About Us

About Us

Real Lives was set up by Sue and Nicole in October 2012 to support people in their communities, and to specifically fill a gap in the market where there was a lack of services offering quality, safe social support to people with mental health challenges and multiple needs. They chose to do this as voluntary Directors and make the company non-profit as a way to provide quality and sustainable support and employment. Real Lives took on Crocus Café, Nottingham’s longest running community café, in April 2013, and together they combined as a company.
Crocus Café functions separately but under the same Directors and ethos. Customers benefit from the affordable food, safe space, suspended meals, friendly team, voluntary placements, vegan shop and delicious evening events. You will have to visit to see for yourself!
Since 2012 Real Lives have developed the workforce across Real Lives and Crocus Café, with many long-standing employees who have developed with the company. This gives the place a real family feel and a set of workers who are all working with the same understanding of the company values.
It was really important to Sue and Nicole to offer supportive roles to people who want to use their varied and unique experiences to support others. Real Lives call their support workers PALs (Peers and Allies for Living) this role doesn’t require a set of specific experiences, but the right values and passion for supporting others on their recovery journey is essential.
Over the years Real Lives have supported many individuals through funded support and employment, with some clients and employees staying with us for years. Weekly team meetings are always prioritised to ensure everyone who receives support or is employed by Real Lives is known individually and understood by the management team so the right workers are allocated to clients and we can support each person’s journey with us.

Our Values

The beliefs that guide the way we work

Here at Real Lives CIC we believe in people. Real Lives exists to support people to realise their potential and achieve their goals, whether that is the people who work with us or the people we support through personal budgets. We aim to work in the following ways, implementing our values across all levels of our company:

People Focused – Everyone is interesting, has an amazing story to tell and gifts and talents to share. Everyone is unique and special and everyone has the potential to do the things they want to do with their life. Real Lives is led by the person so support is tailored to everyone’s specific situation; building on their talents, working towards their goals.

Acceptance – We strive to make everyone feel welcome and valued. We give everyone a chance and work on having a mutual respect and shared wish to work together.

Language – We use inclusive language, for example our support workers are called PALs [peers and allies for living] this draws on shared interests and experiences and personal rather than professional expertise.

Personal Wellness Planning – We work with people to develop a personal wellness plan that helps us to understand what drives and motivates them, to support them to reach their goals in a way that works for them whilst knowing these are different for everyone and will change over time.

Safe – It is essential for everyone involved in Real Lives to be safe, emotionally and practically. This means that we take getting to know our clients and workers seriously and want to understand them, from the first time we meet people we will put in place recovery focused ways of working to keep everyone safe.

Flexible – We are able to adapt to the needs of different people and to the changing circumstances and wishes of each person; all decisions are negotiated in a careful process and reviewed regularly to give that person the best chance of success in reaching their goals.

Empowering – We want to be building peoples’ confidence to make decisions and choices for themselves therefore we honour their wishes, preferences and decisions.

Creative – We believe that everyone has a right to the support they need to achieve their personal recovery goals. We will go the extra mile to help them do this. Often this means working together to look at their challenges from every angle, and together finding how we can work with each person differently.

Community – Real Lives provides a warm and welcoming community for people who both receive support and provide this support but our support does not stop here. Everyone has important people in their lives and we will work with family, friends, neighbours, workers and colleagues. For many people the roles and relationships that they aspire to exist outside of any support services. We will therefore explore other community amenities, resources and activities together to promote their social inclusion.

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