PFG Doncaster began life last the Personalisation Forum Group, but we changed our name to People Focused Group. Here’s our history so far, full of excitement, achievement and laughter, but also mixed with sadness and great effort.

10th August 2010 – First meeting and formal constitution established.

September 2010  – 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 2010 – 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.

12th November 2010 – Win Regional Great British Care Award for Putting People First – see an article about the awards here.

December 2010 – Publication of PFG Manifesto describing our ambitions.

23rd January 2011 – Kelly Hicks, group coordinator, wins Adult Social Worker of the Year Award 2011.

February 2011 – The group holds its first public meeting to explain why people with mental health problems want more control over their lives and support.

February 2011 – 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.

11th June 2011 – Win National Great British Care Award for Personalisation.

Autumn 2011 – First independent office at St Peter-in-Chains, first grant received and support provided to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

February 2012 – Publication of Support Buddies describing how people came together to help each other – true peer support.

January 2012 – Moved into the Wellness Centre, with funding from Henry Smith Charity to employ Kelly Hicks full time.

14th February 2012 – 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.

May 2012 – Publication of Peer Power describing how the group developed and transformed itself into a powerful movement for peer support.

September 2012 – 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 2012Winter Wonderland, community event, which over 300 people from the local community attended, first peer-led Christmas Dinner for 12 people.

January 2013 – Clothes bank opens, WRAP and Talk for Health peer-led mental health training begins.

July 2013 –  Publication of Whose Community is it Anyway? funded by the Department of Health and describing the true nature of a user-led organisation.

November 2013 – Part of Arté Documentary on austerity in the UK

December 2013 – Stayed at outdoor pursuits hostel in Hatfield Marina and Christmas Dinner

March 2014 – Funding received from the Doncaster’s Innovation Fund to help people develop mini-peer support groups across Doncaster

July 2014 – Humber Learning Consortium provided funding for project to help people back into employment

August 2014 – 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.

August 2014 – Barry organises first coach trip for the whole group. First trip to Bridlington, now a regular feature of PFG life.

September 2014 – First Train the Trainers on WRAP training (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) [link – Mary Ellen Copeland website

December 2014 – Won Doncaster Business Award – Third Sector Business of the Year

February 2015 – Part of Arté Documentary on food poverty in the UK

March 2015 – Training from Hearing Voices Network begins [link]

April 2015 – PFG featured on BBC 3 Disability Now series

May 2015 – Trip to Slaidburn for a weekend of peer-peer respite – no paid staff involved.

June 2015 – 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.

September 2015  – Celebrating Peer Support Event describing acheivements of development work and Return on Social Investment report [see link]

July 2015 – Part of the award process and evaluated the providers for Doncaster’s drug and alcohol

January 2016 – 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 2016 – Penistone Bumping Space established, funded by Barnsley NHS CCG

April 2016 – Supported first gay marriage in Doncaster – Barry and Graham – two of the groups long-standing members.

November 2016 – Community Cafe established to offer a safe space, trying to help people with mental health problems avoid A&E and crisis service provision. 

June 2017 – 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 2017 – 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 2017 – Vinny Cowling was runner up in the St Ledger’s Community Champion Awards