Cathy Cleary – Chief Executive and Founder

Cathy set up First Steps in January 2004 and volunteered for the charity for six years whilst holding down a regular job and bringing up her two daughters.

She has personal experience of living with an eating disorder and the difficulties associated with getting supportive and non judgmental help and support.

Cathy has worked in many different areas during her life including being a self employed business woman and then later taking a career change to work for Derby City drug and alcohol services and the National Probation Trust. She now works for First Steps full time. Her passions are horses, the countryside, healthy living and hard work!

Frank Lord – Chair

Frank’s experience covers serving on more than 14 National and Regional boards across the voluntary, public and private sectors. These have included the board of the BBC Corporation where Frank steered education policy. Frank’s early career was shaped in the retail sector working through to become a Group Managing Director for a large automotive business and today Frank is retained by major motor manufactures as an independent director for their retail networks.

His main passion is people, particularly the development of people to help them reach their full potential and deal with whatever barriers stop them from realising  this. Frank has received National recognition for the work he has done including invitations to No 10 and giving evidence at select committees.

Today Frank is still building businesses and helping people as Executive Chairman of the Babington Group which in the last four years has helped over 3,200 people achieve an apprenticeship and in the last year has helped more than 3,800 people in some form of learning.

Giving young people the best start in life is a mission for Frank, as Chairman of the Education Business Partnership for Derbyshire work is being undertaken with schools to help young people make the right career choices and over 700 Ambassadors who are in employment are carrying out voluntary work in schools to help and inspire those young people.

As a Samaritan volunteer for many years Frank has had the privilege of working with people who really do care about others so he was delighted to be able to have this involvement with First Steps Derbyshire as the Trustees, Cathy the founder and Chief Executive, all the staff and volunteers are bound by one common factor; a passion about believing in what they do to bring positive and lasting change to the lives of those affected by all types of eating difficulties.

Frank says: “I have the great fortune to be blessed with a wonderful family who put up with all my failings. My love is to keep fit, keep riding my Harley-Davidson, but known for my sense of humour a 3 wheeler Reliant Robin is kept on the drive for back up in the bad weather as we get plenty of that at Taddington in the Peak District where I live”.

Lisa Wilson – Trustee & Vice Chair

Lisa Wilson is the vice chair of FSD and has been a trustee for 8 years. She has seen the charity grow enormously over that time and been in all four buildings that FSD has occupied. She is currently a school nurse/health advisor and has upheld this position for 11 years so has a lot of valuable experience with young people.

Her clinical background has seen her working with many patients/clients with differing needs both physically and psychologically. She is a qualified assessor in the education and clinical setting. She has a responsibility for safeguarding within the charity and is also the clinical supervisor for students. She is the co facilitator/trainer on the CPD training day for FSD and enjoys this immensely.

Lisa also has some past experience of eating disorders as the carer for a family member. She realises the importance of involving parents and carers in the recovery and support process as she feels this can be key to a positive outcome.

Her vision is to see the training package benefit more professionals as she feels there is a lack of knowledge and understanding, about a subject that is  becoming an increasing concern  amongst young people.

Ralph Tingle – Trustee

Ralph studied politics at York University and is a qualified accountant who has worked mainly in the public sector initially in local government and then as a Finance Director in the NHS; he has also worked as a management consultant. Ralph is currently Board Treasurer for Nottinghamshire Probation Trust.

His professional background is in Accountancy and Finance but his portfolio has also included areas such as information and estates.

Ralph is, in addition to First Steps, a trustee and honorary Treasurer of Parkinsons UK and also a trustee of Pathways (East Midlands) which provides support to ex offenders.

His other interests include playing golf (badly), singing in a choir (ok ish) and trying to learn ballroom dancing (not going at all well).

Mark Thomas – Trustee

Mark has worked for 29 years in managerial positions within the manufacturing and possesses the skills to help manage, direct and question situations whilst providing opportunities and solutions to problems. Mark has successfully assisted in the re-development of a Ceramic manufacturing business following Administration. More recently he has been instrumental in obtaining twofold growth in turnover whilst improving efficiency and profit.

Having used the services provided by First Steps in 2013 to assist the recovery of his daughter, Mark feels that he is able to provide an insight from a service user perspective. The family attended the weekly support sessions for over a year and through this he has been able to view how users benefit from the various programmes on offer at First Steps.
He has also gained awareness and understanding of eating disorders which has given him the opportunity to support his daughter in a more positive and pro active way.

Kevin Parkinson – Trustee

Kevin Parkinson is an experienced public, private and third sector senior manager and is recognised for leading NHS contracting improving healthcare services for NHS Providers, Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England and Social Services Commissioners.

With a strong background in strategic and operational leadership in both joint-commissioning and large outsourced, high-value government contracted prime providers, he has a wealth of management experience across transactional and transitional payment-by-results systems and delivered strong transformational implementation in statutory services, being well versed in innovation theory and performance practice having achieved surpluses to generate discretionary services that enrich the productive organisation and customer experience.

He has equally achieved excellent Business Development results, including securing significant EU structural funds holding cabinet responsibility for economic regeneration in one of the country’s top performing County Councils.

Recognised for working as a Partner and critical friend with Clinicians, Finance and Commissioning Teams in some of the country’s’ largest public sector organisations and has co-commissioned innovative cross-sector services that benefit communities, employers and families.

Stephanie May – Trustee (Maternity Leave)

Stephanie studied Healing Arts and Derby University and has a passion for holistic therapy’s and learning.  Stephanie continued with her passion for Learning joining Human resources at Boots UK in 2005.  Stephanie has developed her career at Boots through HR and into Educational Learning.

Completing her Post graduate Diploma in HR and gaining Assoc CIPD status Stephanie is a HR professional with a passion for supporting businesses to develop through their people.

Stephanie has been a trustee at First Steps since 2008 supporting First Steps in the development of the organisation going from zero staff to the full time equivalent of 15 with 93 volunteers.

Stephanie’s other interests include spending time with her family and friends and interior design.

Liam Rhodes- Trustee

Liam describes himself as a highly-motivated, diligent, amiable press and communications professional with demonstrable experience in effective public relations, press management, events management, legislative research, web development, social media management and office administration.

His experience to date has cemented his skills and understanding of politics, communications, research policy analysis and advice, alongside administrative and analytical skills in Higher Education casework.

Liam worked for Nigel Mills MP for five years, handling press, web, research and constituency casework. He now works for the University of Nottingham, where he shares responsibilities for student casework, complaints and conduct affairs.

Sarah Loates- Trustee

Sarah Loates is a chartered HR professional with over 20 years HR experience. During this time she has provided HR advice and support to a wide range of industry types and sectors, ranging from private and family owned businesses whilst at PKF Cooper Parry, to the leadership level of multinational corporations such as E.ON. Sarah’s areas of expertise include employee relations, employment law and talent management.

Sarah is the founder of Loates Business Solutions Ltd, the parent company of LoatesHR and LoatesTraining. With offices on Friar Gate in Derby city centre, these subdivisions specialise in providing HR consultancy and people-skills training to organisations both SMEs and corporates in the East Midlands region. Established in 2011, the company has rapidly grown, and now boasts a team of seven, four of which are dedicated HR Consultants. To further support these, a network of associate consultants and trainers has additionally been established across the region.

Sarah continues to be an active practitioner in her field, delivering both HR consultancy and training on behalf of her business. She also teaches on Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development HR courses, and has been an Associate Lecturer and mentor on HR and business degree programmes for the University of Derby and Staffordshire University. In addition to her postgraduate academic qualifications, Sarah is an ACAS certified mediator, and one of the few HR professionals to hold the Pensions Management Institute Certificate in Pensions Auto Enrolment. Sarah is also an alumni of the University of Derby, having completed her undergradate Business Studies degree there in the early 90s.

Despite her high level of experience and professional expertise, Sarah nevertheless remains down-to-earth and approachable. She prides herself on her ability to build long-term relationships with her clients, and provide them with pragmatic, business-focussed solutions.



The duties of a Trustee are:

  • To assist other trustees in formulating and regularly reviewing the strategic aims of First Steps Derbyshire as expressed throught the business plan .
  • To ensure First Steps Derbyshire pursues its aims and objectives as defined in the constitution.
  • To ensure development and review of policies and practices.
  • To contribute actively to the board of trustees role in giving firm strategic direction to the organisation.
  • To ensure the organisation complies with all charity commission requirements.
  • Attend monthly board meetings.
  • To safeguard the reputation and values of First Steps Derbyshire.

In addition to the above, each trustee should use any specific skills, knowledge or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions.

Theses skills include:

  • A commitment to the aims and objectives of First Steps Derbyshire
  • A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort
  • A Strategic vision
  • Independent judgement
  • An ability to think creatively
  • A willingness to speak their mind
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team

Trustees have a duty to comply with the law on all occasions in accordance with the trust placed in them and in such a way as to preserve public confidence in First Steps Derbyshire. Trustees are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public, funders and membership.

View our Annual Reports

Annual Report – 2015-16



FSD Annual Report – 2016-2017 4.56 MB 25 downloads


FSD Annual Report – 2015-2016 4.23 MB 3 downloads


FSD Annual Report – 2014-2015 1.65 MB 278 downloads


FSD Annual Report – 2013-2014 8.15 MB 574 downloads


FSD Annual Report – 2012-2013 8.04 MB 467 downloads


FSD Annual Report – 2011-12 4.56 MB 453 downloads