Due to the huge strain on the NHS, many in need of eating disorder treatment don't get the care they desperately need. Furthermore, those let down by the NHS cannot afford the cost of private care and are left to slip through the cracks untreated. Free Me addresses this significant gap in eating disorder treatment in the UK, providing free and effective treatment.
"Having the support and structure of Sweet Cavanagh enabled me to feel safe in the early stages of my recovery. It is so important to have a routine. For many years, my illness saw me loose interest in doing anything enjoyable. Making jewellery reignited creativity in me that I had suppressed. This social enterprise is so important - not just as a safe environment but also as the provider of free support (something that is few and far between). I am now back in full time work and miss my time there, but am extremely grateful for the support it provided. I feel my experience there is directly relevant to my current ability to work productively and do my job well." Amy, Free Me Graduate
"I am thankful to Sweet Cavanagh for inspiring me to try 'fear foods' (aka 'fun' foods). I never would have done it without your support. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself :-)" Robyn, Free Me Graduate
"Free Me proved to be the best form of therapy that I could have undergone at the time. Immediately I felt welcomed into a safe and nonjudgemental environment where I could talk openly about my past experiences as well as ongoing anxieties. The therapist's encouragement and support helped me realize my own self-worth, enabling to see just how harmful my eating behaviors had become, and their detrimental effects to my physical and mental state. The creative element of Sweet Cavanagh proved to inspire me weekly to continue to make change. After leaving the group each week, I felt like I had achieved something positive in the form of a piece of jewelry, symbolizing the positive progress I was making in recovery from my eating disorder. My jewelry pieces gave me something to be proud over. They served as a positive symbol of change. Additionally, my work gave me a window to talk openly and enthusiastically about my recovery with friends and family. I had always struggled with breaching the subject before hand. Sweet Cavanagh gave me the confidence to breach this topic, helping me develop a more honest relationship with my close friends and family." Katrina, Free Me Graduate
"The group therapy provided at Free Me gave me greater awareness of how negative and punishing my thoughts and behaviours around food really were. I was helped to think differently, put my negative beliefs to the test, and make positive behavioural changes to my mundane, anxiety-ridden routine, which was dominated by calorie consumption and calorie burn. The nutritional input was eyeopening too and really helped me to see how warped my mind had become about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food groups and my diet as a whole - ironic when you consider yourself to be so ‘knowledgeable’ about food! How wrong I was! Being able to make and sell jewellery at Sweet Cavanagh was just a bonus. Making a piece each week was a wonderful way to soothe and focus my mind. However, if I was feeling unmotivated, this was ok too. Perfection didn’t need to apply to the jewellery making. I now have a new hobby, and have bought my own beading kit and made a number of pieces at home. I have given them to friends as birthday presents and a fellow Sweet Cavanagh ‘graduate’ and I even set up our own website. This has been empowering in itself and was such a lovely addition to the services offered at Sweet Cavanagh." Cecilia, Free Me Graduate