Six patients and three staff from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Early Intervention Psychosis team set sail for five nights last month, on the Voyage to Recovery. They sailed on a 22-metre boat from Holyhead in Wales to Whitehaven in Cumbria. This life-changing opportunity was designed to allow disadvantaged groups to experience new adventures for social connection and personal growth.

The Voyage to Recovery is a collaboration between the Cirdan Sailing Trust and several Early Intervention teams from across the UK.

Family Interventions Lead at the Care Trust, Lucy McArthur, said: “This journey taught these young adults how to get out of their comfort zones, develop independence, resilience and confidence. It is a safe way to develop stress management skills. This new adventure and experience gave both staff and patients the opportunity to learn how to sail, crew a boat and cook meals for the whole crew.

“The most amazing thing was just how much everyone gained from the experience; at the end of the trip most patients were visibly less anxious, more confident, more comfortable around people, more trusting in others. After the trip families noticed a difference in their loved ones. It’s like an accelerated recovery process, all service users are now more future focused. One has managed to get himself a volunteering role from spending most of his time is his room and one is hoping to become a support worker following the trip.”

This opportunity through adventure therapy was developed by the North Wales Early Intervention Psychosis team. The scheme has life changing effects on people who are recovering from psychosis.

The team received some amazing feedback from all involved, participants said:

“It feels as though it has built up confidence for both meeting strangers and being in other challenging situations in the future.”

“It was brilliant being on the boat with everyone, it was a good bonding experience, not bothered by being in such a small place with everyone. Given me a new outlook on what I want to do with my life.”

The Care Trust’s crew collaborated with the Sheffield Early Intervention Psychosis team on the voyage. The team was split in two to take turns crewing the boat in four hourly shifts through the journey.

Lucy McArthur added: “The Trust were very supportive of this trip. Our line managers helped make the trip possible by giving time, support and making sure the funds were available. We have also had lots of help from our colleagues at the Better Lives Charity, from the Trust’s Estates and Facilities team, the catering and security team at Lynfield Mount; and Tesco’s on Canal Road in Bradford.”

The charity raises funds to enhance patient care and go over and above the core services offered. Find out more about the charity: www.bdct.nhs.uk/better-lives-charity/.