Thankfully, you, our incredible supporters, rallied around us when we needed you most. Every penny raised and donated has helped us adapt our services so that we can be there for people at the end of a phone call, email or webchat when they are struggling. It’s only with your backing that we’ve been able to keep doing what we do best: supporting people on their journey to recovery.
"Lockdown ending is making me feel scared, anxious and full of unknowns." - Helpline Service user.
"Trying to make sense of the out-patient care my daughter was receiving during a lockdown was difficult. Just hearing other carers’ stories helped me feel I wasn't on my own and I picked up handy tips. The feedback from the Beat facilitator has helped me to grow in my confidence, as I journey alongside my daughter in her recovery." - Solace carer.
"I was referred to my local ED service a week before COVID-19 shut the country down. Like everyone who is currently under lockdown, my life has taken a complete change of direction."
Alex started her recovery journey at the start of the pandemic. This year has disrupted her plans and made sticking to her recovery that much more difficult, but she’s hopeful for the future.
"I for one am willing to risk my own health as well as others' to have that second run or check that shop again for ‘safe foods’. This is not because I don’t care about the population or my loved ones; this is because I am struggling."
Raven had been in recovery for over a year at the start of the pandemic, but the new restrictions still tested her. Being isolated and bombarded with online weight loss content has made it difficult for her to cope.
Dave, a mental health nurse, was just one of the thousands of supporters who decided to raise money for Beat. Here's what he had to say.
"Working as an eating disorders nurse, I’ve seen right on the front line how people affected by these mental health illnesses have struggled during the last year. And at the same time the pandemic has put things into perspective – health, mental and physical, is everything. In January when the national lockdown was announced I decided to commit to pulling on my running shoes for 100 consecutive days to raise money for a charity who I know have supported so many people I work with. The challenge has been tough, but it has given me a real focus and it has helped my own mental and physical health too. The challenge is made easier seeing the money trickle into my fundraising pot for Beat."
As part of the 2.6 Challenge, another supporter, Sarah, sent 26 handwritten letters to people suffering from eating disorders.
And, very bravely, supporter Alisdair went “Bald for Beat”. Find out more about Alisdair’s adventure and his fiancé Charlotte’s moving story here below.
"This past year has floored me with how passionate our supporters have been...we simply couldn't have done it without them." - Emily, Community Fundraising Manager for Beat.
"I’m really proud of how we were able to seamlessly transition from office to remote working, ensuring we were there for our beneficiaries, at a time when they needed us more than ever. We didn’t miss a beat." - Caroline, Director of Services at Beat.
"Sometimes it feels like you’ll never get to the bottom of the queue and you worry about those waiting to get through that they may not get their turn." - Natalie, Digital Volunteer.
Hear more from Natalie, Digital Volunteer.
- Nearly 100 Volunteers recruited to support the increase in demand for our webchat service
- 100s supported our first virtual Eating Disorders Awareness Week
- 320 delegates attended our first virtual Eating Disorders International Conference.
"Looking after a child with an eating disorder is like being part of a dangerous, nasty and toxic club you never wanted membership of. It is all consuming. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about at night before I go to sleep. I honestly do not know what we would have done without Beat…with Beat, you don’t have to sugar coat anything. You don’t have to put on a brave face, and smile, and pick your words carefully for fear of upsetting the person you are talking to. You can just tell them how things are for you. Because you are with people who understand what you are going through, who know what it’s like, and who can listen to you without any judgement and - probably most importantly – without fear." - Solace carer.
"They are there when no one else is there for you. You can call them when you are scared, when you are anxious, when you don’t know what to do and they will listen and give you practical and helpful advice…they get you to stop and think about the things that you can do to support yourself and keep yourself well while you’re going through this gruelling experience. I have absolutely no doubt our daughter would be so much worse now without Beat’s support." - Solace carer.
"We have had minimal contact with other medical professionals due to covid and staff overload shortages in the NHS services. Beat has been my lifeline." - Raising Resilience carer.
"My befriender has gone above and beyond my expectations and she just really seems to understand me." - ShareED Service user.
"Some weeks I felt like I could have walked out of my house, away from my family because I could no longer do this. After my call with my coach, I kept fighting and finding these little green shoots that she taught me to look out for." - Echo carer.
"I wished I had known about this service earlier in my daughter’s treatment. It’s been invaluable. A great source of wisdom and comfort. I would recommend it to everyone looking after someone with an eating disorder, as it’s a very lonely place at times." - Developing Dolphins carer.
"This organisation is a treasure trove of skilled facilitators with a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with any carer." - Raising Resilience carer.
"The Public Health Not Public Shaming campaign is so important, thank you so much for running it and taking a stand. As someone who's been in recovery for two years now, these campaigns always affect me and become another hurdle to overcome. I find it can be difficult to maintain weight in a world that's telling you to shrink." - Campaigner.
"Your Public Health Not Public Shaming campaign encouraging us to contact the Prime Minister was just the thing I needed to see today – a reminder that it's not me who is wrong." - Campaigner.
Nearly 1600 of our supporters wrote to the Prime Minister to raise concerns about the risk anti-obesity campaigns pose to people affected by eating disorders.
"The medical training was really useful, really increased my confidence surrounding talking to people who may present with an eating disorder. I saw a patient recently with an eating disorder and was able to use the skills learnt from this session!" – 4th year medical student.
"I thought it was incredibly valuable and a really important training programme to roll out. I would be very happy to promote this to my university." – 5th year medical student.
"I think that eating disorders are such an important (and often overlooked) topic that needs to be better incorporated into medical education. The ability to practice with the simulated patient and working as a group were both so helpful as it was so nice to get feedback." – 1st year foundation doctor.
"I want to say how fantastic it is that you have chosen binge eating disorder to feature in this campaign. Myself and a few others I know suffer from binge eating and I feel like it’s often overlooked as an eating disorder. Thank you for raising awareness." - Beat supporter.
"I am all for support for all eating disorders because I have struggled with them for a long time but seeing awareness for binge eating disorder is so important to me, especially in a society that judges you on your size." - Beat supporter.
- 32 MPs across a number of parties signed our Early Day Motion for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2021, calling on the Government to ensure people with eating disorders get the treatment they need.
- Our Eating Disorders Awareness Week Campaign video, #YouMightKnowMe, has been viewed over 1.3 million times to date.
Our campaigning work is made possible by the inspirational people who boldly speak out and share their stories. Find out more about how you can get involved.
- 97% of Helpline callers know where to go for more help, support or treatment.
- People who used the Bolster programme, our specialist coaching support for adults experiencing disordered eating behaviours, experienced a 36% decrease in severity of disordered eating behaviours and a 50% decrease in severity of depression.
- Carers receiving our telephone support service, Nexus, experienced a 67% improvement in their own mental health.
- Carers who attended our structured training programme, Raising Resilience, reported a 60% increase in their knowledge of eating disorders, and a 58% increase in confidence supporting their loved one.
- Carers who attended our online peer-support group, Solace, experienced a 124% increase in self-efficacy, and a 140% increase in confidence that recovery is possible.
"Just wanted to say a big thank you to your Helpline team. I called a few weeks back, looking for help for my boy who’s ten...if it wasn't for you I'd still be floundering around hoping he'd grow out of it. So thank you very, very much for pointing me in the right direction." - Helpline Service user.
"I found it so useful and it has improved my relationship with food in ways I couldn't imagine it would." - Bolster Service user.
"The coach was excellent in reminding me of the resources I had and those techniques I could use. I feel more in control than before and able to manage things. Most importantly, I do not keep blaming myself when I make a mistake but see it as a learning opportunity. Thank you." - Nexus Service carer.
"I CANNOT believe such helpful, professional advice is free. Why didn’t I get in touch with Beat sooner?" - Raising Resilience Service carer.
"Over the weeks I have been attending I have built up a fantastic bond with the other parents in the group and the clinical facilitator is amazing. I look forward to Wednesday nights so much, they are my lifeline." - Solace Service carer.
We are so proud of the impact we’ve had this year. At the start of the pandemic, we weren’t sure what the future held for us. But thanks to our supporters, we’ve been able to adapt to an unpredictable and evolving environment and continue to help people affected by eating disorders all over the UK.
As lockdown restrictions start to ease and the long-term impact of the pandemic becomes more apparent, the road ahead is by no means clear. We could never have anticipated the events of the last year or the harm they would do to those we support, from longer waiting times as NHS services are prioritised elsewhere resulting in a lack of access to vital treatment, to people relapsing or developing an eating disorder for the very first time. The effect has been too great to allow a return to “normal”.
With demand for our services at an all-time high, it’s more critical than ever that we keep pursuing our mission, continuing to be there for people that need us and keeping up the fight for meaningful change.
Next year, we want to help even more people than we have helped this year. We want to ensure the governments in each part of the UK set ambitious targets and provide sufficient funding for eating disorders treatment. And we want to dramatically reduce the number of health professionals who are practicing without an adequate understanding of eating disorders.
But we can only do all of this with your help. We are committed to making a real difference for people affected by eating disorders, and no matter how difficult things get, we won’t stop working to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.
- Anthony and Kate Smith
- BBC Children in Need
- City Bridge Trust
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
- Department of Health and Social Care
- Ella Deighton
- The Eastbury Cedar Trust
- The Former EMS
- The Fuller Endowment Fund
- Garfield Weston Foundation
- The Health Foundation
- John Armitage Charitable Trust
- The John Ellerman Foundation
- The Leathersellers' Company Charitable Fund
- The London Community Response Fund
- The Mazars Charitable Trust
- The National Lottery Community Fund
- Oak Foundation
- P F Charitable Trust
- PHJ Wills Charitable Trust
- The Scottish Government
- Schoen Clinic
- Sir Halley Stewart Trust
- Stichting Vogelgezang Foundation
- Stone Family Foundation
- Terra Firmer
- The Upstart Foundation
- The Welsh Government