Inspiring Volunteering Achievement Award logo

Scotland’s Beat Young Ambassadors win awards

NEEDS(Scotland) are delighted to announce that two of our volunteer facilitators, Katie Bedford and Emma Lindsey are part of the team of Beat Young Ambassadors in Scotland which was selected to receive an Inspiring Volunteering Achievement Award.

The award will be presented to two representatives by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh at the City Chambers. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday 16th June 2015 at 6.30pm followed by a drinks reception.This award ceremony is organised by Volunteer Centre Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Compact Partnership.

We have our fingers crossed for Katie and Emma to be the chosen representatives, but Sara Preston, Beat’s Young Peoples’ Participation Officer in Scotland, has arranged a celebration social day for all the Young Ambassadors on the following weekend so they can all receive their awards together.

Both Katie and Emma work tirelessly for NEEDS(Scotland) as well as for Beat, despite commitments to work and study respectively. Both are involved as supervised “buddies” for the Young Persons’ Department, and both were involved in the organisation of our Celebration Ceilidh last month at Elphinstone Hall. Girls, we salute you! Congratulations! A well deserved award.

Alison and Kris

Thank you Alison and Kris for representing us at the Torcher parade

NEEDS(Scotland) were very proud to have volunteer Alison and her son Kris represent us at the Torcher Parade in Aberdeen on Saturday 28th March. Alison was delighted to do this, as she was very keen to celebrate her daughter’s recovery from an eating disorder. 28th March, 7 years ago, was the day her daughter was admitted to hospital, and the family were obviously very anxious for her. These are her words,

“My daughter and I have both come a long way in seven years. I will carry that torch with

PRIDE for the beautiful young woman my daughter is blossoming into;
BELIEF that with the right treatment, support and understanding these hideous illnesses can be overcome and
HOPE for the future of other young people blighted by eating disorders, that we can help them to turn negatives into positives by using our own personal knowledge and experiences, to offer compassion, understanding and support when they need it most without judgement or criticism.”

On behalf of everyone at NEEDS(Scotland) thank you so much, folks. And, by the way, you look amazing in those fabulous teeshirts!

Alison and Kris with their torches   Alison and Kris


2015 Ceilidh Fundraiser

You can now get tickets for the NEEDS Scotland ceilidh fundraiser which is being held on Friday the 3rd April 2015 at Elphinstone Hall (Aberdeen University).

Call 07988 179473 for tickets (£12 for adults/ £10 concessions).

For those keen to get a table, the doors open at 7pm and the music starts 7.30ish.


Torcher Parade 2015

Torcher Parade 2015

The largest student-led parade in Europe – Aberdeen’s Torcher Parade – is on 28th March 2015 and we are hugely honoured to have been nominated by the Student Charities this year and to have 2 torch bearers.

Please come along on Saturday 28th March at 6.30pm to see us, and watch more than 2000 students in fancy dress and 30 decorated floats parade the streets of Aberdeen by torch light.

Torcher Parade 2015

Carers’ Conference 2015

SEDIG Carers’ Forum are holding their annual Carers’ Conference in Edinburgh on February 28th from 9.30am – 4pm at the Edinburgh Training and Conference Centre, 16 St Mary’s Street. Details are available from our administrator or on the SEDIG website. The topic this year is “How to move forward” and the speakers will be looking at the impact of an eating disorder on families, how they can support their loved one, and be supported themselves.

Portlethen Academy win £3000 for NEEDS(Scotland)


On the evening of 14th January, Porthlethen Academy held their final of their Youth Philanthropy Initiative. This is a project where the RMPS Department of secondary schools encourage pupils to form groups, research a local socially based charity and compose a presentation on that charity’s behalf. A winner is chosen per class, and then per school and that winning team is awarded £3000 for their chosen charity.

The winning team of second year pupils, were, Cara Bremner, Jasmine Collett, Craig McLennan and Kirsty Ross. Their presentation featured a very simple but powerful video set to music. We have been selected by quite a few schools already but no team has ever won, so many congratulations to the youngsters at Porthlethen Academy and very well done! As we receive no regular funding, the money will be greatly appreciated. We hope to put it towards facilitator training, and also a day of speakers and workshops for our group members, amongst other things. More details later.

Support for partners

One of our facilitators and her husband have very kindly offered to produce some notes on supporting a partner through an eating disorder. With this in mind, they are asking group members, especially carer members to submit questions they would like answered. You can do this by emailing our administrative assistant through the Contact Us page on this website, emailing her direct, or speaking to one of the facilitators on a group night. We are very grateful to them both for choosing to do this. Here is Natasha’s open letter to all group members.

Hello all,

Here’s an idea we’ve had recently that may help you all. We’ve noticed that at the group many of you are in relationships and it’s something that is hard at the best of times but when you throw an eating disorder into the mix it can be of the hardest things to go through as a couple. Myself and my husband dated throughout the time I was recovering from my eating disorder so we thought it would be helpful for you guys if we could make a resource booklet about dating with an eating disorder if it’s something you’d find useful. We thought if you want to send us questions or suggestions of things to include then we’ll answer them together, from both my side and my husband’s as ‘the boyfriend’.

Thanks! And hope this is something that will help!


Celebrating Christmas

We all recognise big family and social occasions can be difficult to cope with if you have an eating disorder in your life, either personally, or as a carer for a friend or loved one.


Who or what can help?

open and trusting family relationships, empathetic friends to share your thoughts and anxieties….

Look at what makes you feel more at ease, any aspects you may enjoy about the festive season. Discuss these with a friend or family member you feel comfortable with.


Some suggestions are:

     candlelight children’s excitement  getting together walks in the snow

smiling as the older folks nod off  decorating the house

coal fires and good books   giving/receiving gifts   fir trees/holly berries  

clear frosty nights/starry skies   walking the dog   taking photos Watchnight service

cheesy Christmas movies  pantomime    Christmas music and carols


Everyone has their own particular favourites.


What makes you anxious?

     people looking at me/what I’m eating    How will I cope?    What will others think?    

     the sheer amount of food         Will they think I’m ungrateful?          everyone in a perpetual frenzy

going “round the houses”      deciding what to wear            shopping     work nights out  

being alone when everyone else is out there having fun      unhelpful comments



Christmas Dinner

Set meal or buffet? What is helpful for you? It may be helpful if you can talk about what is planned beforehand with a family member or friend. Perhaps options such as boiled potatoes and some steamed vegetables could be included. Perhaps the amount of food actually on the table could be reduced in general. Perhaps you could order a take-away banquet; no one cooks and everyone can just take what they want. The key is to try to plan ahead and discuss it.

     Try to focus on why you are all gathered together. If you find it difficult, try to focus on what it means to   others, perhaps an older family member who lives alone, a brother or sister who lives and works abroad.

If there are young children there, try to absorb some of their excitement, and focus on it.

Think about the time involved, at most, one afternoon. It will pass, and if you do manage to share your anxieties with someone beforehand, it will seem a little less daunting.

     Friends and family can help by having Christmas food in stages with some non-food activities in between, a    brisk walk together, some present giving and receiving, some games. We don’t normally prepare so much to have in one go! Families can opt out of this!

     We all have a choice…perhaps the whole family could agree to reduce focus on food, to give the money saved to a charity, or simply pay for a family day out, or a family treat…..any family activity, even, very importantly spending time chatting and nurturing relationships. If you prefer to spend time with friends, you could talk about planning the day in a similar way.

Can you share your concerns with one person who can mediate with others on your behalf?


If this thought is too awful…how can you proceed?


Other Activities

 Try to make arrangements to meet up away from peoples’ homes, a woodland walk, an art gallery….

Visiting at home between meals can be difficult as you can be offered lots of snacks…Try to distract yourself, by choosing to do things you enjoy, when you can, relaxation, be in the company of people and or animals you want to be with. Animals have a great knack of making you feel better. If you don’t have your own, you could visit an animal sanctuary, stables or zoo, even just walking past fields of farm animals can lighten your step. Read….what makes you feel better? What inspires you?


   Try to distract yourself…anything to take your mind off food. Get a supportive friend or relative to help you with this if you can. A problem shared can be a problem halved.


Remember, it’s okay to say no, you do have a choice, whether it’s avoiding the occasional get-together, or just saying no to some or all of the food. As a host, you should try not to push food or drink on anyone. This can be difficult for the older generation who remember when food and drink were not so plentiful year round!


         You may feel all eyes are watching what you put in your mouth. Nothing could be further from the truth as there is always so much going on at the dinner table/drinks party. Although most people see when Uncle X has had one or two drinks too many, or Cousin Y is a tad too flirty!

You could offer to help the host clear the table, amuse the youngsters, take the dog out, in order to get yourself some space.


Arrange to spend the time somewhere less triggering, or spend it with someone you feel more comfortable    with. It’s ok! We all need time out at some stage.


   Get some fresh air and exercise, or time alone if you need it.


It would be perfectly acceptable to put recovery targets “on hold” for the festive period, to relieve pressure. You have the tools to correct any blips. Try not to feel it’s a catastrophic setback. We all learn from blips, and they will always be there! We just get better at coping with them. Try to share your feelings with an empathetic friend or family member.


If the pressure to binge becomes great because the opportunity to do so is there with all the food around-how do you work through this? ………..Eat regular healthy meals/snacks and try not to let yourself get too hungry (depends very much on stage of recovery) but it can reduce the likelihood of a binge.



   If the worst happens, remember, “it will pass”, it’s okay, it’s only a blip and the season will soon be over…..


Some thoughts on the subject…….for everyone.


“Today’s hassles are tomorrow’s history.”     Grainne


“Very soon it will be Spring, and I for one, after all the activity, try to focus on the arrival of the first snowdrops…then a big sigh of relief!”             Heather



“My own tactic, as an anorexic, was to think, whatever happens, can be “sorted out” afterwards…. It was a comfort to think things would soon be under my own control again. It helped me cope with “having to be seen to be eating”, not wanting to offend or reject hospitality from those I love. Sometimes, just letting it all out, having a good cry somewhere you feel safe, helps when it all gets too much.”         Carol


The social/family pressures may bring things to a (painful, but possibly helpful) head and provide the opportunity to share and start on the road to recovery………


“I used to find that the more I feared losing control of my eating, the more likely it was to happen…. So focussing on the outcome you want, is better.                                                                  Carol


For Carers


Recognise that big social occasions can be particularly difficult times and resist making comments about food.


Discuss potential scenarios with sufferers to avoid sudden panic, chaos or simply misunderstanding.


Try to place the emphasis on relationships not food.

Try to re-educate other family members! Can be challenging!

Try to be as normal as possible, caring without smothering.


Take time out yourself, when things get a bit hot in the kitchen/dining room and try to relax.


     “As a carer I always made Christmas Day my personal day off from worrying about how much my daughter was eating and concentrated on enjoying her company and all the other non-food pleasures that Christmas Day was about.  It meant that the stress was lifted off both of us – and she always made an effort to sit at the table and eat something – even if it was only vegetables.  Neither made comments about what the other was doing – she was undereating, and I was overeating! – but we kept it stress-free and enjoyed the day. 

     We all have a right to have a day off from worry!  Let Christmas Day be one of them!”         Mel


The facilitators at NEEDS(Scotland) wish everyone all the very best for a peaceful and happy Christmas.






Aberdeen visit from Eva Musby

Eva Musby is the author of Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well. This book is full of practical solutions, compassionate communication tools and emotional support for the parents of children and teenagers. Following a presentation at the Carers’ Conference in Edinburgh on 28th February, Eva Musby will be in Aberdeen on Wednesday 11th March 2015 to give a talk/workshop for carers. As yet, we do not have the timings and venue for this event, but  details will follow in the New Year.

This will be a very informative event, and it would be good if we could have as many carers as possible attend.

SEDIG Carers’ Conference


Eating Disorders: How to Move Forward

 Saturday 28th February 2015

Edinburgh Training & Conference Venue, 16 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh


 10.00  Welcome & Introductions Dr Jane Morris, Consultant Psychiatrist, Eden Unit, Aberdeen



 10.15  Psychological Impact on Families Dr Joanne Waine, Consultant Clinical Psychologist



 11.00 Coffee/Tea
 11.15 Impact of an Eating Disorder on Siblings Anne Corbett


12.00 Sibling Support Packages To be Confirmed 
 12.45  Lunch and Networking 
 13.45  Eva Musby 
 15.30  Closing Remarks –

Should you require a booking form, please contact our administrator via our contact form.