real lives

About Us

About Us

Real Lives has been providing recovery focused support to the citizens of Nottingham through personal budgets since September 2012 when the company was set up and originally funded by Co-Directors Sue and Nicole. Personal budgets are funding that people can claim through working with a social worker to explore how their difficulties affect their life. The aim is to allow them to have the choice over how they meet their goals in living as independently as possible.

If you choose to work with Real Lives or your worker feels we are the best placed company to meet your needs we will provide clear information about what is possible to support you and work with you to develop a plan and find a suitable worker.

As we believe that successful working is much more likely if the individual chooses us, not the system.

A case study on Real Lives and the support provided was published in the Mental Health and Social Inclusion Journal in 2015: Real lives: promoting recovery through personalisation and peer support

Click here to read more about our core values and beliefs.

Mental Wellbeing

Although a lot of our expertise lies within mental health, our recovery focused values can benefit anyone and we have staff with experience working with lots of different people and situations.

We also know that mental health is a continuum and something that everyone experiences and this is something we encourage all our workers to draw from when working with clients to empathise and work along side them.

The role of our PALs

Our peers and allies for living or ‘PALs’ will deliver your support package. They will draw on their skills and experience to work with you in a way that is helpful for you. We feel that everyone has experiences of poor health, emotional distress, or challenging periods of life. Equally everyone has interests, goals, life skills and positive experiences and these can all be used to inspire hope and create robust and creative working relationships.

We are keen to support people at different stages of employment and utilise our skills and experience in helping people build their work resilience and awareness of how they can keep well at work. We take people on in low intensity voluntary roles right through to being paid delivering support. Eventually, like our clients, we hope with the skills and experience gained our employees go on to develop their careers inside or outside Real Lives.

Not for Profit

Sue and Nicole do not take a wage from the business and any profit we make will be re-invested in our clients, workforce, the community and the services we offer.

Crocus Café

One way we support the community is by running a community café that also acts as a safe space and provides support, work placements, suspended meals, food parcels and affordable events and vegetarian and vegan meals.

Art Gallery

We also support the artistic community by providing space for art exhibitions and events, an annual craft fair and a space for groups, projects and training.


Real Lives has a link with Uganda and their peer support movement, we believe that the UK and Uganda can learn, develop and change ways of working and attitudes for the better through exchange of ideas and experience.


home refer cafe pal contact