Settling in for an introduction to yoga

Wellbeing Day Saturday 3rd September 2016

This was a new venture for us suggested by one of our volunteers, and brought into life with funding awards from Aberdeen University Raising and Giving Campaign and also the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. It was held at Cafe Coast, which is a super venue for such an event, with a bright and airy room for both presentations and workshops.

The day began with a Mindfulness session where Louise Martin introduced the concept and led us through some exercises to focus our thoughts. The key is to accept that the mind will wander, but that you can bring it back to focus at any time.

After a short coffee break Morgan Windram introduced us to yoga and some exercises which could be done at any level. The focus was again on breathing which followed on from our Mindfulness session. The stretches were easily adaptable and felt very good. By this point we were all feeling totally relaxed and enjoyed a light lunch and chat with the speakers and also the 5 therapists who were joining us for the afternoon.

Using two extra rooms at Cafe Coast, we were able to offer 30 minute sessions of various complimentary therapies and also a file and polish. Among therapies offered were aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage, reiki, shiatsu, reflexology, hand/foot massage and indian head massage.

Alongside these treatments were two taster sessions of Movement as Therapy, which was a new concept to us all. Eveline Nicolette gave us all a short introduction to the concept and then we experienced it for ourselves. The workshop was called The Feel Good Factor, and I definitely think it gave us exactly that, judging by the smiles at the end of the day!

The event has been hailed a great success and we hope to make them a regular event if we can secure sufficient funding. The next one is already booked for Saturday 22nd October 2016, so get the date in your diary.

The main presenter will be Francine Dulong from BodyGossip, a charity who take workshops on body image round schools and universities. We are also hoping to have a session on music as therapy and our complimentary therapies available once more. Watch this website for more details!

Many thanks to all involved for an extremely refreshing, informative and most importantly, fun day!
Apologies for only three photos…. too busy chilling out…….!!

Settling in for an introduction to yoga

Settling in for an introduction to yoga

The Yoga session was pitched well for all levels, floor based and chair based.

The session was pitched well for all levels, floor based and chair based.

Finlaying watching on

Finlay decided just to spectate! He’ll maybe do it next time!


Wellbeing day

  • Venue

    Café Coast, Beach Boulevard AB24 5HP

  • Date

    Sat 3rd September 9.30-4pm

  • Arrival time

    Please Arrive at 9.15 to sign in

  • Registration deadline

    Monday 22nd August 2016


A little bit of information about our guest speakers…..

Louise Martin
Louise was trained in Mindfulness under the guidance of world renowned experts Rob Nairn and Choden. As part of this training Louise has attended Meditation retreats at Buddhist Centres across Scotland and is in the final year of the Mindfulness Studies Master’s Degree at the University of Aberdeen.

Louise is a fully qualified mindfulness teacher, having completed a PG Cert and Diploma in Mindfulness Studies at the University of Aberdeen and the Mindfulness Associations Teacher Training Programme. Louise now teaches Mindfulness for the University of St Andrews and runs 8-week courses for both individuals and organisations in private and group settings.

After many years working in the field of psychology, Louise was originally drawn to mindfulness not just as a way to manage stress and emotional difficulties but also as a way to live life more fully and happily.

Add a stone to the stack to heighten mindfulness


Morgan Windram
Morgan is co-owner and yoga teacher at yogaontay based in Newport on Tay in Fife.

She says, “Yoga taught me how to breathe deep, quiet my mind & listen to my body. Yoga was the final and most crucial step towards my healing from anorexia and excessive exercise.

Today I am a confident, happy and grateful person. I have chosen to follow my dreams rather than the dreams that others have for me. I balance my yoga teaching with parenting my twin daughters.  I also remain committed to endurance running as an elite athlete in mountain and ultrarunning. I hope I can teach you how to access your breath, and bring your mind and body back in synch.

Sitting, looking down over the city


Eveline Nicolette
Eveline has many years experience working with body-mind approaches and the arts, supporting people to reconnect with what matters to them. Her warm and easy-going manner invites people to step into their lives more fully and begin to play with possibilities. She says, “Come along and find out what the Feel Good Factor is for you. Life can sometimes drag us down, and it can be hard to get back on track and feel good about ourselves. “

“Getting creative with others and having fun through movement, art and music can wake up and shake up the Feel Good Factor! “

Water lilies bloom with the coming of the sun


There will also be 20min taster sessions of complimentary therapies available in the afternoon such as hand/foot/shoulder massage, reflexology and aromatherapy, and also simple file and polish for nails available. These will be free of charge, and bookable earlier in the day on a “first come, first served’ basis.

Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided.

Registration closes on Monday 22nd August 2016. To register for Wellbeing Day, please email Irene our administrator using our contact form.

Aberdeen-RAG-Adopt-a-CharityYouth and Philamthropy Initiative Scotland logo

Cheque Donation

Rosehill TSB’s final fling!

For the past year the Rosehill Branch of the TSB have tirelessly and very inventively raised money on behalf of NEEDS(Scotland). This partnership is now at an end and today, Heather was presented with a cheque for £1838.11. This is almost double what the branch was aiming to raise, and we are absolutely delighted.

We can’t thank the Rosehill Branch staff and customers enough for this fantastic achievement. We must also thank Amanda Bain, the former Assistant Manager who has since moved to be manager at the Castle Street branch, and Sam, who is holding the right hand side of the cheque. Sam Mitchell has been the charity co-ordinator and worked very hard to organise events, and has also attended several events which we have organised using monies raised.

We have purchased various items to make the group room more welcoming, and now intend to start an Arts and Crafts group. this money will go a long way to help with venue costs and materials. Thanks again, folks!


Cheque Donation

Youth and Philamthropy Initiative Scotland logo

Another win in schools’ YPI competition

Once again, NEEDS(Scotland) are the winning charity in the Scottish schools’ Youth Philanthropy Initiative. A group of fourth year pupils from Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen triumphed with their presentation, raising awareness of eating disorders and highlighting the work that our charity does. The winning team were, Rhia Badial, Lloyd Ledingham, Jovana Jojo, Harriet Fyfe, Aidan Fulton and Albert Ibekwe. Other charities represented in this competition were Social Bite, Somebody Cares, The Archie Foundation and ACIS Aberdeen. The team were awarded £3000 for their chosen charity. NEEDS(Scotland) are absolutely delighted and look forward to working with the group to put their development plan into action, building on our concept of Wellbeing Days, and establishing a relationship with Sport Aberdeen in order to raise awareness of eating disorders amongst the coaches, young athletes and their parents.

The Youth Philanthropy Initiative challenges groups of secondary school pupils to choose a local socially based charity and present on their behalf, in front of their year groups and a panel of judges. This is a great opportunity for pupils to work together to raise awareness of their chosen charity.  A team from Portlethen Academy won their school competition for us last year. The winning team produced a short and very effective video highlighting a young girl’s struggle to recover from an eating disorder. NEEDS(Scotland) volunteers appreciate the chance to work with young people all over the north east. To win a competition like this twice is unbelievable, but we must also thank all the teams who participate in these initiatives as they all get important information out to their fellow pupils.


National Carers’ Conference

Alison Lynch, one of our volunteers, represented NEEDS(Scotland) at the National Carer’s Conference in London in November 2015. We are very grateful of all donations to our charity which allowed us to fund this. Alison very kindly wrote this report on the presentations which is very informative and inspiring, stressing the importance of hope and working together when challenging these illnesses. 

On Friday 27th November 2015, I attended the National Carers’ Conference in Eating Disorders at King’s College London. This turned out to be a very interesting and informative day, highlighting some new ways of providing treatment and support to both sufferers and Carers. I also enjoyed meeting Carers from other parts of the UK and hearing their stories.

The event opened with the Keynote Speakers Dr Hind Al-Khairulla & Dr Amy Harrison from Ellern Mede Service (Inpatient CAMHS) giving us an overview of current strategies and treatment. Dr Hind said they constantly strive to “PROMOTE A POSITIVE MOTIVATIONAL STATE”. Keeping belief alive is crucial “Unless you believe you are unlikely to achieve”. Their aim is to provide HOPE ………” I BELIEVE I CAN AND SO I WILL”

Eating disorders thrive on draining hope. Dr Hind told us that her team and the Sufferer’s Carer need to carry the HOPE for the patient until they can carry it for themselves. The team frequently encounter Carers who have ‘drained themselves’. At that point they stop caring for themselves and are consequently unable to care for their loved one suffering fm an ED. Dr Hind stressed that no matter how bad, how far progressed ED has become – “THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE”.
She talked about a case where a Mum had been caring for her young daughter with an ED. When the young girl became very seriously ill she had to be admitted to Ellern Mede. The Mum described her relationship with her daughter as ‘An unbreakable bond’ although when ED took a firm hold she could not reach her daughter as she had before. Ellern Mede reinforced their message that there is always HOPE. Mum started to write letters to her daughter in the HOPE she would get a reply ……..and eventually she did.

Dr Jennifer Danby & Wendy Whitaker discussed benefits of
“Emotion Focused Therapy with Families in the Treatment of EDs”
Carer is shown how to become a
Behaviour & Emotional Coach and is supported to help feel empowered to
Heal Wounds
This therapy offers Family & Emotion Focused, Parent Empowered skills training.

A parent spoke of her own experience, saying that her daughter would listen to
“Her old friend the ‘reliable anorexic voice’ so that they felt disempowered to reach her”
“We felt like we had lost our daughter and we could only see an illness –
Emotional Coaching has been successful in helping to get her back”
Information on Emotional Coaching can be found here –
[email protected]

There was a very interesting presentation from Rosie Tressler entitled “Student Minds”.
This discussed “Looking after your mates” by pairing a youngster seeking support with a Psychology Student as a support and Mentor at Uni. The students follow the New Maudsley Method. Leaving school and potentially leaving home to go to Uni can be a traumatic time for any youngsters, let alone one who suffers from an Eating Disorder. Support can be provided to assist with the potentially difficult transition from CAMHS to AMHS. The typical problems they have come across when supporting youngsters are
Fear of being judged
Finding confidence to talk about ED
Fear that any mental health problems will be seen as a weakness

The students can offer support via Instant Chat Sessions which are Smart Phone friendly. This can be arranged once per week on a one-to-one basis with a recovered sufferer for people currently receiving Outpatient treatment.

“Student Minds” University Support website is
Dr David Veale, Consultant Psychiatrist at The Priory Clinic spoke about
“Obsessional Compulsive Disorder & Body Dysmorphic Disorder”

There is a well-documented link between OCD behaviours and EDs. The relentless rigid behaviours and strive for perfectionism can be crippling for Sufferers and Carers. Dr Veale encouraged us to read Howard Hughes’ Autobiography “The Aviator” which depicts the life and struggles of the eccentric and reclusive aviator/director whose OCD behaviour became very life-restricting.

Dr Janet Treasure gave an excellent talk. She spoke about CASIS/ECHO projects.
ECHO is Expert Carers Helping Others (A Carers Support Network)
Content has been provided by Carers/Ex patients. DVDs/Book/10 Coaching Sessions have been put together. This support has potential to mean less medical intervention and less inpatient treatment for sufferers.

Dr Treasure told us the ED illicits NEGATIVE EMOTIONS from the Carer, which feeds the Anorexic Bully. Families need to present a united front to tackle ED. if individual family members are divided then this allows ED to thrive.

To sum up Dr Treasure gave us this message from a Sufferer…….
” An Eating Disorder in one word ‘ISOLATION’ ED becomes your only friend”

Chairperson's Report

Chairperson’s Report 09.05.2016.

The NEEDS(Scotland) Annual General Meeting was held on Monday 9th May 2016 in the Macrobin Centre. Here is the annual Chairperson’s report from April 2015 to April 2016.

Welcome to the Annual General Meeting of NEEDS(Scotland), including for the first time, our satellite group NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap which is doing just that in Dundee and Tayside since it’s launch in October 2015. We are indeed reaching out as we have always hoped to do. Many thanks go to the group members who decided to form this group, and to the Dundee group volunteers who give their time to help those in need in the city and the surrounding area.

Many thanks also to our volunteers in Aberdeen, who give up their free time, whilst juggling work, studies and family commitments to support group members, also to our administrator, Irene Kerr and our IT specialist George Baird for their assistance in keeping the wheels of the group moving. I would specifically mention, Mel Stevenson, one of our volunteers who does a wonderful job as Correspondence Secretary, personally replying to all email enquiries and offering kind words and sound advice in often difficult circumstances. Finally, I would like to thank our supervisors, Dr Phil Crockett and Dr Sam Aitcheson for taking time out of office hours to support our team and keep us on the straight and narrow. Some of the Tayside Eating Disorders Service will be offering the same service and we are also very grateful to them for their support as our new group gets off the ground.

Following on from our training last year with B-eat in Perth, we have put in a request to them for a follow-up session, but unfortunately they are busy with a re-organisation at present so this is on hold for the moment. However, we will push for this as it is important that our volunteers get a chance to get together with more experienced people and to discuss possible challenges they may face. Also the volunteer bases change from time to time and new people appreciate the chance of training.

We have explored more funding opportunities this year, most of which have been successful, particularly from Aberdeen University’s Raising and Giving Campaign, and Community Matters funds through John Lewis, Asda and the Co-op. Altogether this amounts to £3800. As we receive no regular funding, we will continue to explore such opportunities. We were also delighted to receive a £250 donation from a group of Ellon Mums, and a personal donation from the grandmother of a Youth Philanthropy Initiative pupil, of £160. This lady competed in the Baker Hughes 10k and donated her sponsorship money of £160 to us. This donation paid for some new books and they are now labelled with this lady’s name in acknowledgment of her generosity.

We were also chosen as the nominated charity of the Rosehill branch of the TSB Bank. This has proved to be very beneficial to both us and the bank staff.

They themselves have raised over £1200 to date for us with various different events such as a sponsored walk up Bennachie, bake sales, a Christmas hamper raffle and a sponsored static cycle. We have shared a pottery painting afternoon with them at Ceramika, which was paid for by them, and they also came along to our Film Event at Café Coast which was also funded by them. Money raised by them has also been spent on cosy cushions and throws, aromatherapy putty and colouring books and pencils in an effort to make the group room more welcoming on arrival. We also have a new ipod, which will be loaded with some relaxing music and some “mood cubes” which will provide relaxing coloured lighting.

Bigger projects include a Wellbeing Day in September featuring a workshop from BodyGossip on Body Image, Yoga and Mindfulness. We also hope to begin an Arts and Crafts Group, which would be held in Rosemount Community Education Centre on a monthly basis. We would hope to include volunteers from Aberdeen University RAG campaign and also TSB bank staff depending on their availability. It is difficult to organise due to everyone’s other commitments, but we hope to get both of these projects on the go as soon as possible.

The film event mentioned was called “Seen but not Heard” and featured young adults who had suffered from various different eating disorders. There were two girls present who had contributed to the film and a lively discussion was had after the film. After its success, another film has been launched featuring young adolescents, and we hope to hold a screening of it later in the year.

We continue to be involved with secondary schools in the region who compete in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. Groups choose a nominated charity to prepare a presentation on. We have been represented 9 times this year in 6 schools. No wins this year, but a team from Banchory  Academy was runner up and raised nearly £600. The Cults Academy group also raised £200. The opportunity to raise awareness within so many different groups is very valuable. The youngsters are always very interested in eating disorders and keen to ask questions. We would hope that this would encourage them to seek help if they or any of their friends became ill. Our thanks go to all pupils and staff involved in this initiative.

We also continue to attend Aberdeen University Freshers’ Fayre and with both this type of event in mind, and various conferences and displays we hold, we have bought some promotional pens and wristbands to spread the NEEDS(Scotland) word a little wider. These are also very popular with the YPI groups in schools.

We do our best to raise awareness where we can and have some presence at regional and national conferences. This is difficult due to other commitments that volunteers have. However, we have had four volunteers attend the North of Scotland MCN Eating Disorders Conference, two attended the Scottish Parliament Conference, there were three at the Carers’ Conference and one at the National Carers’ Conference in London. As well as bringing back more knowledge to the group, there are also opportunities for networking. We also have a representative on the North of Scotland Managed Clinic Network and on the Scottish CAMHS Steering group.

B-eat’s theme for Eating disorders Awareness Week was Eating Disorders in the Workplace. We put out several emails asking different companies to allow us to have displays on site. Paul Donald did a display at Dobbies Garden Centre, and there will be a display at Anderson Anderson Brown Accountants.

Finally, I want to look at the group evenings themselves. The attendance in Aberdeen has been regularly good, with around 8-12 group members and 4-6 carers attending per month. We also have at least one or two new members registering every month and a steady number of telephone/email enquiries. We have revised the group guidelines together with group members and now have a suggestion box. We also encourage group members to email their suggestions to us and hope to take as many of them forward as we can. We have had a talk on Supporting a Partner with an ED, both in Aberdeen and Dundee, by one of our volunteers and her husband. This was so popular that they will publish a leaflet on it. We also had arranged a talk from the author Tina McGuff, but unfortunately she was not able to attend. Group members in Aberdeen have decided to omit the icebreaker and just have occasional speakers in the early half of the evening.

Bridging the Gap has been very successful since its launch, with 28-30 attending per month. They have had a few speakers, Tina McGuff and Dr Paula Collin of the Tayside Eating Disorders Service at the launch, and our own Emma Lindsay speaking about her personal journey to recovery. They have also had one of their new volunteers speaking about yoga. Bridging the Gap hope to begin their own fundraising in the summer, planning a bagpack. In our experience, this is a super way to reach out to the public with plenty opportunities for speaking on a one to one basis about what we do. We have also been successful in obtaining a grant of £360 from the Dundee Voluntary Gateway to cover the group’s venue costs.

NEEDS(Scotland) has come a long way since its early days in a Westhill church. It still provides personal support, helping people help themselves, but now is very much a Scottish presence providing support to fledgling groups and also providing both the points of view of the recoverer and the carer in wider forums. We are indeed reaching out.

I have been involved with NEEDS(Scotland) now for 13 years, and chairperson second time around, for 3 years. I now feel it is time for a fresh face at the helm and intend standing down in 2017, remaining as a volunteer and trustee. I would urge my co-volunteers to think about taking on the role. I would offer my wholehearted support to anyone who takes on the task.


Heather Cassie
Chairperson NEEDS(Scotland)

Aberdeen University RAG campaign cheque

Raising and Giving Campaign cheque

On 16th May, two of our volunteers Paul Donald and Alison Lynch went along to Aberdeen University’s Duncan Rice Library to collect this very generous cheque for £2000. This money has been allocated to us by their Raising and Giving Campaign and was presented to them by Holly Bruce, President of Charities and Community.

We are absolutely delighted to accept this amount, which will go towards funding our Wellbeing Day to be held at Cafe Coast on Saturday 3rd September. Thank you so much to all those students who have worked so hard to raise money for so many local charities. It is very much appreciated.


Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

When : Monday 9th May 2016 at 7.30pm
Where : Macrobin Centre, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen.

All group members and charity trustees are invited to attend our AGM on 9th May 2016 at 7.30pm. There will be reports from our treasurer and chairperson. Following that, we will be discussing any changes/additions to our committee and any other business. This is your group and we welcome any suggestions on its structure and further development.

A display in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill based in Dobbies Garden Centre in Aberdeen to raise awareness of eating disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2016

The national charity B-eat had “Eating Disorders in the Workplace” as its theme this year. One of our volunteers, Paul Donald, created a display in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill based in Dobbies Garden Centre in Aberdeen to raise awareness of eating disorders and highlight the work of NEEDS(Scotland) and also MBEEDS, (Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Disorders Support)

We have also had a request to display information on eating disorders and what our charity does, at Anderson, Anderson and Brown, Professional Chartered Accountants in Aberdeen

Dennis Robertson, MSP, once again organised an Eating Disorders Conference at the Scottish Parliament which took place on Friday 26th February. The presentations were on four themes. You can access the debate held prior to the conference at to hear various contributions from Dennis Robertson and other MSPs.


Early Intervention
This presentation highlighted a programme run by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London.

The programme was for 18-25 year olds referred to the outpatients service, and offered a range of proven therapeutic interventions, including online support, group-based therapy, university holiday sessions and evening appointments with clinicians. All the patients on the programme improved rapidly. This presentation was very interesting and gives hope for more early intervention being used more widely.


Marsipan and Junior Marsipan
This presentation discussed the management of really sick patients with anorexia nervosa.


New Technology
This presentation highlighted a scheme which gets appropriate information to GPs so that they know exactly what is available for their patients.


Males with Eating Disorders
This presentation from Paul Donald of MBEEDS and Sam Thomas of MGEDT, (Men Get Eating Disorders Too) discussed the myths surrounding males with eating disorders, also focussed on how MBEEDS were raising awareness through displays and youtube presentations featuring a comedian Dave Chawner who has personal experience of an eating disorder. There was also a personal story featured.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill staff raise awareness of eating disorders in the workplace

Edinburgh Woollen Mill staff raise awareness of eating disorders in the workplace

SEDIG Carers’ Conference 2016

The Scottish Eating Disorders Interest Group, SEDIG, held their 2016 Carers’ Conference at The City Chambers in Edinburgh on Saturday 27th February 2016. There was an interesting and varied programme featuring four presentations. The first highlighted B-eat’s initiative in Edinburgh and the Lothians which involves young people with eating disorders going through transitions. Theses can be between services, or perhaps coming to university or college in the Lothian area or just re-locating. This support is proving to be most beneficial, and hopefully it will be available in other parts of Scotland before long. Two B-eat Young Ambassadors, Caitlin and Nicole, also told their personal stories of recovery which were very inspiring.

Our own Mel Stevenson then gave a presentation on a Solution Based Approach which has helped her, and also helped her offer support to someone with an eating disorder. Her ideas gave us all something to think about in our own lives and how this approach could be used in a caring and supportive role.

After lunch, which allows delegates and speakers to chat with one another and meet others in similar situations, the presentations both featured males suffering from eating disorders. Bev Mattocks told the story of her son, a young rugby player and his struggle with anorexia. She has written two books, one telling the story of her son’s illness and recovery Please Eat, and the other When Anorexia Came to Visit. The second book features 20 families who discuss what it was like when anorexia invaded their lives. Both books are available in our library.

The final presentation was from Paul Donald who is one of our trustees, and is also the founder and director of MBEEDS, (Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Disorder Support), and Sam Thomas of MGEDT, (Men Get Eating Disorders Too). They both highlighted the difficulties males face, trying to get a diagnosis and also treatment, and also pointed at the very high volume of hits their websites get.

Carers’ Conferences are excellent sources of information, raise awareness, and provide a great opportunity to meet people who may be in, or have been in similar situations.