We aim to empower you to be in control of your recovery through one-to-one professional and group support and inclusion in positive activities.

Children requiring support (as well as their parents and carers) can access our services at no cost. As a charity, we are funded by the generosity of people whose contributions allow us to provide these services free of charge (you can learn more about our funders and commissioners here.) Some of our other core services are funded, but some come at a cost to adults. If you need further assistance, information or support in accessing our services please contact our team.

Counselling and Psychotherapy (from £20 per session)

A safe, non-judgemental and understanding space to give you the time and freedom to talk. Our counsellors and psychotherapists provide 1:1 therapy to individuals aged 16 and above with eating disorders. Read more here.

Private Practice (from £45 per session)

Our Private Practice is here to help you address your unique eating disorder recovery goals through counselling and psychotherapy.

Guided by you, we’ll agree a session plan and you’ll be invited to attend regular sessions with the aim for you to be in control of your recovery journey and make progress towards your unique goals. What is great is the team is available both during the day and most evenings to ensure we are here to provide you with the right amount of support without interfering with your daily life. Click here to learn more.

Award-Winning Befriending Service (Funded, with video befriending requiring a £10 registration fee)

Befriending is our multi-award-winning 6-to-9-month weekly support programme, recognised by NHS England’s National Integrated Personal Commissioning Team. We match a service user with one of our highly trained and supervised befrienders who volunteer to provide ongoing support throughout the contract. The service is offered in a range of formats including, email up to twice a week and video clinic/telephone calls up to once a week. Befriending can provide flexibility and a level of anonymity, giving you the control of your own recovery. You can learn more about our befriending service here.

More Information & Support

Any donation, no matter how small, helps us to continue supporting those affected by eating difficulties and disorders.

The most popular option!

£5 / month

Every little helps. Can you spare the cost of a coffee per month to keep our lights on and service running?

  • Contributes to the running costs of our funded weekly support groups, offering psycho-education and safe spaces to promote wellbeing.

  • Means we can keep our wait lists down, ensuring quick turnarounds between referral and assessment.
  • Helps us create our education and training programmes for schools and professionals.
  • Supports community engagement and helps us to reach more people to ensure they get the support they need, as soon as they need it.

£10

Can contribute to an individual accessing our online befriending service. We are passionate about keeping our befriending service free and accessible to all, which is why your donation is so important! With either a monthly or one-off donation, you can help sponsor this service!

You can learn more about why we love this service here.

£100

Funds an adult or young person to attend our four-week workshops, designed to offer new skills, information and insight in challenging negative behaviours. identifying triggers and establishing new strategies and coping mechanisms in recovery.

Each of our workshops can be a lifeline for those struggling with eating difficulties.

For Children and Young People

Thanks for a range of grants and funders who support our charity those aged 5 to 17 receive fully-funded support, whether that be for one-to-one with our staff or attending any of our weekly CYP support groups and psycho-education workshops (such as the our ‘Understanding Body Image’ course or Wellbeing Workshop.)

Our CYP Specialist Support Officers are dual trained in eating disorders and autism and follow our acclaimed, compassionate, assets, and self-actuation care plan approach.

First Steps ED also works in partnership with other local services to help provide a variety of support options for families and their children, and adults receiving our support can gain access to other benefits and opportunities including access to skills training and qualifications and support into employment.

Services for Students

First Steps ED delivers specialist eating disorders support for students (EDISS) at universities in England and Wales with funding from Student Space (in partnership with Student Minds) and offers a specialised and person-centred approach to eating disorders within the academic environment. EDISS allows students to find the right support channel for them, with the flexibility to trial our services and change frequently, and find something which works around their schedule.

Following referral and assessment service users are able to access a range of support including:
  • Peer support
  • Counselling
  • Recovery and Self-Help Groups
  • Online Befriending
  • Volunteering opportunities
Our one-to-one support offers a safe environment to discuss and work through areas such as body image, relationship to food and exercise and coping with stress. Similar is our recovery groups which allow for an open and supportive environment to discuss shared challenges, as well as providing a space to develop alternative coping mechanisms, establish a better relationship with self and reflect on life.

We also offer support to members of staff working in our college and university partners, as well as alumni students (up to 3 years following completion of their degree.) Not forgetting our CPD accredited training opportunities for professionals ‘Skills for Eating Disorder Support‘ which is available throughout the year via our dedicated Eventbrite page.

Our EDISS service is directly commissioned by a growing number of schools, colleges and universities providing a dedicated support service available to students and the support staff and teachers and lecturers. To bring EDISS to your school, college or university please submit your enquiry to info@firststepsed.co.uk

NHS Integrated Community Services

Helping Patients, Parents and Families: Stepped Care Approach to Treating Eating Disorders

We work closely either as a direct commissioned service accepting self and professionals referrals into our mild to moderate services or as a pathway provider with Adults (A-CEDS) and CAMHS (CYP-CEDS) NHS community eating disorders service teams. We ensure that our stepped care approach is effective for step-up and step-down appropriate to our person-centred approach.

Learn more

Complementary Therapies

No matter who you are, we’ve got what you need.

At First Steps ED, many of our service users are seeking out creative experiences and spiritual approaches to support their ongoing recovery plan to complement and/or replace the more traditional methods in recovery like talking therapies. Complementary (or alternative) therapies cover a wide range of different treatments and services. Whilst the NHS provides a whole range of treatments for mental health conditions and eating disorders, including complementary therapies, often you will need to do your research to find the less mainstream options for treatment.

*The terms ’complementary’ and ‘alternative’ therapies is dependent on whether you choose to use them alongside mainstream treatment, or instead of.

Reiki Therapy

Pronounced ‘ray-key’, Reiki therapy is considered an effective complementary therapy and can be a valuable step in recovery. Reiki is a type of energy healing and it’s said that this kind of healing helps the flow of energy throughout the body to support us physically, mentally, emotionally so that we feel stronger and more able to cope with life, as well as spiritually by giving us a feeling of connectedness when we feel alone. Available in-person and distanced at a cost of £35 per session.

To learn more, visit our blog ‘What Is Reiki And How Does It Work?

Kundalini Yoga

Our award-winning Kundalini Yoga is brought to you by a qualified yoga teacher.

Kundalini is unlike what you might know as ‘Hatha’ yoga, as it focuses on breathing and meditation and is recommended for people with Eating disorders as it does not require the participant to get into difficult positions. Available both online and in-person at a cost of £5 per session.

To learn more, visit our blog ‘Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Managing Mental Health.

Caring for Carers

Caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, diagnosed or not, can be overwhelming. It is common for families to feel that their new ‘carer’ role is impacting their own mental and physical health which is why First Steps ED feel our carers support pathway is an important offer within our service.

As well as a number of services available to you, we also have a range of resources and blog available as further reading and guidance. These are open access, and those in a carer role are welcome (and encouraged!) to contribute their own stories and experiences on our blog platform with the hope to shine a light on the importance of carers as a key part of a loved ones recovery

Support for Carers
Downloads and Resources

Not quite ready? Check out our blog for inspiration and motivation.

We are passionate about our creating a community which is understanding and non-judgmental, believing that support and guidance should be available for anyone affected by eating difficulties and disorders. It can take time to reach out for support and finding the confidence to speak to someone.

Our blog is here for whenever you need it. Here you’ll find First Steps ED updates, as well as stories and features from our community.

Explore our services.

Learn more about what’s on offer through our team updates and snippets from our service users. Feel confident that you can find support that suits you and your needs.

Our Services

A safe space for all.

We want to give everyone an opportunity to share their own story. With every new voice we hear on the blog, more people find the confidence to begin their own recovery.

Share Your Story

“Thank you for continuing to offer support and advice to families affected by eating disorders. You offer a ray of light to families at their very darkest times.”

Anonymous (via JustGiving), (via JustGiving)

“I am running 75 miles in February for First Steps ED because it is a charity close to my heart!”

“It’s fantastic working for an organisation that seeks to be led by service users. If only more places like this existed.”

Michelle Ward, Counsellor

“Keep up your important work. You’re a fantastic group of people and we continue to be grateful for your help and support. “

Anonymous, (Via JustGiving)

“I just wanna say thank you for all of your support through volunteering, as volunteering for this organisation was probably one of the best decisions I made.”

Selina Hussain, Befriender

“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.”

Dr King, GP

“I think the work you do is amazing. You help a lot of people who, without you, would probably struggle alone.”

Important: Please note that First Steps ED services are for people with mild to moderate eating disorder and comorbid mental health issues. We do not provide a crisis or emergency service. Following support from a crisis team, we require 12 weeks from your discharge date before making a referral into our services unless a professional referral is made by Integrated Community Services (ICS). If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, please visit the NHS website, contact your GP or for immediate assistance call 999.

You can make a referral now.

Referrals can either be made by yourself, by a parent/ carer, or professional support worker. After making a referral, we aim to make contact within 10 workings days.

Private practice bookings are £45. All bookings are made in the strictest confidence and available to anyone (over the age of 16) who is currently impacted by any eating disorder, or symptoms of an eating disorder, including an individual sufferer, family member or carer. If you are referring into our private counselling service please let us know in the form.

MAKE A REFERRAL HERE