Youth and Philamthropy Initiative Scotland logo

Raising awareness through the Youth Philanthropy Initiative

North East schools continue to show interest in raising awareness of eating disorders by representing NEEDS(Scotland) in their school Youth Philanthropy Initiative competition. Teams of pupils who can any stage from S2-6 chose a socially based local charity and present on their behalf.

To date, NEEDS(Scotland) has won individual school competitions three times, with Portlethen Academy, Robert Gordon’s College and Albyn School.

We are indebted to anyone who raises awareness of eating disorders, as it is so important for young people to be able to recognise the signs of someone having difficulties, and to be able to talk to someone about their concerns.

The pupils we have worked with have all shown real enthusiasm for learning about our charity and what we do. A team from Peterhead Academy have recently presented NEEDS(Scotland) with a cheque for £200 awarded to them as runners up in their school’s competition.

We would like to thank the team of S5 pupils for doing an excellent job and being great ambassadors for their school when they came to visit our office. Well done!

Sponsored walk

Dundee’s Bridging the Gap sponsored walk raises £1243

On Sunday 11th June 2017 members of the Bridging the Gap group completed a sponsored walk over the Tay Bridge. The idea of walking the bridge came from group members as it is symbolic with the groups ethos of Bridging the Gap into recovery and also as it’s a local landmark crossing the river Tay. There were 17 participants of all ages the youngest being 4 years old and who entertained us the whole way.

The weather started off a little drizzly but soon the sun came out and we enjoying the warmth. The start point was the Apex Hotel and it was decided that to complete the walk we had to touch the wall on the Fife side and then walk back to the Apex Hotel. We started at 11am and all had completed the walk by 1:30pm.

We would like to thank the Apex Hotel for supporting us in our first walk by providing refreshments in the form of cold water.

It was agreed by all it was a fabulous day and it was intimated that this could become an annual event.

Thank you to all group members who collected monies. Once all the monies had been counted it came to £1243 which is a fantastic effort by all.

The monies will be used by the group to secure our current venue and also to purchase books and other beneficial educational material for the group.

Merry Christmas

Coping with Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you? For most of us, it is many things, Friends and families coming together, works nights out, buying gifts for our nearest and dearest, writing out Christmas cards…I could go on!

For those struggling with an eating disorder, and their carers, it can instigate sheer panic. It becomes all about massive amounts of food, and more food, taking away any enjoyment, and adding huge anxieties. Carers become anxious about their loved ones being anxious and the combined anxieties can wind up stress levels.

Over the years NEEDS(Scotland) have built up a bank of helpful strategies from group members which can help you cope with this time of year. We are always looking for more ideas, so if you feel you can add to what we have, email our administrator via our contact formand we will add them to our leaflet.

Our December meeting dates are NEEDS(Aberdeen) Monday 4th December at 7.30pm, and NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap in Dundee  on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm.

Everyone at NEEDS(Scotland) wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2018.


Recovery Is Possible

Self help at its best

NEEDS(Scotland) is a self help group. It has been around for 22 years now in one form or another supporting those affected by eating disorders and also carers, friends and families. Many group members have come and gone and appreciated the support they have had.

Over the past few months I have witnessed our group working at its very best with volunteer facilitators, members at all stages of these horrible illnesses and carers too, really showing how self help works. I commend everyone involved for their empathy, their compassion and willingness to help those in need.

Living with an eating disorder is a constant struggle. Our group members understand that more than anyone. Recovery IS possible!

coffee care and share

Support for those caring for adolescents with eating disorders


NEEDS(Scotland) have now held two very successful Coffee Care and Share sessions within the Young Peoples’ Department at Royal Cornhill Hospital.

Two volunteer facilitators led the groups, one held in the morning, and one in the evening, to gauge interest in developing a self help group specifically for those caring for youngsters affected by eating disorders. Both groups were very well attended and had very positive dynamics. Everyone contributed in some way, and supported each other.

We hope to repeat these sessions in 2018, and hopefully recruit a couple of carers to lead the sessions along with us. We do understand how scary and difficult it is to cope with a young person challenged by these horrible illnesses, but we also see the benefits of coming together in a safe setting to share and support others in similar situations. If you think you can help, please get in touch with our administrator via our contact form.

Initially we would hope to run Coffee Care and Share sessions, perhaps quarterly, depending on interest and availability of volunteers. Each session lasts for 90 minutes, and is basically an informal coffee and chat. However, we must stress the importance of confidentiality as always. Watch this space for our first 2018 date!


Xmas shopping

Christmas shopping online? Support NEEDS(Scotland)!


It’s getting to that time of year…..Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Markets… If you prefer to do your shopping online, please remember us at NEEDS(Scotland). Have a look at the Help us section of this website and you will find a link to

Once you register to support us, you are only a click away from getting donations from many of the popular retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis and Marks and Spencers for our charity! You can do all your grocery shopping or even book flights or a holiday through this site.

All the donations mount up and currently we have £156.46 raised so far, just by shopping, but clicking on easy fundraising first! Don’t delay….register today, and carry on shopping!

Add a stone to the stack to heighten mindfulness

Mini Mindfulness experience for group members


NEEDS(Scotland) Aberdeen were treated to a mini mindfulness workshop at our meeting on Monday October 2nd.

Louise Martin of The Meditation Shack Ltd came along and led us in 45 minutes of mindful meditation. Louise has previously led a session for us at one of our Wellbeing days which we really enjoyed, and one of our volunteers suggested inviting her along one of our monthly meetings. The session left everyone feeling very relaxed and calm, a great way to begin group sharing sessions.

Louise very generously donated some Breathe magazines to those present. Breathe explores mindfulness and looks at how ways to help us relax and de-clutter our minds. There is a website at, and also a Teen Breathe which you may wish to explore for younger people.

Louise has a Facebook page The Meditation Shack Ltd which you may wish to explore.

The Meditation Shack logo

Sponsored walk

Bridging the Gap amazing fundraising effort

Tay Bridge

NEEDS(Scotland)2 Bridging the Gap is our satellite group based in Dundee. On June 10th the group organised a fundraising sponsored walk, “bridging the gap” across the Tay Road Bridge. We now have the final total of monies raised which is an amazing £1243. Congratulations and well done to the organisers and all those who took part on the day. The funds will be used for building up resources for the group and also will help pay for rental of rooms at The Dundee Carers’ Centre. Bridging the Gap meet on the second Wednesday of every month, from 7pm-9pm. Dates are posted on the Meetings page of our website.

This is a self help group which welcomes both adults affected by any eating disorder and carers too. After an initial discussion together, the groups continue in separate confidential settings. Enquiries about this group or NEEDS(Scotland) Aberdeen should be made via our contact form or by telephone on 01224 557672. Please be aware that this is an answering service, but our administrator will return your call as soon as possible.

News Update

News Update

Here is a news update from our groups in Tayside and Aberdeen. NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap have been busy lately, fundraising and raising awareness in Tayside with a very successful sponsored walk across the Tay Road Bridge, bridging that gap and raising well over £500 for the group to spend on resources and accommodation amongst other things. More details of the exact amount raised will follow later.

Following the winding up of the Aberdeen group’s Arts and Crafts Group, due to low attendance, the materials purchased have been distributed to group members along with scrapbooks for individual use to create their art and design work and record positive affirmations, writing and poetry. One of our group members very kindly shared her own scrapbook which was beautifully done and inspired others to have a go at producing their own. Larger materials such as paint and card making items will go to the Eden Unit, and colouring books and pencils to the Young Persons’ Department. Donating in this way should raise awareness of our self help group in the wider hospital community and hopefully encourage others to attend the group when they can. Although we are an adult group, carers of younger people can attend.

On that note, two volunteers from NEEDS(Scotland) are initiating a Coffee, Care and Share Session on Thursday 24th August in the Oak Room, Young Peoples’ Department, Lower Garden Villa, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen AB25 2ZH from 10.30-12noon, and on Thursday September 28th from 7.30-9pm. The aim is to offer support informally to those caring for young people affected by an eating disorder, and encourage carers to support each other. If you are interested in attending, please email our administrator via our contact form.   

Chairperson's Report

Chairperson’s Report 2017

Chairperson’s Report   24.04.17

Firstly, as always, I must thank all our volunteers, both in Dundee with NEEDS 2 Bridging the Gap and also in Aberdeen. Time is precious to all, but the time you give to those who are challenged by eating disorders, either personally or as carers, is priceless. We all recognise the benefits of support, especially facilitating self help. Our group members acknowledge this, as do the professional services in Tayside and Aberdeen, so thank you for your time and your individual skills. Thanks also to Irene, who diligently organises meetings and does our administration, and also to George Baird who maintains our website so efficiently.

A very special thank you goes to Emma Lindsay for going that extra mile this year, as well as holding down a job, and doing her finals. She has continued to support patients from the Young Peoples’ Department along with Katie Bedford, which is proving a huge success. She has also been instrumental in inspiring two winning Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) teams, Robert Gordon’s College and also Albyn School, talking candidly to pupils about her experience and raising awareness of eating disorders. She has also shared that experience at the second Aberdeenshire Schools’ Conference, which was widely appreciated by her audience of teachers and other school based staff. She also continues to work as a B-eat Young Ambassador, and support our group members each month. Well done, Emma, and all the best for your Master’s year wherever you choose to go.

We have focussed on looking after ourselves this year, with two very successful Wellbeing Days which were totally free of charge to group members, speakers on Kinesiology and Photography as therapy, and the launch of our Arts and Crafts Group, suggested by a group member. All these were made possible by monies raised by Rosehill TSB, Aberdeen University Raising and Giving Campaign 2016, and £3k from Robert Gordon’s College YPI team.

The attendance at the Wellbeing Days was low, but enjoyed immensely by those who did attend; volunteers, some past group members, some present and some carers. Presentations included Yoga, Mindfulness, Movement as Therapy, and Body Image. There was also a selection of alternative therapy taster sessions, Shiatsu, Reiki, Aromatherapy Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Reflexology available and a Nail Bar. Since we have recently won another YPI, thanks to Albyn School, and we hope to hold more Wellbeing Days next year using this extra funding. Comments ranged from “It was good to spend some time on me.”, to “I feel grounded, relaxed, chilled.”

Our Arts and Crafts Group has also had low numbers attend, but was very much appreciated by those who did attend, and latterly became involved in the Can You Hear Me? Recovery Song project led by 4th Year music student, Nadine Allan. This project used art, mind mapping and music to produce a song for the group. Unfortunately the Arts and Crafts Group will have to fold due to those low numbers, but hopefully we will be able to re-start it in the future.

During Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we were invited to attend a Wellbeing Fayre at Banchory Academy. This was an excellent event for raising awareness, as we were able to chat with pupils from all the different year groups and also school staff.

It has been an immensely satisfying year, with the Wellbeing Days and some group members deciding to move on, acknowledging the role NEEDS(Scotland) has had in their sustained recovery. We have had three new babies born, and we have a wedding, a graduation and an emigration ahead. Life goes on and NEEDS(Scotland) will have to adapt to the changes. It has before, and it will again.

Sourcing volunteers is a constant struggle, but we will survive in whatever way we can to continue to offer support in both Aberdeen and Tayside. I am still keen to pass on the mantle of Chairperson, due to increasing personal commitments, but I will endeavour to do the best I can to keep the group running until someone comes forward.


The following report is from our volunteers at NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap, who continue to provide a much valued and needed service to those in Tayside.

NEEDS 2 Bridging the Gap Report 24.04.17.

Our group was established in October 2015 and has been very successful since then. Our time has been spent developing a routine and settling in to our meeting rooms which are within Dundee Carers’ Centre.

This year we want to focus on fundraising for ourselves and hope to arrange a bagpacking event in a store such as Sainsbury’s, but so far there has been no response. We are also looking at using a pop-up café for an event. Our biggest event is to be a sponsored walk over the Tay Road Bridge on Sunday 11th June. The timings of this event are still to be confirmed. We have also had a team represent us in Carnoustie High School’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative competition. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful this time, but there is always another chance! We hope to publicise NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap so that other schools may select us as one of their charities.

Our volunteers are very appreciative of the local ED Service offering us supervision, which is proving most beneficial. We are most appreciative of the time that this involves out of hours. Unfortunately we have two volunteers leaving. Natasha and Duncan have been a great asset to both groups in Aberdeen and in Dundee, and we wish them well in their new home. Three of our volunteers hope to attend a training event which is being organised by Anne Tremble of the Linda Tremble Foundation in Fife.

Attendance has settled in the group with 8-12 members attending monthly with 3-4 volunteers. Sometimes there can be only one volunteer for carers as there are two needed for group members. It would be good if we could find more volunteers.

Tayside CAMHS have said they would like to become involved. However, there has been little contact so far. They are very keen to set up peer mentoring as in Aberdeen Young Persons’ Department, but sadly there are no younger volunteers available at the moment.

One evening which proved very popular with most group members, was a poetry reading session. Sara Preston’s poem, There is a light and there is a door, was read out and group members discussed their own favourites.

There continues to be regular enquiries regarding the group coming in to South Lodge in Aberdeen, and attendance remains excellent, which shows the continuing need for a group in Dundee.