Converge was established in 2008 by Nick Rowe and Gemma Alldred after they had taught an ‘Introduction to Theatre’ course at York St John University. At that time, both realised the potential of developing an arts education for mental health service users, delivered by students and held on a university campus. It was to become the key principle which, today, remains at the heart of Converge. Borne of a unique collaboration between the North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust and York St John University, Converge continues to deliver educational opportunities for people with mental health problems.

In addition, we offer work-based experience to York St John Students involved in the programme. All classes are taught by undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff and we have developed a solid track record of delivering quality courses to service users. Careful support and mentoring underpin our work, thereby allowing students to experiment with their own ideas and creativity whilst gaining real world experience in the community. This undoubtedly enhances their employability in an increasingly competitive market.

As a leader in the field, Converge develops symbiotic projects and partnerships which are driven by innovation and best practice. The result is twofold: a rich and exciting educational opportunity for people with mental health problems alongside authentic and practical work experience for university students.

Our aims:

• To offer mental health service providers valuable educational opportunities for their clients.

• To offer high quality educational opportunities to those who use mental health services in the York area.

• To provide a means through which undergraduate and postgraduate York St John University students can fulfil their module requirements in community, applied or work-based modules; thereby developing skills and experiences to prepare them for work.

• To support and develop the creative potential of York St John University students and course participants.

• To work with mental health professionals and other partners to fulfil our aims.

• To conduct practice-based research, impact studies and evaluations.

• To support the development of further innovations in the field.

• To challenge the dynamics of social exclusion which make it difficult for people who have used mental health services to access quality education and employment.

If you would like to know more about our work and the arts courses we offer, please get in touch. We welcome all enquiries.


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