Huge congratulations to our First Steps ED Founder, Cathy Cleary, on her Lifetime Achievement Award!

On Saturday 16th November 2019, Cathy became the proud winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Midlands Business and Community Charity Awards ceremony at Aston Villa Football Club.This prestigious award recognises the outstanding contributions of individuals who continue to positively impact the lives of others, which is exactly what Cathy has been doing since founding First Steps ED in 2004.


Having battled with her own eating disorder, Cathy found that there was little understanding and professional help for those who were similarly struggling with their eating difficulties and the impact this was having upon them. Determined that these individuals should not suffer alone, Cathy set up First Steps ED as the first eating disorders community service in Derbyshire.

Since 2004, the charity has grown exponentially, now stretching across the East Midlands, offering understanding and support to children, young people, adults, and their carers and families. As well as self-referrals, First Steps ED receives professional referrals from NHS and other sectors who regard the charity as a highly respected specialist community provider.

The inspirational work that First Steps ED offers has been recognised by GSK, The Kings Fund, as a Top 10 Healthcare Community Services provider and was also awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Services in 2016. In 2017, the charity was also recognised by NHS England for Supported Self-Care for their online Befriending services to individuals and families. In 2019, Volunteer Team of the Year was added as yet another accolade in which the service received commendation for its successes at the East Midlands Charity Awards. Over the past year, First Steps ED volunteers contributed 10,500 hours, saving the NHS £165,100.

From everyone at First Steps ED, we would like to congratulate Cathy on such an incredible achievement, and to say thank you for continuing to inspire us everyday with your care and passion in supporting those affected by eating disorders.

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