Kevin Parkinson- First steps Trustee 

First Steps Derbyshire is an award winning quality assured Eating Disorder charity working across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire providing care and support for adults, children and young people providing coping strategies and recovery services which are directly commissioned by NHS partners and through grants from funders who’s aims are to support individuals, families and communities.
Our founding principles are built up from experts from experience having lived with and recovered from Eating Disorders and as a learning and research organisation we consistently benchmark our services and outcomes from internationally recognised quality standards always applying the latest metrics to measure our outcomes.
Our service clients and carers underpin our culture and behaviours with many becoming volunteers and befrienders working side-by-side with our employees as ambassadors to our partners and communities.
Having commissioned and contract managed some of the highest profile NHS Hospital Trusts in England, I am proud to play my small part as a Trustee to First Steps Derbyshire.

Rebecca HudsonBreen – Provisional Psychologist, University of Lethbridge, Canada 



Dr King – GP

First Steps have been involved with several of my patients with eating disorders. They have offered individual counselling, group sessions and skype communication appropriately to help with affected patients and their families.

When a patient or relative has taken the often huge step to come and talk to their GP about an eating disorder it is essential that they can access support quickly and First Steps offers this in a non judgemental way.

I am impressed with the service that you provide and know that my patients lives have been changed for the better because of the work you do.

Selina Hussain – Befriender

I just wanna say thankyou for all of your support through volunteering, as volunteering for this organisation was probably one of the best decisions I made 🙂

KR – Volunteer Group Facilitator

I have been volunteering with First Steps for over a year, helping co-ordinate the young people’s groups. I decided to volunteer as I had experienced an eating disorder over ten years ago as a teenager, I was hospitalised on three occasions, the third time I was lucky enough to have the support to help me towards recovery, I found somebody I could talk to.  By volunteering I wanted to be able to offer hope that there is the possibility of recovery.   Volunteering has been very rewarding; it’s been challenging and at times difficult. Volunteering has made me realise what a skill it is to be able to help someone find their own way, it made me realise that not everybody is ready to recover, but by coming to the group they have made the first step towards a new life, one that doesn’t involve an eating disorder.  The most rewarding part of volunteering has been seeing the change in some of the young people from when they first joined us. I hope we can continue to be supportive and can offer a safe place to talk. It’s a service I wish I’d have had when I was in that situation. It enables the young people to make friends and rids them of some of the isolation even for just a short time, I’m glad to be a part of that.”

Michelle Ward – Volunteer Counsellor

“It’s fantastic volunteering for an organisation that seeks to be led by service users.  It has the freedom to be client-centered without restriction, which many ‘client-led’ organisations cannot claim!  There is so much happening on so many levels, there is a real sense of belonging to a network that is meeting the challenge of eating disorders on every front – where all volunteers are valued equally and given the chance to use their skills in as many areas as they want without any pressure to do so at the same time!  It’s an inclusive service for both clients and volunteers! If only more places like this existed.”

Stephanie Mawer – Volunteer HR Advisor

“I have really enjoyed working with First Steps Derbyshire, I think it is a great charity to be a part of, not only are the volunteers and board committed to the charity and the way that we run, but they are 100% committed to the people we support – that’s rare to find these days. I am looking forward to continuing to work with First Steps and developing the charity even more, the more we continue to grow as a charity the more people we can make contact with, and if that is one more person we can support then we are happy!”

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 apart of First Steps. I am so happy to be apart 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.

Volunteer Admin Worker

Volunteering has helped me with my self esteem, confidence and generally feeling more positive about stuff.  First steps is and remains the only place where I feel accepted as myself.

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. Regards

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.  Hope it is ok but, I am giving out your information to some of the schools that we work in .

J. 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. Best wishes

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

6th 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.”