First Steps is an award winning charity to support those suffering with eating difficulties and disorders in the East Midlands.
Led by the CEO Cathy Cleary the charity was established by Cathy in 2004. Having suffered with an eating disorder as a teenager she recognised there was a lack of provision in this area.
The First Steps team has grown significantly under Cathy’s leadership to a team of 15. It is also supported by a small army of volunteers who provide their time and support to the charity. The charity provides a wide range of services from one to one peer support, counselling and therapy, befriending services and specific projects such as EDISS (Eating Disorders in Student Services) in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.
The organisation has won several major awards. In 2017 First Steps was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to a UK volunteer group and in 2017 the prestigious Health Service Journal Award in the Supported Self-Care category.
Sarah Loates was a Board Trustee from 2017 to 2019 and provided HR governance and day to day HR support for Cathy and the First Steps management team. In addition to promoting the strategic aims of the charity via the derby business community and social media, Sarah attended monthly board meetings.