Helen Crowson – Clinical Lead, Derbyshire Eating Disorders Service

“The Derbyshire Eating Disorders Service is keen to work with First Steps self-help group for people with eating disorders. The opportunity to attend a self-help group can be a valuable contribution to aid recovery. We aim to routinely provide people using our service with information about local self-help groups so that they can have the opportunity to attend the group as a useful addition to the psychological treatment they receive from our service.”

Volunteer Support Worker

“I have volunteered for First Steps for about three years and find it such an interesting and rewarding experience.  I still remember the first time I came along to the group, I was so nervous and really didn’t know what to expect.  What I found were a group of supportive, kind and caring people who are all there for each other and really want to do their best to get better and help each other to do so.  I struggled with eating difficulties quite a while ago and never really talked to anyone at the time, so it took me a while to get used to being able to talk about it openly and honestly to people.  But I realised that sharing my experiences, and what helped me to recover, could help other people.  However, I think that one of the most useful things we do as volunteers is to give people a chance to talk and listen to their stories.  I have met so many fantastic people through First Steps, both members and volunteers, and hope to keep volunteering for years to come.”

Volunteer Award Winner 2010

“I feel honoured and privileged to have received an award and to be a part of First Steps. I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful organisation and to be able to input into that much needed support that is given through First Steps to service users. I have met such lovely people and feel truly blessed to be a volunteer for First Steps. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the work of First Steps.”

Derby University Student Wellbeing Service

“On behalf of the wellbeing team I’d like to say a big thank you to Cathy and Rob for coming to give an excellent presentation last week at the University. Feedback from those that attended was that it was very interesting, useful and gave a really clear picture of the services on offer which will help staff here to make appropriate referrals.”

D D Rolls Royce, Community Investment Specialist, Community Relations

“I caught the footage on The One Show last night. Really good publicity for First Steps, it came across really well.”

J M Support Co-ordinator  Domestic Abuse,  Children & Young People’s Support Services, South Derbyshire CVS

“I saw the slot about your work on The One Show the other night, which was great, as it gave me a better insight into the work you do with young people.

Congratulations, you have a wonderful project going. I was just relaying this information to my colleague, so, thought I should let you know how great your project looks and the work you do. I do hope that it  is ok but I am giving out your information to some of the schools that we work in.”

Community Action Derby

“Watched The One Show tonight and thought the section on First Steps Derbyshire was brilliant, and you looked amazing. Great role model for users of the service. Well done on the show and all the hard work that you are doing.

Saw you on The One Show last night – it was great to see the results of the fabulous work that you do.  I’ll try and get a piece into Reach Out newsletter next week about it.”

Steven, Producer/Director THE ONE SHOW

“I just wanted to say that we have had a great response from the public and from the team at The One Show about your film. Thanks so much for all your help and best of luck with First Steps in the future. I hope that you all liked it..."

SC Head of Business Strategy, Business Strategy Directorate, Derbyshire Mental Health Services NHS Trust

"I saw the section on the One Show last night, it was great!!! And brilliant publicity for you! Best wishes"

Sixth Form Coordinator, St Benedicts School

"I just wanted to say a proper thank you for coming in and talking to Year 12’s on Friday.  I was really sorry that I missed your presentation, but Neil said it was one of the best ones he had been involved in and had been really useful."

Service User, Befriendee

“It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s and that a mental health nurse identified I had an eating disorder and referred to Firsts Steps for support. I did not think you can have an ED when you are overweight, I thought it meant you just couldn’t control your food and you are weak-minded. First Steps supported me in identifying and accepting that I had an ED, which was very hard for me. FS made feel welcome to their charity and made the transition as easy and painless as they could in dealing with fact that I have an ED. Especially when the majority of society judge large or thin people when they don’t what it is like and think ED is an excuse to eat or not eat and get attention.

We decided on the best treatment for my situation, which was having a befriender who emails me twice a week. I get on so well with my befriender and find it really easy to write to hear and can do it when I want to. If I don’t want to write much or write lots and everyday thats OK too. We discuss many topics relating ED’s and my history in order to try and identify areas we can work on one step at a time. But accepting you have an ED and getting help is the hardest thing to do, but firsts steps are really there for you and hold your hand (metaphorical) through it all and will support you if you want it. My attitude towards food is getting better and I am slowly try to take the control back of deciding what to eat and when. I know it a slow process and there is no miracle cure but I have had a befriender for over 6 months now and it is really working for me.”