What is Recovery? Presentation on 6th October

At our next group meeting on 6th October we are having a presentation called “What is Recovery?” by Dr Jane Morris, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Eden Unit, here in Aberdeen, and our very own Lori Noble. Should you wish to attend, please email Irene via our contact form, so that we can have an idea of numbers. Group sharing time will follow the presentation at the usual time.

More online support from Beat


We wish to inform you of new upcoming online support services Beat will be providing in the coming weeks, which may be of interest to our group members, and any other service users and their family/carers looking at our website.

Young Carers Club: Support for young people with a sibling, friend, parent or relative affected by an eating disorder [for under 18’s].

Our Young Carer’s Club online support is for under 18’s with a sibling, friend or other relative who has an eating disorder or is experiencing eating difficulties. This is a four week closed group that provides a space for young people to talk about how they feel and get ideas of how to cope, who can support them and what they can do to help. Each session has an individual theme which the facilitator will help guide through.

These themes will involve: Feelings: Come and introduce yourself and tell us what you would like to get from the Young Carer’s Club; Coping: How to look after yourself when someone you know has an eating disorder; Helping: How to support someone with an eating disorder; Hoping: Looking beyond the eating disorder

· The Young Carers Club starts: October 8th 2014.

· Time: 7pm-8.30pm

· To register: Registration is now open. To register, fill in the registration form found here: http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/get-support/online-services/young-carer-s-club/

· More info: http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/get-support/online-services/young-carer-s-club/

Adult Online Support Groups: Separate support groups for individuals affected and for carers [for over 18’s]:

Online support groups are an accessible alternative to compliment the Beat Network of face to face self help and support groups, they offer a comfortable and supportive environment for discussion between those with an eating disorder, or between carers, families and friends.

We are pleased to announce that we are launching an autumn series of national online support groups for over 18’s alternating between carers and recoverers sessions.

· The next online groups are: October 7th, October 14th and October 21st 2014, between 15.00-16.30.

· To register: If interested in registering email your name and date of birth to [email protected] to receive more information.

· More info: http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/get-support/online-services/online-support-groups/

All Beat’s online services are hosted on a secure platform, in a safe, confidential and supportive environment, and delivered and moderated by Beat staff.

For any questions or queries regarding the online support groups – please contact: [email protected]


An organisation called Charlotte’s Helix has a goal of collecting at least 1,000 DNA samples to add to the AN25K initiative. This initiative has the ambitious goal of collecting 25,000 DNA samples world wide, to try and “crack the code” that makes some people pre-disposed to an eating disorder. This research could open the door to new insights and more effective treatments. If you have ever had a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, you may be able to help. You can read more about the project at www.charlotteshelix.net


Sara Preston, Beat’s Scottish Young Peoples’ Participation Officer has informed us of two new online support services which Beat will be providing in the coming weeks. Here are the details below.

Recovery Club:
Firstly we have our Recovery Club which is a 4 week online programme for young people under 18 throughout England, Scotland and Wales to explore with others, what recovery means to them and to start to identify some steps they would like to take in their recovery. Starting on Monday 1st September and Wednesday 3rd September, more information can be found here: http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/get-support/online-services/recovery-club

We realise that this Recovery Club is for under 18s, but perhaps some of our members who care for someone in this group, might be able to pass this information on to them.

University Support Chat:
We also have an online Live Chat session relating to University on the 12th of September. This is open to young people of all ages throughout the UK, whether going to University for the first time or returning to University.
More info can be found here: http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/get-support/online-services/
To register, individuals can email [email protected] to sign up.

All Beat’s online services are hosted on a secure platform, in a safe, confidential and supportive environment, and delivered and moderated by Beat staff.

Fundraiser at Mackie Academy

At the end of June we were privileged to be the recipients of £900 from a group of pupils at Mackie Academy in Stonehaven. This very generous donation came from sales held by the school pupils’ Fairtrade group. The donation was made in memory of a former pupil, who sadly lost her life to an eating disorder in 2011. A big thank you to all concerned in raising this money.

Chairperson's Report

Chairperson’s Report 28.04.14.

I must begin by thanking all our volunteers for their hard work, support and dedication over the last twelve months. Thank you also to our newest recruits, who have joined us recently, and inspired the theme of my report this year, “Moving Forward – New Challenges”. Lastly I know everyone connected to NEEDS(Scotland) would join me in thanking Irene Kerr, not only for her enthusiasm and hard work over the past year, but also the part she played in supporting the “This is Me” calendar project.

2013 challenged us in different ways, moving into unknown or little known territories. Some of our group members led by two of our former committee members, developed the idea of a Calendar Girls type calendar to raise funds for both ourselves and Body Gossip, a charity who support positive body image. They researched and planned the project, enlisted the help of some other friends and family, and worked exceptionally hard, culminating in a very successful launch night to develop a very popular calendar. The project proved to be very successful, raising £2717.20 which was split equally between Body Gossip and ourselves. Thanks to all concerned, but especially Jacqueline Fulton, for her determination to see the project through and her amazing project management skills. A link with the charity MBEEDS was fostered, and we now welcome their chairman Paul Donald, as a member of NEEDS(Scotland). Paul has already told us a little of MBEEDS work and also his personal story, and we hope his involvement will encourage more males to come along for support.

Another way in which we have been challenged, is to take the massive step of revamping our website to bring it more up to date, and also to make it interactive. We enlisted the help of George Baird our original website designer, and we set about the task. I say we loosely, as George dealt with all things technical. Alison and I set about composing the new pages, and with Stewart Mitchell’s inspirational photos to make the website easy on the eye, and some inspirational quotes, we went “live” in December. I felt like a very proud new mother! The website has brought us a few new group members, allowed us to display information and supportive material, as well as constantly updating news about the group. We also get a weekly report on visitors to our website which is very interesting to follow.

We have continued to be used in Youth Philanthropy projects in more schools. Mackie Academy, Elgin High School, Keith Grammar, and Albyn have all made presentations to their fellow pupils, and Elgin High School managed to gain a second place. Sadly, none of our teams have won yet, but the amount of awareness raising across the whole of the north east has been incredible. We continue to be involved, and a team from Meldrum Academy are currently interested in presenting on our behalf.

Another first for us was being invited to the Scottish Parliament during Eating Disorders Awareness Week in February. I was there, representing NEEDS(Scotland), but two of our new recruits, Paul and Lori were speaking at Friday’s conference, and another new member, who is also a BEAT young ambassador, Katie Bedford, launched a film about eating disorders. Paul also launched a music EP, which Jacqueline was also involved in, highlighting body image.

I spoke at the Carers’ Conference immediately following the Scottish Parliament events, on how our group developed, and the ups and downs along the way. This tied in nicely with our involvement with HEaDSUP, a new carers’ support group which is being launched in Inverness on Thursday May 1st. Both Alison and I have been involved in supporting the new group, and Lori will be speaking on launch night. We wish Headsup all the best with their new venture, and will continue to offer our support as long as is necessary.

Alison, Judith and I have also done presentations at the Eden Unit for their Parents, Partners and Carers group. This has been well received on both occasions by those present, and raised the profile of NEEDS(Scotland) as possibly something they or their loved ones could use as they progress through treatment.

Another first, has been attending Freshers’ Week events at RGU and also a Health Fair at the Altens Campus of North East Scotland College. We regularly attend Aberdeen University’s Freshers’ Week, but it was good to be able to raise our profile at our other further education establishments.

Over the year, we have had Sara Preston formerly a Beat young ambassador, to speak to the group about her role and also tell her personal story. Jac Fulton a committee member, did a short presentation on what helps her with positive body image. As I have said already, Paul spoke about his group, and also another of our group members, Katie Bedford, told her personal story and spoke about her role with Beat.

Our funds are looking fairly healthy after Jac’s mammoth fundraiser. We have also recently been given a £250 donation from The Retired Police Officers’ Board, which was very welcome. The new website and also a new batch of stationery plus a very useful pop up display have also been purchased.

Attendance to the group has been unpredictable as usual. However, we have seen a number of both carers and sufferers becoming fairly regular attenders. We have also seen a number of new attendees lately, both sufferers and carers.

With increased numbers in mind, it is heartening to have more volunteers on board to assist with facilitating. We have lost Stephanie Murray and Laura Hastings, as they concentrate on their studies, and we wish them well with this, and their future careers.

However we have gained five new volunteers. We have met informally to discuss where we want to take the group next, and these ideas are quite exciting. They require research, and careful planning, before we can commit to anything, but it is good to have the support of our professional supervisor, Dr Phil Crockett with these possible new ventures. One idea is an informal “buddy” system, to help particularly with group members who are going through a transition, especially going from in-patient to out-patient, and also finishing treatment. The other idea is to offer e mail support, which will also require technical input.

Together with HEaDSUP, and the new Glasgow group, Gerbera Eating Disorders Support, we hope to encourage Beat, to re-instate training events in Scotland. Training together would encourage us, as volunteers to network and share ideas and aspirations as we already do with our membership of SEDIG and the associated Carers’ Forum.

As we move forward, dipping our toes in more challenging waters, we also commit to continuing to offer what we do best…and that is providing a safe and welcoming place in which to seek and share support for any adult touched by eating disorders.

Heather Cassie

Chairperson NEEDS (Scotland) 28.04.14.


HEaDSUP launches, a new carers support group for the Highland region

We feel very privileged to have been involved in the set up and launch of this group, HEaDSUP, Highland Eating Disorder Support Group. The launch took place on Thursday 1st May, 2014 at the group’s superb venue, Smithton Free Church in Inverness. 16 people attended this inaugural meeting which featured a presentation by Dr Jane Morris, Consultant Psychiatrist at The Eden Unit, Aberdeen, and Lori Noble, volunteer facilitator at NEEDS(Scotland) on the topic of recovery. It was a very insightful presentation, with contributions from both the professional and the recovered sufferer.

The church generously provided the group with refreshments and also two rooms to use for smaller sharing groups. The evening was very successful, with several carers commenting on how delighted they were, that such a group had been launched. There were some who had travelled long distances just for the evening.

We must acknowledge all those involved in the set up and support of this group, especially Lee Cruickshank and her family, who tragically lost her 19 year old son to an eating disorder. She has taken the  courageous step to go forward with this group, with the support of friends, family and professionals. Her strength in the face of such a huge loss is inspirational, and we wish everyone at HEaDSUP all the best with this much needed new venture.

At present, HEaDSUP is a self help group for carers, run and facilitated by volunteers. Any inquiries should be made via their Contact Page. The next meeting will be held from 7pm-9pm  on Thursday 5th June 2014 at Smithton Free Church, Murray Road, Smithton, Inverness IV2 7YU.

Annual General Meeting of NEEDS(Scotland) 28.04.14.

The Annual General Meeting of NEEDS(Scotland) was held at the Macrobin centre on Monday 28th April at 6.30pm. The meeting was attended by several committee members and several new volunteers. We lost three members from the committee this year. Laura Hastings relocated to the West of Scotland to continue her studies at university. Stephanie Murray will be graduating and embarking on a new career, and Jacqueline Fulton is moving on with recovery and life free from an eating disorder. We thank all three ladies for their time, dedication and skills, facilitating and mammoth efforts fundraising, and wish them well for the future. Our office bearers remain in post for another year. We welcome six new volunteers, who we know will provide support, inspiration and, above all hope to those affected in any way by an eating disorder. One of our new volunteers is also Chairperson of MBEEDS(Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Disorder Support(Scotland). We hope that having a male volunteer with experience as a sufferer will encourage any males affected to come along to our monthly support evenings. I also hope that my IT skills will allow me to post the Chairperson’s report, so that all visitors to our website will be able to get an overview of our activities over the past year, but please don’t hold your breath!

Carers’ Forum March 1st 2014

On Saturday 1st March, following a very successful Eating Disorders Awareness Week at the Scottish Parliament, the Carers’ Forum, a branch of SEDIG, (Scottish Eating Disorders Awareness Group) held a conference at The Edinburgh Training  & Conference Venue. Dennis Robertson, MSP opened the conference, and urged everyone to lobby their MSPs to keep the profile of eating disorders high on the agenda at the Scottish Parliament. This was followed by speakers on a wide variety of topics concerning carers, starting with Mrs Susan Ringwood, the Chief Executive of Beat the national eating disorders charity. She spoke about Beat’s philosophy and their 25th anniversary manifesto, in which they make five commitments to people affected by eating disorders. You will find more information about this on Beat’s website, www.b-eat.co.uk. She also spoke about the work of Young Ambassadors encouraging others towards recovery. We are very fortunate to have a Young Ambassador working with us at NEEDS(Scotland).
There were over 50 people attending the conference which also featured a talk by Veronica Kammerling, an experienced Carer and Trainer, on the importance of change. She highlighted many issues which carers face, and also how her family adapted to deal with the diverse needs of two sufferers.
Karen McMahon, a specialist in family based treatment in the treatment of children and adolescents, spoke about working together to tackle Anorexia. She highlighted the importance of the role of families and professionals working together and gave several positive examples of how this can work well. I also spoke about how NEEDS(Scotland) works, its history, and positives and negatives of trying to run such a group. Carers really value such a facility, but it is not always easy to find people who are willing to re-visit the difficult world of eating disorders in order to become facilitators, and we must respect that.
Finally, on a very hopeful and forward thinking note, the launch of a new Carers’ Group in Inverness was announced. A very courageous lady, along with some professionals, family and another carer, have come together to form HeadsUP, which will meet in Smithton Free Church, Inverness on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm. This lady, tragically lost her 19 year old son to an eating disorder, and is launching this group in his memory. Her family felt there was a lack of support for carers in the area. The stresses of living with an eating disorder in your family are magnified so much more if you feel lonely and unsupported. NEEDS(Scotland) wish them well for the Launch Night on May 1st, and will have two volunteers present on the night to support this much needed new venture.


Eating Disorders Awareness Week February 24-28th 2014

The committee of NEEDS(Scotland) were fortunate to be invited to several events organised by the Scottish Parliament for Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Dennis Robertson, MSP, has kept the profile of eating disorders high on the agenda at Holyrood for the last two years, after tragically losing his daughter, Caroline to anorexia, and organised a week of events to raise awareness. There was a reception in Edinburgh Castle on Wednesday 26th Feb where the First Minister, Alex Salmond was able to speak with professionals, recovered sufferers, carers and volunteers. He appeared profoundly moved by what he had heard during the evening.

On Thursday 27th February, at the Scottish Parliament a very informative film featuring three girls who had experience of eating disorders was launched, along with a charity song written by Paul Donald of MBEEDS, Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Support(Scotland) Both will play a significant part in raising awareness amongst young people. You can buy the EP from itunes priced at £3.16.

The week of events culminated on Friday 28th February with a conference “Eating Disorders- The Way Forward”. The conference looked at the current state of affairs in Scotland, and explored how Scotland could move forward in this field. Sessions included The Role of the Media, Fashion, Technology and Social Media, Eating Disorders in Males, Nutrition and Dieticians and Supporting Families and Carers. MSPs from all parties, carers, clinicians, volunteers and those affected by eating disorders attended some very lively and at times very emotionally charged debates. Many different perspectives were explored and views heard.

The events provided a great facility to hear views from all sides of the debate and for invited guests to build contacts and learn from one another. Dennis Robertson urged anyone encountering difficulties with services provided to contact their MSP and make them aware of their situation. You can find out the name of, your MSP  through the Scottish Parliament website, by submitting your postcode.

The debate which took place on 26th February led by Dennis Robertson, MSP on Eating Disorders can be viewed through YouTube, by doing a search using the date and Dennis Robertson, Eating Disorders.