Manda is a registered Mental Health Nurse working in CAMHS and has been volunteering with First Steps ED since 2013.
Initially gaining experience as one of our student placements, Manda then went on to volunteer becoming one of our valued Befrienders.
”I initially started befriending because I really love the idea of using technology to help people with eating disorders and mental wellbeing. I think its so accessible and also less stigmatising for the individual.”
”Eating difficulties have always fascinated me, due to the cultural and social elements it is associated with. I adore First Steps ED, there is no other charity out there that works to extensively across our communities – from working in schools and colleges, to running weekly support groups and of course online befriending (to mention a few).”
”Befriending is just so great, it allows people to talk about their issues within a peer support relationship and It’s such an honour to get to know people and go on a journey with them as part of recovery.”
Angela is a student member of the NCS and is currently studying for her level 4 advanced diploma in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Ad.Dip.psycC).
She is an NHS Lead Specialist Midwife in bereavement and a qualified Hypnotherapist.
Angela is currently one of our trainee therapist’s at our Derby base.
Asif is a qualified Integrative Counsellor/ Psychotherapist currently working towards his MSc and an individual member of the BACP.
He has experience working with eating disorders, trauma, addiction, personality disorders, depression and anxiety.
He currently works in the NHS and has his own Psychotherapeutic private practice.
Asif is bilingual in Punjabi/Urdu and is one of our private bank Psychotherapists working from our Derby base.
Bryony is a qualified counsellor and is accredited with the National Counselling Society.
She has a BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling practice and is currently studying for her MA in Trauma Studies. She has previous experience working with bereavement and with survivors of sexual violence.
Bryony is one of our qualified therapists volunteering at our Derby base.
Cara has a PG Certificate in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy and is currently working towards her PG Diploma in this.
She has past experience with domestic abuse, sexual abuse, anxiety and depression.
Cara is a student member of the BACP and is volunteering as a trainee therapist at our Derby base.
Danny is a student member of the BACP and is working towards his MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy.
He is a HCPC registered Social Worker with many years’ experience of working with mental health, physical disability and learning differences in a variety of settings within social care, the NHS and in higher education student support services.
Danny volunteers as a trainee therapist at our Derby base.
David has obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, PGCert & PGDip in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy and is currently in the final stages of obtaining his MSc. He is an individual member of the BACP.
As an integrative therapist he has trained within three different modalities; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Attachment Theory and Person Centred Therapy.
He also use’s techniques from other schools of counselling such as Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Gestalt Therapy and Schema Therapy.
David is one of our private bank Psychotherapists working from our Derby base.
Dina began volunteering for First Steps ED as an Online Befriender in 2019.
She say’s my twin sister is a member of staff at First Steps ED leading on EDISS with schools, colleges and universities and has been encouraging me to volunteer for a while.
Having personally experienced an eating disorder when I was younger, I am now in a place where I can empathise and feel comfortable talking about my own experience.
I am thoroughly enjoying being a befriender and appreciate how important it can be to have somebody to confide in on a regular weekly basis and over an extended period of time, and even more so the benefits of doing this online because we can continue our peer support relationship where ever we are.
I’m constantly learning and genuinely feel like I am giving back and making a positive difference in a number of other peoples life and eating disorder recovery (no matter how small)!
Divya is a qualified Integrative Counsellor/Psychotherapist currently working towards her MSc at the University of Derby.
She also holds an MSc in Applied Psychology and is a student member of the BACP. She has worked in a few charities around Derbyshire giving short term and long term counselling to clients presenting with issues from mild to severe mental ill health, bereavement, low self-esteem, domestic and sexual abuse, cultural conflict and eating disorders.
Divya is bilingual in Hindi/Urdu and is one of our qualified therapists volunteering at our Derby base.
Elizabeth has a PG Certificate in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy and is currently working towards her PG Diploma in this.
She comes from a school background and works with both children and adults.
Elizabeth is a student member of the BACP and is volunteering as a trainee therapist at our Derby base.
Fay is an associate member of the NCS working towards her Advanced Level 4 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling, currently at the Level 3 stage.
She has experience of working with loss and bereavement. She currently volunteers as a trainee therapist at our Derby location.
Hope Virgo is a mental health campaigner, author, and workshop facilitator delivering training to young people in schools and adults to employers seeking to reduce stigma and understand how to support individuals and families impacted by eating disorders and mental health.
Hope suffered with anorexia for over 4 years, before being admitted to a Mental Health Hospital in 2007 where she lived in the hospital for a year, fighting one of the hardest battles of her life.
Since being discharged, she has fought to stay well and is now at the stage of ‘on-going recovery’ and wants to use her experiences of mental health illness to champion the rights of others, inspire them to get well, and help break the stigma of mental illness.
Following a highly successful national campaign focused on ensuring health professionals assess people with eating disorders on more than their BMI alone, her ‘Dump the Scales’ petition to Government continues to make positive impacts to healthcare professionals education about eating disorders and an end to the post code lottery across England.
Hope as an Ambassador with First Steps ED is available to schools, colleges, and employers who approach us for our ‘Body Image’, and Eating Disorders awareness training workshops, and can deliver her own unique lived experience alongside our highly regarded workshop and training material delivered in London and the South of England.
If you would like Hope to present to your school or colleagues please get in touch with our CPD training team firstname.lastname@example.org
James has been an Online Befriender since 2017 and contributes to the training sessions. His befriendees have all said how easy he is to talk to and how much at ease he puts them.
James also works at the Uni of Derby and has had some difficult and challenging situations with students whom he knows to be service users. He has remained polite, supportive and above all has maintained confidentiality.
He is quickly able to identify students who require imminent help and will respond accordingly. His face to face approach is non judgmental, empathetic and encouraging. He is a good role model for males suffering with eating disorders.
“I would like you to know that James has been excellent and your service and James an invaluable, incredible support. Thank you so much”
“James has been excellent, and your service and James are an invaluable, incredible support. What First Steps, and James have done for me is so very much appreciated.”
Judith first volunteered with First Steps ED in 2017. She has utilised her experience of being a Psychotherapist but in a way as not to cross any professional boundaries.
Judith’s experience as a psychotherapist means she always seeks feedback and ideas to be the best befriender she can be.
She also works closely with the Befriender Coordinator providing support with our CPD Eating Disorder training, and also provides Befriender coaching on good practice communication with new befriendees.
“I would like more time with my befriender Judith, she is a lovely woman and has been very helpful to me. She understands the problems and offers help and advice on what I can change.”
“Thank you so much Judith for your support as my befriender. I don’t have enough words to express gratitude, but I will definitely be volunteering as a befriender once I am out of here. It’s sad we never got to meet in person, but our hearts & brains definitely connected.”
· Managing referrals and appointments
· Liaising with the rest of the team to ensure the effective running of the charity
Laura began working at First Steps ED in July 2019, having volunteered as a Befriender for a year previously.
Laura has a BSc in Psychology and is currently completing her MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Laura is completing her counselling placement with First Steps ED as part of her MSc course, specialising in the person-centred approach. She also continues to volunteer as a Befriender. Laura has past experience as a Support Worker supporting individuals with a range of mental health issues, including Emotionally-Unstable Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, eating difficulties, substance misuse and schizophrenia.
Laura has previously struggled with her own eating difficulties and is passionate about working to help others overcome theirs.
Laura began her befriending journey in 2016 after a positive recovery journey from Anorexia she decided to use her lived experience and returned confident and bubbly personality to share with people how they can beat this illness.
Laura was very enthusiastic from day 1 and eager to do all she could to support current and new service users. She has used this passion to help lead the befriending training in Nottinghamshire, where there was no volunteer in place previously.
She has co-facilitated Befriending Induction Training for our Nottinghamshire client group and recruited Befrinders and recently helped deliver the CPD Eating Disorders Training. She assists with the ongoing befriending training via practice emails with new befriendees.
“Befriending is something I really look forward to, emailing Laura, and more so getting her replies feels like someone is really there, it helps me know that I can get some really good advice for whatever is on my mind whether that is food related or something linked to it which isn’t food”
“Laura’s support, paired with counselling, has changed my life with my disordered eating habits which have distinguished so much more in comparison to when I first began this process earlier this year!”
Louise is a registered member of the BACP and a qualified Integrative Psychotherapist (MSc), working with CBT, Person-Centred and Attachment Theory approaches.
She has been working with First Steps for 5 years, supporting Eating Disorder sufferers in their recovery.
Louise has experience working therapeutically with a diverse range of clients from adolescence to adult, in a range of one-to-one settings, and prior to working as a psychotherapist, she worked with the NHS as a behaviour change specialist.
She currently works as one of our EDISS Psychotherapists at our University of Nottingham location as well as one of our private bank Psychotherapists at our Derby base.
Manjit is a UKCP accredited Psychotherapist with over 10 years of work experience gained through private practice.
Her work has been focused on emotional trauma, sexual abuse and eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
Manjit is one of our qualified therapists volunteering at our Derby base as well as one of our private bank Psychotherapists. She also helps support our all ages group.
Mary is a qualified Integrative Counsellor/ Psychotherapist currently working towards her MSc and an individual member of the BACP.
She has experience working with eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Mary is also a trainee Counselling Psychologist and is one of our qualified therapists volunteering at our Derby base.
Rachael is an exceptional, long standing volunteer who has used her experience of anorexia to give hope to others.
Rachael has often supported more people than is required under our Befriending service and supports the more complex service users due to her knowledge, enthusiasm, expertise and commitment.
Additionally, Rachael now has the time and desire to help train new and current befrienders.
“Honestly your service is AMAZING! Rachel was such a great befriender and helped me at the toughest times, never judged, always made me feel like I was progressing.”
“Felt so understood and like I made a best friend. Knowing Rachael wouldn’t judge me for anything I said I’m so sad I wont hear from her again”
Rob is a student member of the BACP and is currently at the PG Dip. stage of the MSc Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Derby.
His experience includes supporting sufferers of eating disorders and those experiencing grief and loss.
He is one of our volunteer trainee therapists working from our Derby base.
Sabina is a qualified Integrative Counsellor/Psychotherapist currently working towards her MSc at the University of Derby.
She is also a qualified Dance Movement Psychotherapist and an individual member of the BACP.
Sabina is bilingual in Italian and is one of our qualified therapists volunteering at our Derby base as well as being one of our private bank Psychotherapists.
Sam started volunteering at First Steps ED in 2018 and is our All Ages Group Facilitator, working alongside our Vice Chair, Lisa Wilson, he designs and plans support groups and other activities attended by our older young people, adults and parents all coming together in a peer support environment.
Sam is working on his Masters (MSc) in Forensic and Criminal Psychology and is an aspiring forensic psychologist who once qualified will make a worthy contribution to the health care and criminal justice sectors.
He said recently, collecting an award on behalf of his volunteer team;
”We don’t do it for awards however I am over the moon with winning this today (04/06/2019), I couldn’t do it without all the support that First Steps ED and the rest of the team give.”
”I would love to dedicate this to all of our wonderful people who access our eating disorders services.”
We agree with Sam entirely, our staff just wouldn’t be able to support the amount of people seeking support from us each year without the inspirational contributions from our volunteers!
Sam is a student member of the BACP working towards her MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, currently at the PGDip stage.
She has experience of working with drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, sexual abuse, and eating disorders.
She currently volunteers as a trainee therapist at our Buxton location.
Sarah is a student member of the NCS and is currently studying for her level 4 advanced diploma in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Ad.Dip.psycC).
Sarah first started her training back in 2006 and is very interested in working with eating disorders.
Sarah volunteers as an Associate Bereavement Counsellor for another Derby charity as well as volunteering for us as one of our trainee therapists from our Derby base.
Vibeke is from Norway and currently a first year Psychology student at the University of Nottingham and following accessing EDISS on campus starting volunteering.
“I became a befriender because I wanted to learn as much as possible, gain experience by using what I was learning through my academic study into practice, and I wanted to help someone’s day to be a little better, and help them take just a little step in the right direction.”
”I have learned so much already, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. To be able to connect with people, contribute to sharing and being open, helping each other and focus on fighting TOGETHER is what I love most about being a Befriender.”
“I am learning so much about practice and support from being part of the First Steps team, and from all the amazing people I meet being a volunteer.”