First Steps wins national award!

12 December 2017

First Steps

First Steps wins national recognition - HSJ Award 2017

Congratulations to First Steps on winning a major national healthcare award in recognition of its work to support young people and adults with eating disorders and its relationship with health professionals across the East Midlands.

First Steps in Agard Street was founded in 2004 by CEO, Cathy Cleary who as a teenager suffered with an eating disorder and recognised that through her own experiences and recovery, other sufferers and their families needed support that was not always available from NHS and community services.

The charity has won the Supported Self Care category sponsored by NHS England Integrated Personalised Care, a joint national programme with the Local Government Association at this year's HSJ Awards which are regarded as the 'Oscars' of the health care service in England.

The award was in recognition of First Steps Eating Disorders online befriending service which the judges said: 'is a wonderful example of a truly person-centred service that complements local NHS services and that demonstrably transforms people's lives. An example we can all learn from'.

The online befriending service typically involves 40 trained volunteers - many of whom have personal experience of eating disorders and a positive recovery - who provide online practical support for around 50 local people at any one time.

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, backgrounds and gender and the online befriending service is the first step for people of all ages with eating disorders to understand their condition and explore practical ways to combat isolation and if required access clinical help through partnership working with local NHS services.

CEO Cathy Cleary said: "This award is an important milestone for First Steps. Having built up excellent working relationships with NHS health care providers and commissioners and a reputation for providing a service-user centred service we are looking to expand across the East and West Midlands.

The kudos of the HSJ Awards will help to raise our profile and credibility so that we can provide support to more people in more places and across our blended services."

For more information visit the First Steps website.