First Steps

Bringing Hope, Opportunities and Choices to lives affected by eating disorders. At First Steps, we offer hope that recovery from an eating disorder is possible. A large majority of our staff and volunteers have had their own experiences of eating disorders, and so offer hope to service users that recovery and life beyond their eating disorder is possible. We also provide opportunities to our service users, by recognising their abilities and talents. Throughout their recovery, a large percentage of our service users go onto volunteer for First Steps, utilising their personal experience to help mentor others who are still experiencing difficulties. We offer choices of different treatment options to our service users. Our services on offer are vast, and can be tailored around the individual. We recognise that eating disorders require ongoing support, and our service provision is reflective of this. First Steps is a National award-winning and outcome-based voluntary sector eating disorder service provider currently operating in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. We are service-user led, and positively impact the lives of those struggling with eating disorders. Our services are innovative, unique and emphatic. We provide holistic support to people of all ages who have or are at risk of eating difficulties and disorders, their wider family and friends, in addition to this we work with healthcare professionals too. Our core mission is to improve the quality of life and create positive and lasting change to the lives of our service users, supporting them with conditions such as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating disorders. These conditions can be secretive and hidden and we are passionate about raising awareness and enabling people to make positive changes in their lives. Established and run by people with lived experience of eating disorders (either personally or through a loved one), First Steps has a unique perspective that enables our staff team and hardworking volunteers to reach and connect with those most in need. The charity was set up in 2004 by Cathy Cleary to fill a huge gap in services, as no other service for eating disorders existed in Derbyshire. We have since gone on to directly supported over 5000 people, trained over 10,000 people, and recruited over 1000 volunteers. In 2016, First Steps was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, recognising our contribution to the community with work with, and for. In March, we were also informed of our success in the GSK Impact Awards, which is supported through the Kind’s Fund. This year we are one of only 10 organisations in the UK to win this award – such a testament to the work of the charity.

Referral Criteria & Process

No criteria


The Queen’s Award, PQASSO Level 1, GSK Impact Award, Personal Experience, Peer Mentoring, BAT-5 Trained, BEAT Skills For Carers Trained, Therapists, Counsellors.

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Last Updated: 07/08/2018

Ingham House 16
Agard Street

Availability: Monday-Saturday 8:30am-8pm
Age Groups: (0-15) (16-18) (19-25) (25+)
All Ages
Fees: No
No charge
Types of Support:
Face to face
Group/peer support
Guided self-help
Emotional overeating
Compulsive overeating
Body image
Nutrition and dietetics
Types of Service:
Charity/Voluntary body
Types of Treatment: