How We Work



Our Ethos

When people come to our groups or services, we let them know:

You can help others as well as yourself

Helping others can be a path toward wellbeing. Our members take leadership roles in running our groups and services and everyone plays a role in deciding how our services run.

You can live the life you want

People with mental health issues are no different from anyone else. This includes their ability to live the life they want. We provide just enough support to help someone take the next step to supporting themselves.

You are the one who makes the difference

The main agent of change in anyone’s life is always themselves. No-one can make someone else recover. We aim to create the right environment for people to find their own way toward wellbeing.

Our Values

We always strive to be:


  • We want everyone who comes to a BowHaven group or service to feel at home and make new friends.
  • We welcome people and encourage them to do the same for others.
  • We don’t discriminate or stigmatise people based on mental health diagnosis or any other factors.


  • We want everyone who comes to a BowHaven group or service to feel that they can express their creative side.
  • We work with people to find the answer themselves.


  • We ask people about their lives and listen to their responses.
  • We respect people’s knowledge about what works for them.
  • Based on this knowledge, we facilitate co-produced services that people want.
  • We involve people and help develop their confidence to become their own solutions.





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The 5 areas that facilitate change

We concentrate on five main areas of focus that make a difference. Research has shown that each of these areas is correlated to mental health and recovery. However, we do not discriminate between what is good for people with mental health diagnoses in comparison to everyone else. We believe that the following principles apply to everyone.

1. A focus on people’s assets and skills

  • We focus on people’s assets and skills so they can fully recognise the best in themselves
  • People are more than their problems and difficulties.
  • When people see themselves negatively this is mainly the result of the messages that they have received from others around them (often for a long time), not any inherent character flaw or personal failing.
  • People have strengths, skills and assets that are often hidden, undiscovered or forgotten about.
  • Focussing on people’s strengths and assets allows them to redefine the ‘story’ of their lives.

2. A focus on social inclusion and positive relationships

  • Providing the opportunity to step out of isolation and form positive relationships is at the heart of our work.
  • Re-evaluation of one’s worth and capabilities happens in relationship and relationships are necessary and sufficient to allow this.
  • A truly positive relationship is one in which everyone involved feels listened to and respected.
  • Positive relationships can be professional, but can also be personal, social, or family based.

3. A focus on personal development and skills

  • We work with people to help them develop skills and knowledge to maximise their potential.
  • Personal development works alongside positive relationships to inform people of their potential. Each one helps the other.
  • Personal development can be anything from cooking, learning visual art or music, continuing formal education, volunteering, or returning to work.

4. Person Centred Recovery

  • We believe that given enough time, opportunity and support, people know what will support them and help them grow.
  • Respectful encouragement is needed to help people take ‘safe risks’ but someone’s next step is always decided by them.

5. Co-production and Involvement

  • We see that the process of being listened to (see person centred recovery above) in itself leads to growth.
  • Often people have a history of being ignored or criticised for their ideas, feelings and thoughts.
  • We encourage people to value their experience and use it to help build our services and support. (Co-production in service design and service assessment).
  • We then encourage people to use their assets in order to help us deliver services and support together, (co- production in service delivery) – bringing the cycle of change full circle.

How Change Happens

Each of these areas brings change in itself. However they also work together. BowHaven strives to incorporate each of these areas in combination and at different times.

Change happens when people start to feel listened to and respected. It is an ongoing process toward wellbeing. These principles are guidelines for this to happen. Everyone in BowHaven is involved in creating this, in themselves and others.


Find out more about Co-production

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Our Impact

View reports and surveys 

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