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.



Sponsored walk

Sponsored Walk across the Tay Bridge

Tay Bridge

We’re holding a charity walk on Sunday 11th June 2017, so please join with friends and family to raise money in aid of NEEDS 2 (Bridging the Gap), supporting sufferers and carers dealing with an eating disorder in Dundee and Tayside.

Meet at the Apex Hotel on Sunday 11th June at 11am.

The APEX Hotel has kindly offered us the use of toilet facilities and water.
There is car parking opposite HMS Unicorn at City quay.

Sponsorship form


Music and Art as a celebration of recovery… an update

There’s been quite a bit of interest in this project, which has been really terrific. Here is Nadine’s summary of where the project is so far…

So far for my community music project ‘Can You Hear Me?’, I have been working alongside participants to create a recovery song using art. Two sessions have already passed and I am so pleased with the effort and results from these.

Our first session resulted in mood boards being made from our favourite songs – where we all thought about the musical reasons these songs meant what they did to us. In our second and most recent session, we created lyrics using the four core aims of NEEDS, and together as a group selected phrases from our responses. Next session will be creating rhythms to our lyrics and it would be great to see some more faces! Both members and carers are welcome.

The next session will be held in Room M5 at Rosemount Community Centre in Aberdeen, on Tuesday 14th March at 7-9pm. All group members and carers welcome. You don’t need to have been before!

Community Music Project

SEDIG Carers’ Conference

The Scottish Eating Disorders Interest Group (SEDIG) held their annual Carers’ Conference in The Eric Liddell Centre, Edinburgh on Saturday 4th March. The event, which usually takes place at the end of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, was hosted by Fiona Duffy who has recently become SEDIG’s chairperson, and featured some excellent speakers on a variety of topics. Fiona highlighted that Ben McPherson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith had raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament to note and appreciate the theme of EDAW 2017, which focussed on early intervention and raising awareness of these serious mental illnesses.

Kathleen Taylor, Engagement and Participation Officer with the  Mental Welfare Commission gave the first interesting and illuminating presentation on her role within the MWC and her own personal experience as a carer. She highlighted the importance of The Triangle of Care, rolled out in Scotland several years ago which aims for better collaboration and partnership with carers in their journey through the mental health services, and also acknowledgment that carers need care too. Amongst other topics covered were The Mental Health Act and the issue of confidentiality. She stressed that carers can request a meeting with the professionals treating their loved one. If refused they should,

  • put the request in writing
  • repeat if necessary, and copy in the Mental Welfare Commission.

There is an information and advice line (call back service) at 0800 389 6809

She also spoke about an Advance Statement. These can be useful but need to be completed by the service user when they are well. They may be useful as the brain can become impaired if food intake has been restricted for some time.

Sara Preston, Senior Young Person’s Officer (Scotland) for B-eat then gave a very interesting presentation about her Winston Churchill Foundation Fellowship Research trip to the US and Canada. The focus was on

  • Children and Young Persons’ treatment models
  • Education
  • Stigma
  • Raising Awareness

Sara travelled extensively across the US and Canada meeting with individuals from many different organisations supporting those affected by eating disorders and their families. My own personal favourite and dream for Scotland, was Sheena’s Place, which is a large house where a variety of different support is available such as

  • Art and Craft
  • Emotional Control
  • Bereavement
  • Dads
  • Sufferers
  • Siblings

Eating disorders sufferers, their friends and families can feel very isolated and alone, and this concept provides a safe environment in which to access help and support.

Sara concluded her presentation by reading out a very moving poem which she had written.

Finally, Gill Todd, Clinical Trainer and Supervisor in Eating Disorders talked about Collaborative Skills-based Learning for Carers. She also highlighted the importance of The Triangle of Care, and discussed helpful and unhelpful beliefs about eating disorders.  One concept which is often neglected by both the carer and the sufferer, is the need to learn compassion for themselves. This was a very interactive session, which continued into the afternoon, working  in different groups with plenty of opportunities for input from conference delegates.

Gill stressed the need to remain calm and try to step back from high anxiety/confrontational situations. Eating disorders thrive in these environments, so they are to be avoided as much as possible. She also stressed the aim to support the sufferer to build new “train tracks” in the brain of coping mechanisms, to replace those the eating disorder has put in place and begin the process of change. We looked at the stages involved in making that change and did some exercises to illustrate how Motivational Training could help. The idea is to make goals realistic and timely. Little steps make big strides!

Many thanks to the SEDIG Committee for their organisation and provision of a great venue and delicious lunch. SEDIG now have a Facebook page and also a Twitter account.

I highly recommend going along to SEDIG Carers’ Conferences as they are informative, but also gives carers a chance to network and share their experiences with others going through similar challenging times.



Banchory Academy Wellbeing Fayre 2017

Banchory Academy Wellbeing Fayre 2017

Fitting in very nicely during EDAW 2017, NEEDS(Scotland) were invited by Banchory Academy to their Wellbeing Fayre on Tuesday 28th February. We spent the afternoon stamping pupil “passports” as they made their way round the various stands. This was a novel way to make sure they engaged with all the stallholders. It gave us ample opportunity to chat with the different year groups and staff, to raise awareness of eating disorders and to encourage the youngsters to talk to someone if they feel they or one of their friends or family may be at risk.

It also gave us a chance to model our newly acquired NEEDS(Scotland) hoodies……..