"Attending my first group at First Steps remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. 
First Steps is like surrounding myself in a comfort blanket with lovely, supportive people who understand the struggles that people like me are experiencing and helps to tackle these in a constructive yet light-hearted way. 
It perfectly strikes the balance between tackling the issues at hand in a serious manner whilst allowing space for laughs.  The people I have met through First Steps have become a sort of 'family' forming a very close bonds and supporting each other through the difficulties we face... The staff at First Steps are dedicated, warm and committed and go out of their way to offer help and guidance... It's a fantastic service that has had a hugely positive impact on my life. Long may it continue!"
- Service User who accessed our All Ages Thursday Groups - 2018 

"I have been accessing help from First Steps since December 2017 and it has made a huge difference to me. In this time I have been attending the EDISS drop in clinics at the University of Nottingham and the support groups on Mondays at Nottingham Trent.

Maisie has been a big help to me during this time. I have come a long way since I first started engaging with First Steps and Maisie is a big reason for that. I have been able to talk about some of my darkest thoughts and feelings and she has melted them away with charm and compassion... Thank you again for offering all of your services, they make a big difference to a lot of people, and it takes a truly special person to be able to take all of that and turn it into so much more."

- EDISS Service User, 2018

“Before the training I had little confidence in my ability to work with those with eating difficulties, and as a new volunteer was lost for ideas and techniques. During the day I had an opportunity to speak with experts in their field, and learned a number of beneficial skills to use with clients. The trainers were enthusiastic and helpful throughout the day, and I would recommend this training to anyone working with those affected by eating disorders and difficulties.”                                         

-Student Volunteer, 2015 on CPD Training

“The course that First Steps run for carers was the only place that was able to provide real support and advice. The sessions were run at a great pace, and the team were positive, inspiring and supportive. The mix of desperate faces at the first session of the exhausted parents, partners and grandparents had, by the end of the course, changed to determined confident enabled – gosh, even smiling faces!
I can’t recommend the carers service high enough and would advise anyone who is caring for someone struggling with an eating disorder to access the course, even if it’s just to actually meet other carers who know EXACTLY what you are going through how you are feeling as a carer.”                                                            

-Carer, 2016 at the Skills for Carers Workshop

“Before watching the videos (from the presentation) I looked in magazines and said, ‘I wish I had a body like that, I’m fat, not skinny.’ But after finding out it’s technology that makes them thin I feel happy about my body image.’’

-Pupil, Shelton Junior School, 2017 on the Self-esteem and Body Image Workshop


“Thanks to your colleagues who delivered some excellent workshops at Shirebrook Academy last week. I sat in on a lesson and saw students engaging really well with sensitive issues, the activities and media clips really helped students to focus on the topic. Thanks also for your flexibility in accommodating the dates requested. I hope we will be able to arrange similar sessions in future.”

-Personal Development Co-ordinator, Shirebrook Academy, 2017 on the Self-esteem and Body Image Workshop

“First Steps provides an excellent, innovative community service of self-help activities, complimentary therapies and intensive support for sufferers with eating disorders.

 It is staffed by people who have first-hand experience of living with an eating disorder.

First Steps has developed expertise by experience and by working in partnership with the Derbyshire NHS Eating Disorders Service.  Though its employment of users, ex-users or members of their families, it has established the first service of its kind for eating disorders that operates county-wide in the UK.  This is an outstanding achievement.

Many patients in our service have been helped by the dedication and understanding that First Steps has shown them.  I have heard from individual patients how they have benefited from the passion and commitment of First Steps’ staff.  As a result they have been more motivated towards recovery.

I believe that First Steps, under the inspirational leadership of Cathy Cleary, has developed a model for delivery of care that should be made known to a wider audience.  It has the potential to be set up and delivered throughout the UK.”

- Dr Eric Johnson-Sabine   FRCPsych

Consultant Psychiatrist in Eating Disorders

Derbyshire Eating Disorders Service & St Ann’s Eating Disorders Service, London

Hon. Senior Lecturer, University College London Medical School, 2016