‘There is No Stigma for Support as a Service User at First Steps ED, and I Feel the Same as a Volunteer Too.’

I began volunteering for First Steps ED during the first COVID-19 lockdown in April last year. I was coming towards the end of my writing degree at university and wanted to make sure that my writing didn’t gradually come to a stop after graduating. First Steps ED had also helped me massively a couple of years before with my own eating disorder challenges, and so, I wanted to apply my writing in a way that would reach (and make a difference to) others.

Over one year on as part of the social media team, I feel comfortable to share my ideas for campaigns, blogs, marketing content and more! My biggest achievement from volunteering over the past year, is feeling my confidence build to use writing as a voice for my own, and other people’s eating disorder experiences. I have always found it difficult to describe and explain my thoughts and feelings in conversations, so, exploring different ways of writing about mental health and eating disorders has really helped me personally to understand and navigate my own experiences. I’ve loved volunteering with the social media team because I feel listened to, and my ideas are always considered. There is no stigma for support as a service user at First Steps, and I feel the same as a volunteer too.

Volunteering is incredibly rewarding, and the great thing is…you don’t need tonnes of experience, but you gain so much from being part of a charity that aims to support others.

My five best reasons to volunteer at First Steps ED would be…

Flexible working arrangements.

Volunteering shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something you enjoy dedicating time to. 

Regular catch-ups and constant support

(also, meeting some great people is always a pro!)

Rewarding.

Seeing how your contributions reach so many service users and the wider public.

Developing a better understanding of mental health illnesses

which we will all come across at some point in our lives. Learning ways to look out for my own wellbeing and loved ones’ has been the most instrumental and essential take-away from my volunteering experience.

Amazing opportunity for your personal and professional growth!

It has been incredibly humbling and eye-opening to volunteer for an eating disorder and mental health charity and made me realise what I want to achieve out of a career in the future.

Contributed by Molly Hall