University of Chester Signs The Recovery Friendly Pledge

At the start of March, 2023, the University of Chester officially signed the Recovery Friendly Pledge. Dr Wendy Dossett hosted us for the afternoon as part of the university's Diversity Festival.

Just the second University to sign on the dotted line, Chester added its name to the UK universities committing to become Recovery Friendly, just last week. And there may well be more to follow, soon.

Before launching the pledge to students, as part of the University’s annual Diversity Festival, Dr Wendy Dossett - an Ambassador for this very website, at its launch - spoke to BBC Radio Merseyside about what it means for Chester to become a Recovery Friendly University.

“It’s a commitment, and a statement of intent to acknowledge the presence of people in recovery from addiction within the university community,” Dr Dossett explained, introducing the pledge to people across Merseyside, at 7:25am. 

“Importantly, it’s to celebrate their presence. People in recovery bring with them enormous strengths, as do people with other mental health conditions. I think we’re becoming better in the higher education sector at acknowledging not just support needs, but the value they bring to the community.”

“Recovery is contagious, when people can see it, they can aspire to it. It happens within communities. Tackling stigma happens within communities. We hope that [by] signing the pledge in Chester, we’re sending a signal to wider culture that being a person in recovery is a wonderful thing.”

Scroll down to read more about the pledge, and click ‘play’, below, to hear Dr Dossett’s interview, in full.

Later that day, from 2pm-5pm, Dr Dossett presented the story behind the pledge, to an audience of students and staff at Chester University. Joined by Dot and Adam from Recovery Connections, Luke Trainor from the Better Than Well project, via video link, the journey from co-creating the pledge to its signing was detailed. With contributions on why Collegiate Recovery is so important, where it is right now in the UK, and where it may be going, further pre-recorded content was presented, contributed by Dr Tom Kimball, from Texas Tech University, and John de Pury, from Universities UK.

As excited and optimistic as he was when the University of Sunderland signed the pledge, last November, Dr Kimball said: “The University of Chester has been a pioneer in naming and celebrating the experience of recovery from addictions amongst its staff and student body, and I hope many other universities will take their lead and have the courage to commit openly to facilitating the higher education of people in recovery.”

Recovery Connections CEO, Dot Smith, said of the occasion: “The University of Chester has shown real leadership in this field. I couldn’t be happier for its beautiful staff and student recovery community that the University is openly committing to the Pledge.”

Find out more about the Recovery Friendly Uni pledge, and how YOU can get involved, here: