Children & Young People

Helping Children and Young People with Eating Disorders

First Steps take referrals from a wide variety of professionals including GP’s, hospitals, schools, youth services and community groups. The young person’s support staff work in close partnership with a wide variety of partner agencies such as CAMHS, to ensure that the young person receives the most comprehensive package of care available.

Young people aged 14 and over are likely to have the greatest levels of eating disorders among young people. Yet despite this, treatment availability for those aged 14-18 is frequently of low-intensity.

Families are often not involved in the treatment process, despite evidence showing that family relationships can be crucial to achieving and maintaining change. Family support volunteers are invaluable in managing the stresses experienced by families involved in the project and ensuring that they do not feel alienated. Family support helps to build a stable environment, which will benefit all those involved.

We work with the young person to create a care plan which is based on their individual circumstances. It is closely tailored to their needs and takes into account their own suggestions. First Steps aims to help young people move on from crisis support to the setting of aspirational goals and development skills for adulthood.

Diversionary activities such as positive outings and activities, creative art and drama can play a central part in the care plan to enhance support and motivation to achieve goals. All activities contribute to the young people’s personal development.

We aim to demonstrate how closer working between eating disorder services and mainstream young people’s services is essential if we are to better meet the needs of young people in the future.

First Steps  also provide comprehensive self-esteem and body image workshops for both Primary and Secondary school pupils. The aim of these workshops is to give pupils the tools to build a positive self-esteem and provide a platform for group discussion on image-related concerns.

Fill in our confidential self referral form here

One to ones for children and young people

First Steps is funded by Children in Need and Futures in Mind to offer one to ones for anyone aged 19 and below. These 45 minute sessions offer the opportunity for a child or young person to talk to one of our Young Person’s Support Workers, typically over 8 weeks. These sessions can be face to face or over Skype.

One to ones focus on exploring any difficulties with food or body image, giving a young person the space to talk to someone in a confidential and safe space. One of the aims of this support is to help the young person transition into the Recovery and Self Help Groups, where further areas can be explored.

There is currently a waiting list for one to one support, but this should take no longer than 8 weeks.

For more information on the support and training we offer to children and young people, please contact our support workers, or alternatively visit our ‘training’ option.

Body Image

This is a clip that was filmed and edited by Ben Kelly-Stigloe (a Student at Burton and South Derbyshire College) for First Steps.

It was created by service users at First Steps, in order to raise awareness of body image difficulties amongst both males and females. It also outlines the harm that a negative body image can have upon an individual, due to its close relationship with the development of eating disorders.

Anti – Stigma

First steps are aiming to reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders and difficultes. In aid of this we created this video with different perspectives on what eating disorders mean to people as individuals and to help some stereotypes.

Key Contacts –

Isabelle Brigden –

Katy Hodge –

Or alternatively telephone 01332 367571 and ask for the member of staff you wish to speak to.

Please take some time to view the Mental Health Resource Guide for Colleges, which has recently been published.