a great account of all that PFG has achieved since 2019 and during 2020:

And below is our history so far, full of excitement, achievement and laughter, but also mixed with sadness and great effort.


PFG started to work with Cast Communities to enable members of the PFG to experience theatre and music shows.

Mental Health Strategy Group

February – New groups began on: Creative Writing; Maths; Addictions; English; Ladies Group; Music

February – PFG Football Team competed in the People’s Cup – a nationwide competition with over 50,000 teams – reaching the final stages.

March – John Chrich, one of the founding members of the group, sadly died. The group helped support him from his diagnosis to the end of his life. PFG member Jude trained as a celebrant so that she could lead the service. His life was celebrated with Irish music, laughter, food and drink. He is remembered constantly by the group.

April – We organised the Celebrating Peer Support which brought together Cormac Russell, Simon Duffy and people told their stories to statutory leaders from services across the region.

Visited the Houses of Parliament for the launch of the Cooperative Guild of Community and Social Workers.

Glyn Butcher started a programme of shadowing community leaders: Stephen Emerson (CCG); Lee Tillman (DMBC); Andrea Butcher (CCG); Andrew Goodall (HealthWatch); Cormac Russell (ABCD); Paul Tanney (St Ledger Homes) and Councillor Rachel Blake.

June – The Denaby Bumping Space was handed over to local people to continue when funding came to an end.

PFG were Tour Makers for the Tour de Yorkshire

May – PFG were featured on the BBC One Show. Having learned to be fencing instructors Kelly and Jacqui ran a course for Muslim women.

July – PFG Trip to Cleethorpes: One group member had never been to the seaside – so the group organised to make their dream come true.

August – PFG participated in Recovery Games, which was organised by Aspire, which included a fantastic, fun and inclusive day involving 100s of people from across the UK.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) came to help clear the grounds around the Wellness Centre.

Bike Library began.

September – 10 people trained on injections for Naloxone which is an antidote for opiate overdose.

New beginnings Barbecue: helping people suffering from substance-abuse.

PFG worked with Aspire to create an event where Cormac Russell came to Doncaster to talk about community-led approaches to community change.

October – Working with Sine FM on a suicide prevention group based on experiences of people with real life experience on strategies for outreach to the people who really need it.

Mark and Glyn ran discussion tables at Council ran summit – Team Doncaster to explore how to create better communication between the voluntary sector and statutory bodies.

12 members of the group visited the EU Parliament in Brussels thanks to the support of Linda McAvan MEP. The group learned about how decisions were made and the value of the EU.

PFG organised the Walk for Wellness. 40 people involved in a walk all around the town for 15 miles, ending up in St Catherine’s in fancy dress, alerting people to the importance of mental health.

November – Suicide prevention group began.

December – Christmas Party: 80 people came together to celebrate Christmas.

PFG began as a partner in pilot of a new Crisis Service.


June – Weekend learning course with Northern College – first example of whole community working together as part of an educational residential event. Inspiring for group members to realise the possibility of adult education.

March – One of the group’s founders, Mick Mack died. The group had supported Mick during the last parts of his life, staying with him, helping him to fulfil his bucket list and organised funeral.

September – Vinny Cowling was runner up in the St Ledger’s Community Champion Awards 


January – Bumping Space in Denaby established, commissioned by Doncaster Public Health as part of the Well North project tackling extreme health inequalities (currently funded by People’s Health Trust).

March – Penistone Bumping Space established, funded by Barnsley NHS CCG

April – Supported first gay marriage in Doncaster – Barry and Graham – two of the groups long-standing members.

November – Community Cafe established to offer a safe space, trying to help people with mental health problems avoid A&E and crisis service provision.


February – Part of Arté Documentary on food poverty in the UK

March – Training from Hearing Voices Network begins [link]

April – PFG featured on BBC 3 Disability Now series

May – Trip to Slaidburn for a weekend of peer-peer respite – no paid staff involved.

June – Co-chaired radical change in crisis services for Doncaster to recognise the social and community dimensions of mental health and working in partnership with police – focused on recovery and prevention.

July – Part of the award process and evaluated the providers for Doncaster’s drug and alcohol

September  – Celebrating Peer Support Event describing acheivements of development work and Return on Social Investment report [see link]


March  – Funding received from the Doncaster’s Innovation Fund to help people develop mini-peer support groups across Doncaster

July – Humber Learning Consortium provided funding for project to help people back into employment

August – First two year contract to embed peer support in Doncaster begins, funded by Doncaster local authority and the NHS CCG. Support for other groups to establish, like New Directions and establish bumping spaces like Java Café.

Barry organises first coach trip for the whole group. First trip to Bridlington, now a regular feature of PFG life.

September – First Train the Trainers on WRAP training (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) [link – Mary Ellen Copeland website

December – Won Doncaster Business Award – Third Sector Business of the Year


January – Clothes bank opens, WRAP and Talk for Health peer-led mental health training begins.

July – Publication of Whose Community is it Anyway? funded by the Department of Health and describing the true nature of a user-led organisation.

November – Part of Arté Documentary on austerity in the UK

December – Stayed at outdoor pursuits hostel in Hatfield Marina and Christmas Dinner


January – Moved into the Wellness Centre, with funding from Henry Smith Charity to employ Kelly Hicks full time.

February – Launch of food bank and Sheila started work to help people with CVs and help to find work, funded by Big Lottery: Awards for All.

Publication of Support Buddies describing how people came together to help each other – true peer support.

May – Publication of Peer Power describing how the group developed and transformed itself into a powerful movement for peer support.

September – Karen Senior employed, funded by People’s Health Trust (including 4 small sparks grant) and action becomes more focused on local community change in Intake, more members come from the local community.

December – Winter Wonderland, community event, which over 300 people from the local community attended, first peer-led Christmas Dinner for 12 people.


January – Kelly Hicks, group coordinator, wins Adult Social Worker of the Year Award 2011.

February – The group holds its first public meeting to explain why people with mental health problems want more control over their lives and support.

Lisa goes into hospital and the  idea of Support Buddies – people helping people – begins as the group work to make sure Lis gets out quickly.

June – Win the National Great British Care Award for Personalisation.

September – First independent office at St Peter-in-Chains, first grant received and support provided to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.


August – First meeting and formal constitution established.

September – First meeting with Centre for Welfare Reform which is a Sheffield-based think tank. They are allies and help us do research and campaigning.

November – Ongoing work with the NHS and the  local authority and pursuit of legal advocacy to make personal health budgets for mental health available to everyone who needs them.

Win the Regional Great British Care Award for Putting People First – see an article about the awards here.

December – Publication of PFG Manifesto describing our ambitions.

Glyn Butcher


Member of PFG and Citizen Network Ambassador

Karen Senior


Member of The People Focused Group

Kelly Hicks


Founder of PFG Doncaster