Purpose The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the development of a recovery-oriented training programme for mental health care-givers. It also considers the effectiveness of using participatory research methods that promote involvement of people with diverse expertise to co-produce this programme. It presents a rationale for developing recovery-oriented training, which employs blended learning, comprising face-to-face and e-learning. Design/methodology/approach A small advisory group consisting of professionals, experts-by-experience (service users) and -by-caring (care-givers) and an academic developed a blended learning programme about the recovery approach for mental health carer-givers. This paper details the participatory approach supported by an action research cycle that contributed to the design of the programme, and the specific impact of experiential knowledge on its development. Findings Reflections on the advisory group process are described that led to the co-production of the course. This leads to consideration of the value of using this research approach to develop a carer-focused programme. The content of the recovery-oriented training programme is presented which adopts blended learning. This leads to discussion of potential of this format to improve carers’ access to training. Originality/value It is proposed that this recovery-oriented course, building on a previous study, has the potential to positively influence outcomes for the training programme participants (the care-givers) and the person they support. It is suggested that blended learning may in part overcome some of the barriers carers experience to accessing and participating in traditional interventions. Reflections on the process of co-production underline the value of participatory research in designing this recovery-oriented course for carers.