I’ve been at Eating Distress North East for just over five months and have spent that time learning about the organisation: the people, the services, and our partners and funders.
As well as me being new in role, we’ve also recently appointed Rachel Cowey as our new Counselling Lead. Rachel has been a counsellor with EDNE and Deputy Counselling Lead, so brings lots of experience and skills to the Lead role.
Following many conversations with staff and the Board of Trustees, I’ve been thinking about where we go from here and have set out some key areas we’re going to be working on over the next 12 months:
Organisational and service development
We’ve outgrown our current base. We need at least three counselling rooms to help us meet the need for specialist eating distress support in our community. We’re actively looking for new premises, so if you know anywhere that might be suitable for a counselling service and charity on a budget – let me know!
Along with the move, we’re going to develop our understanding of the impact of trauma on the people who use our services to ensure our new environment reflects this understanding, and embed this at every stage and in every interaction.
We’re going to explore different ways of developing our future workforce, and invest in our current workforce by reviewing our staff benefits and thinking about what other steps we can take to recruit and retain staff.
We’re going to review our use and understanding of the data we capture and ensure we’re asking the right questions – and know what to do with the answers.
We’re going to develop a Theory of Change for EDNE which clearly states our activities, outputs and outcomes (‘what we do and why’) and helps us articulate our impact.
EDNE produced a new website and branding in 2021 which has given us a strong base.
We’re going to produce a communications strategy, underpinned by our Theory of Change, which is going to strengthen our messaging and help us tell more people about eating distress, its impacts, and our services.
Fundraising and income generation
We’re going to develop our fundraising activities and explore different ways of raising income, all of which will go towards the cost of running our services and help us reach more people who need support with eating distress.
That’s not all…we’re also about to launch a network for VCSE organisations who work with people experiencing eating distress and their loved ones; we’re reviewing our group work with a view to expanding our reach and making services more accessible; and our training and education programme is developing in new and exciting ways.
I’m sure the next 12 months will bring lots of challenges, but I’m really looking forward to working with the EDNE staff team to achieve our aim of being a centre of excellence for eating distress support in the North East.
Anne Fry, Chief Executive