Peterborough Eating Disorders charity hopes to help people with food battles

Sue Rattle and Mandy Scott, co-founders of PEDS with (centre) Leonie McCarthy (CEO of PCVS)  at Lincoln Court -  for feature on eating disorders EMN-150606-002125009
Sue Rattle and Mandy Scott, co-founders of PEDS with (centre) Leonie McCarthy (CEO of PCVS) at Lincoln Court - for feature on eating disorders EMN-150606-002125009

A new charity that helps people with eating disorders from Lincolnshire, Rutland, Cambridgeshire and beyond has set itself an ambitious target of creating a respite centre.

Peterborough Eating Disorders, or Peds, was formed by Mandy Scott and Sue Rattle two years ago. They registered as a charity last year and have given up nursing careers to concentrate on helping people with all types of eating disorder.

But at the moment they can only see people for an hour or two at a time, which is less than ideal. They hope to create a respite centre with the help of businesses and organisations across the area to help them help others.

Sue said: “People get thoughts about food and their body shape 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It doesn’t stop.

“They have it every moment of every day. People are battling.

“The thoughts are the last thing to go during the recovery.

“We have to get the families to understand as well. Some people don’t get it, and it’s very hard.”

Mandy added: “The idea of a respite centre is to get the person back on track, but also to give the families a break because they are often at breaking point.”

Both Mandy and Sue have a background dealing with people with eating disorders. They were disappointed with the support available for such people, so decided to set up the charity.

They now work with schools and GPs to offer that support, and have helped people across a wide area around Peterborough. They have also secured actress Michelle Collins, who battled anorexia and bulimia, as a patron.

“The services for eating disorders are really limited nationally,” said Mandy. “We get people coming from all over.

“We also have a focus on helping someone to manage their symptoms outside hospital. We’ve had a maximum of six people go to hospital out of about 100 referrals.”

The charity also works to educate people about the different types of eating disorder that can affect them. Increasing numbers of boys and young men are being diagnosed.

Mandy said: “There is a big focus on being fit. The idea is the more you build your physique the more you achieve in life.

“More is known about supplements that you can take to change your physique. They are a lot more accessible but people take it too far.”

The charity’s ultimate aim is to create the respite centre. But in the short term they want to raise £10,000 to set up an office base, where they can see service users for longer periods. Currently Mandy and Sue are limited to appointments of one hour a week,but people often need longer and more regular sessions.

Mandy and Sue are appealing to businesses, individuals and organisations who might be able to help to come forward and speak to them.

“If we had a centre we could bring people in,” said Mandy. The aim is to keep people out of hospital.

“We need to get the ball rolling. Any ideas from people are welcome.

“We have to take a massive leap of faith. To do this properly we have got to put everything into it.”

The charity works closely with the Peterborough Council For Voluntary Service.

Chief executive officer Leonie McCarthy said: “I cannot commend Mandy and Sue enough for the wonderful work they do for some of Peterborough’s most vulnerable citizens.

“This week is National Volunteers Week and for me Peds epitomises the amazing contribution that individuals are making through giving up their time for no cost or glory but purely to help others in need. They inspire us all and remind us of how many special people we have volunteering and caring in our city.”

If you would like to get involved with Peds and offer time, money or advice, call 01733 391537 or e-mail peds.eatingdisorders@aol.co.uk For more about the charity and how it can support you, visit www.peterboroughedc.co.uk