Founder of RFS(I)​

Ms. Elly Jansen, 
OBE, (Order of the British Empire),
has pioneered the creation and development of therapeutic communities.

Richmond Fellowship (RF) was founded in 1959 by Elly Jansen. A young theology student from Holland, taking advantage of the first Mental Health Act, she invited patients from Long Grove Hospital to leave and live with her in the community in Richmond, Surrey. This core founding belief in the concept of recovery has been the guiding light throughout our journey to the present day. She bought a house in Richmond, London, and invited patients from the local psychiatric hospital to live with her. She ran the house based on the ethos of a therapeutic community, with the aim of reintegrating people back into the local community despite long periods of time in hospital.
She has spent most of her life working in England, where in 1959 she has founded the Richmond Fellowship halfway house. Since then, she has founded the Richmond Fellowship International and has accomplished the development of a flourishing network of community mental health facilities spanning the world from Australia and New Zealand to Austria, France, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, Hong Kong, the Caribbean, Malta, Canada and the Americas.
An experienced social worker and trained nurse, Ms. Jansen long ago recognized the need for a new model of care and treatment, independent of the mental hospital and other traditional service institutions. She has embraced a holistic psycho-social approach, striving to eradicate the historical isolation of persons with mental health and other adjustment problems.

Between 1959 and 1986, she endeavoured to widen the scope of her work in response to developmental needs by means of the following:

  • The Richmond Fellowship College which provide a large variety of courses in Human Relations (1967).
  • Richmond Fellowship International which raised funds and awareness of need for developing countries(1981).
  • The Fellowship Charitable Foundation for longer – term care (1983) later to become Community Housing and Therapy.
  • The Richmond Fellowship Workshops which were successfully established in several locations.
Since 1973, Ms. Jansen has been organizing international conferences on therapeutic communities, with the goal of sharing information and stimulating research. She has served as a consultant on community care for governments of many countries and is responsible for a growing number of publications about residential care and human services.
Ms. Jansen continues to campaign for a “whole society”, which will overcome stigma and prejudice and actualize the inherent right of all persons to be given opportunities for a compassionate and dignified response to emotional problems and mental breakdown, and to be afforded support, understanding and respite. Since then, the charity has grown and now has over 100 projects in UK. Richmond Fellowship works mainly with people experiencing mental health issues, but there are also some specialist services that also cater for people with drug/alcohol/sexual abuse issues. In 2006 the fellowship merged with its employment support and training subsidiary, to provide more integrated services.

After serving Richmond Fellowship for 32 years Ms. Elly Jansen resigned from her position as CEO of the Richmond Fellowship in 1991.

She later founded Richmond Psycho-social Foundation International (RPFI) in 2006 and continued to serve as a Board Coordinator.