Catherine Cleary

Cathy founded First Steps in 2004 whilst working as a substance abuse criminal justice worker.  She had previously suffered from anorexia/bulimia and was not able to access any help or support so therefore set up the first self-help group in Derby.

As the group continued to expand with more people suffering with an eating disorder joining, Cathy decided to establish the charity in 2007 which is now regarded as the second eating disorder charity in England.

Determined to continue to raise awareness and understanding of the complexities of eating difficulties and eating disorders and associated mental health complexities in order to improve services for people and their families, First Steps ED brings hope, opportunities and choices to lives impacted by eating disorders.

‘Society has much to gain from ensuring that public services benefit from the expertise of voluntary organisations, which often have deep knowledge of how to deliver effective services in specialist areas or to particular groups.

Our working relationships with NHS commissioners and Provider Trusts has developed into a strong integrated pathway partnership where our population receives appropriate clinical and care support from a multidisciplinary team that are agreed by the patient and NHS care coordinator as part of our Care Programme Approach (CPA) process’.

Having started out as a small self-help group First Steps ED has become a national award winning community mental health provider recognised by GSK and The Kings Fund, by NHS England, Integrated Personal Commissioning for our Befriending and Supported Self-Care expertise, and valued by people of all ages across Derbyshire and the East Midlands.

Our team works as partners with NHS eating disorders professionals for a truly person centred care provider that helps people recovery from eating disorders and for ‘those that don’t’, be there for them when they need us.

‘I am grateful to my trustee board for their support, to our dedicated and highly skilled staff and wonderful volunteers who have lived experience of First Steps Eating Disorders, everyone for being part of our supportive community and the First Steps ED family’.

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