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First Steps ED


First Steps ED is a multi-award winning eating disorder charity based in Derby working further afield supporting individuals and families impacted by disordered eating and disorders. Our NHS England endorsed Befriending service supports individuals over 14 years old or parents/carers looking after a loved one in their important care giving role with twice weekly emails, or once a week video, or weekly telephone support over a 6 month period.

Some, not all of our Befrienders are experts by experience, i.e., have lived with and recovered from their eating disorder and choose befriending to give back to the support they received from First Steps ED. Other Befrienders are parents/carers or professionals working in health, social care or education settings and looking to expand their skills by joining our inclusive team of staff and volunteers.


Derby, Derbyshire, Midlands and further afield

Is the location accessible for those with physical disabilities or limited mobility?


Is the location accessible by public transport?



Could this role be carried out virtually or through a hybrid volunteering model?


Is a criminal record check (DBS) required for this role?


Is a driving license required?


Are expenses covered?

Yes, subsistence and travel expenses will be reimbursed.

What will you be doing?

What skills are required?

Will training be given or available?

Yes, all volunteers at First Steps ED receive our highly renowned on-boarding, induction and ongoing training and supervision support, with a range of options to get more involved in our important work, including paid work alongside being a Befriender with many befrienders also taking advantage of our internal recruitment policy and joining our employed staff team of psychology and counselling and psychotherapists. Other employment opportunities are available including joining our freelance paid staff team.

Additional important information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Could I be a befriender?

If you have a good knowledge of eating disorders and disordered eating, and a genuine care and passion to support those affected, then we would love to hear from you.

I don’t have lived experience, can I still volunteer?

Of course! We have a variety of volunteers with many different experiences and backgrounds. Some have lived experience, some have been a carer/support for a loved one, and some have in-depth academic knowledge through their university course. We also provide extensive training in the form of various CPD and online modules to equip you with the necessary skills.

I work full-time, could I still be a befriender?

Yes! We have many befrienders who work full time and various shift patterns. Befriending can be really flexible to suit you, especially if you opt to support service users over email. All we ask is that you ensure to check your emails within the usual office hours on the day you agree to respond(9am-5pm, Monday to Friday), to ensure any safeguarding issues are responded to promptly, and you are then able to send your response until 9pm that evening.

What kind of commitment is there?

Commitment can vary depending on what you want from the role. The minimum we expect is that you would support one service user with one email or video call per week. As we offer this service for up to 9 months, this would be the minimum length we would require you to support our charity. Per week, this means we require one hour, as well as our mandatory monthly supervision for up to an additional one hour per month.

I’m in recovery – how long do I need to wait before I can support someone else?

Recovery looks different for everyone and your wellbeing comes first. We want to ensure that we are looking after our volunteers as well as our service users. Because of this, we generally ask that you have been in a good place in your recovery for around 1 year. If you’re unsure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your specific circumstances and we can discuss whether it may be suitable for you. Difficult topics are discussed throughout the befriending relationship and we want to ensure that you are in a place to be able to offer this form of support, without making your own recovery more difficult.
If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved and become part of our amazing team, please visit our website or our Befriending service award from the Health Service Journal to make an inquiry please email

APPLY NOW! by visiting

For further information on this opportunity and more please complete this form:

Alternatively email quoting the opportunity number stated below.


Virtual (Home Based)

Volunteer Opportunity No.


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