Better Pathways

Supporting people with mental ill health

Better Pathways is a not-for-profit organisation which engages with adults and young people experiencing mental health problems on their pathway to recovery. We provide employment, education, training and volunteering services to support clients in our local communities of Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley and Coventry.

We use a person-centred approach, so that our clients are equal partners in planning and developing the services that we put in place to support them.

We think that local organisations like ours play such an important role within their local communities and Better Pathways has been providing employment and training services for people with mental health problems in the Birmingham area for more than 50 years. You may have heard of us as BITA Pathways; we changed our name in 2017 to better reflect the positive role we play in supporting people on their pathway to recovery.
We support more than a thousand people a year within our wide range of employment, education, training and volunteering services. We know how important the right type of work is to our clients and so we run a number of social enterprises ourselves. These are businesses which have a social purpose, which is to provide a safe and supportive environment to both employ and train our clients. And all surplus revenue from our social enterprises is invested back into the Better Pathways charity.

As a registered charity you can be confident that if you are spending money with us by commissioning services, buying our products or donating money, then we will invest it to provide the best service we can for our clients.

Find out how you can use our services here.
Find out how you can support our work here.


Click here or on the image to download the Better Pathways Annual Report 2017

Latest News

Farewell to Andrew!

Andrew, who has been using Better Pathways services for over a year and half is now moving forward with his journey!

It is such an achievement to see Andrew being able to change his life with confidence. First starting with us he was scared and worried, but he grew a social circle of friends through Better Pathways and this helped him. Over his time here, Andrew has learnt many skills, made a group of friends and built his self-confidence so he can now start a college course which he wants to do.

‘When I was in hospital I was placed at Better Pathways. Whilst I have been here I have been able to move forward in life. I am now starting a new chapter of my life at Bournville college doing an Independent Living Skills Course. The skills I learnt at Better Pathways will help me in college and beyond. I will come back and visit to volunteer during holidays. I am very thankful to all the staff and everyone part of Better Pathways.’

We love to hear when people use our services and can turn their lives around, as we are here to help and support them. We all wish Andrew the very best of luck with his future!

Wesleyan Foundation Funding

We are exploring corporate sponsorship with the Birmingham Insurance Company, Wesleyan.  They have a voting scheme to support their charity of the month, this month we have been included, if you click on the link below this will take you to the site and you can vote for us.

We are hoping to raise funds for the Service User Mini Bus. This will be beneficial to our service users as we will be able to take them out on trips, to help with socialising, and wellbeing.

If you could share this across your networks to vote for us we would really appreciate it. 🙂

Mental Health First Aid Training at Better Pathways

We have some more new dates for our Mental Health First Aid training sessions. Get booked in now before spaces get filled! If you or employees in your organisation haven’t been on one of these training courses, then now is the time.

We have a range of dates available which will be held from our head office in Digbeth, Birmingham. If you are interested in any of the dates get in touch with one of our qualified instructors today.

Mental Health First aid is just as important as Physical First Aid. It is important to understand mental health and learn how to spot the signs and symptoms so you can support someone experiencing it.

2 day course price is £175pp + VAT – (MHFA England have a RRP £300+VAT pp however as a mental health charity we subsidise this rate and offer the training at a cost of £175+VAT pp).

Half day course price is £95pp + VAT- (MHFA England have a RRP £125+VAT pp however as a mental health charity we subsidise this rate and offer the training at a cost of £95+VAT pp).

Better Pathways Announce New Structure

AUGUST 2018 |


Better Pathways has announced a new organisational structure, which is to provide greater stability for employees and more employment opportunities for service users.  Due to reductions in funding the charity is having to close two of its five social enterprises.

The organisation is to continue its focus on the delivery of core employability programmes and complementary services including mental health first aid training to local businesses.

The decision is part of a strategic plan that has seen Better Pathways awarded the prestigious title of IPS Centre of Excellence and secure several new contracts including Mental Health Recovery and Employment in partnership with the NHS.

As part of the new structure, Better Pathways will close two social enterprises – St. Anne’s Soft Furnishings and Better Garden Services – which have traditionally offered work experience and volunteering opportunities to service users.

Better Pathways Chief Executive, Liz Armstrong, said:

“We’re very excited by what the future holds and have absolute conviction in our decision as a management team and Board of Trustees to focus on employability services for people with severe and enduring mental health needs.

Amidst the backdrop of challenging economic conditions and reduced funding, we’ve collectively had to ask ourselves some tough questions as to how to provide the best platform for future growth and stability.

Closing two of our social enterprises is regrettable but it does mean that we can now place more time and resources on the needs of the core charity, in bidding for and winning employability contracts that we know will allow a greater number of disadvantaged jobseekers to secure employment opportunities.”

It is believed that interested parties have approached Better Pathways about assuming responsibility for the social enterprises concerned.



AUGUST 2018 |

The Unspoken Production


Bravo 22 Company, a recovery through the arts programme by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, invites you to join the “Unspoken”

Production will be performed at Birmingham Hippodrome on the 8th and 9th October 2018.

The play, performed by ex-Service personnel, brings to light the lives interrupted and changed forever by war, in a heart-wrenching and hilarious story of love, loss, loneliness and hope. Alongside the performances, Bravo 22 Company is also running a theatre workshop on 9th October for up to 30 local participants from the wounded, injured and sick (WIS) and veteran communities, including family members.

The workshop provides an opportunity for participants to meet and talk with Unspoken cast members, chat with the Production Team about how using their own story can help benefit their recovery and wellbeing, watch some cast members perform short monologues from the play, and take part in some games and exercises straight from the professional rehearsal room, to help with confidence and to have a bit of fun.

They are now recruiting for the workshop, so if you are a wounded, injured or sick Service man or woman, a veteran or family member living in Birmingham or the West Midlands, and would like to get involved in the Birmingham Bravo 22 Company Theatre Project in 2019 – then come along to a FREE taster workshop and receive 1 free ticket to the Unspoken Performance at 7:45pm !


Tuesday 9th October 2018 @ 4pm Birmingham Hippodrome

To confirm your attendance email

England Blind star Brandon Coleman delighted by Better Pathways funding success!


England Blind footballer Brandon Coleman has praised Grow the Game and Better Pathways Members Football Club following the award of a £3000 grant from The FA.

Grow the Game scheme has supported 2,047 new teams in the last year, now Better Pathways is one of its newest members!

The grant, which will provide a boost to grassroots disability football in Birmingham, has paved the way for BPMFC to set up two ‘open-to-everyone’ football teams over the next couple of years, as well as providing opportunities for its members to obtain FA coaching qualifications.

Brandon said: “I am delighted that Better Pathways Members Football Club has been awarded a Grow the Game grant. The club has worked extremely hard with the Birmingham FA and the Football Foundation to give more local players living with a disability the opportunity to get involved in the game.”

“Playing disability football from a young age not only provides a number of physical, mental and social benefits, but gives players the best chance to develop skills and achieve their potential. It is fantastic to see this money flowing down to the grassroots of the game and I wish BPMFC the very best of luck for next season!”

Grow the Game is a programme funded by The FA and delivered by the Football Foundation. It awards grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially amongst under-represented groups.

This year, £1,500 was made available for clubs looking to create new female and disability football teams to help towards the costs of FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; football kit and equipment.

Club Chairman Luke Coad said, “this is a great opportunity for our members to play recreational football for an organised club, something that has not been available to many of them in the past. Thank you to the Football Foundation & the Birmingham FA for making it happen. We can’t wait to get started, once we’ve agreed on what colour kit we should wear!”

For more information, call Luke Coad on 0121 296 5946 or email

Birmingham Pride 2018 – Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May

The IPS Better Pathways Team attended Birmingham Pride 2018 to promote the new Mental Health Recovery and Employment contract to the LGBTQ Community and to engage with local employers who were attending the event.

Creative Support were also at the event to promote their recovery programme, aswell as refer interested clients over to us to discuss employment support.

The team had two very successful days engaging with the local community and promoting the fantastic work we do at Better Pathways. We were even live on local radio!

Thank you to the Lloyds Bank volunteers for helping us get our allotment ready for the summer.


This is the second year in a row they have helped out and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support. They worked hard and we thanked them with curry!

Alistair Mackie, Senior Manager for Private Banking Lending Managers at Lloyds Bank Group said “today was a great day for two reasons. One is the team-building element, and the other is doing work for the community. We were literally digging deep to help them! The most important aspect is working together and making a difference to the community.

Mental health charities awarded contract to support Birmingham people with their recovery and into employment


Three of the region’s leading mental health charities have come together in a unique partnership which is set to support thousands of local people with their recovery and a move into meaningful employment; Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will work together to deliver the three-year NHS contract.

The newly-designed mental health recovery and employment services contract was awarded to the charities by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Birmingham, following a public consultation and procurement process last year. Starting in April 2018, these specialist services will be available to more than 2,500 local people with serious mental illness.

Lead provider, Better Pathways, has been providing employment and training services to people with mental ill-health in the West Midlands for more than 50 years.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this new contract on behalf of the Birmingham Joint Commissioning Team,” said Liz Armstrong, Better Pathways Chief Executive.

“This contract gives us an exciting platform to integrate the services offered by Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support, leveraging the expertise of three charities with a proven track record of supporting those with the most complex needs in our communities.

“We look forward to working closely together with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Forward Thinking Birmingham in supporting people on their journey of recovery.”

The new contract will see mental health recovery and employment services integrated and delivered under one banner, providing a seamless service for users.

Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will deliver the recovery elements of the programme, with Better Pathways delivering employment services through the individual placement and support model.

This new service will strongly recognise that recovery from a mental health issue is different for everyone. Some individuals will be keen to get into employment, whilst others will benefit from socialising with peers, developing new interests and taking a roll in actually running the centres; one size does not fit all when it comes to recovery.

Local GP and NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG’s lead for mental health, Dr Aqil Chaudary, added: “The specialist support provided by this service will offer a range of practical assistance to individuals with serious mental illness and will be invaluable in helping local people, who have struggled with mental ill health, back into employment.”

Better Pathways is delighted to welcome Dr Martin Commander to our Board of Directors. Martin is a Consultant Psychiatrist and has significant experience of supporting people with mental health problems within our local community.

You can read more about him on our ‘Board of Directors’ page by clicking here

Better Pathways is looking for some sponsorship that will allow us purchase a new minibus for our members. So we decided to sit a few of them down to ask them where they like to go, and what it would mean for them…

Core Services.

Better Pathways towards employment

At Better Pathways, we know the value of good employment to mental well-being. And we make sure that our clients have access to all the education, training and volunteering opportunities they need in order to prepare themselves for the world of work.

Over 50 years ago the Birmingham Industrial Therapy Association (BITA) was founded to provide what used to be called “industrial Therapy” for people with mental health problems. Today the focus has changed a little; Better Pathways still provides a great range of employment opportunities within our social enterprises but we also know that this isn’t the right answer for everyone.
Most people want a job that is local to them, where they are valued and where they can use their skills and knowledge. To provide this type of opportunity for all our clients we need to work with a wide range of employers, make sure that our clients have the right skills and qualifications in place and have opportunities to test and develop those skills in an unpressured environment..

“work has an important role in promoting mental wellbeing. It is an important determinant of self-esteem and identity. It can provide a sense of fulfilment and opportunities for social interaction.”
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence ‘Mental Wellbeing at Work’ 2009.

Job Outcomes

Job Outcomes

2012 - 2013


2013 - 2014


2014 - 2015


2015 - 2016


Contact Us.

General Contact

If you would like to find out how you can:

  • use our services
  • support our clients by providing work or volunteering opportunities
  • buy our products
  • commission us to make products on your behalf
  • donate to us

then we would love to hear from you.

You can call us on: 0121 773 1455
Email us on:
Or even fax us on: 0121 753 0274

You can donate to us here

Write to us at:

Better Pathways
201-206 Alcester St
B12 0NQ

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Send A Message

Better Pathways is the operating name of the Birmingham Industrial Therapy Organisation Ltd, Registered in the UK No 748773 at the above address. Registered Charity No: 244866.

How to find us