A leading Grimsby service providing dedicated eating disorder support to the people of North East Lincolnshire is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Rharian Fields, run by NAViGO, has provided specialist mental health support to hundreds of local people in its ten-year history.
Initially set up as a twice a week community provision operating from Grimsby’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, the service expanded ten years ago to provide specialist inpatient, day and community support to individuals over 17.5 years of age treating conditions such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and offering up to 24/7 care.
NAViGO outpatient clinical lead Mandy Barker – one of the women behind the idea - explains: “There was clearly an identified need for a specialist eating disorder service but nothing provided locally. So we wanted to change that.
“Not only to make sure that local people get the support they need earlier but to reduce the need for out of area placements and to ensure that individuals can live within the local area close to their family and friends.”
The first class service operates from a bespoke complex providing a safe haven to recover. In contrast to traditional ‘ward’ facilities, Rharian Fields enjoys a craft room, therapeutic kitchen, holistic therapy suite and individually designed ensuite rooms within beautiful and tranquil private gardens.
NAViGO inpatient clinical lead Sarah Heaton explained the importance of a therapeutic environment: “Due to the nature of eating disorder treatment, individuals supported by us are, on average, admitted for three to four months.
“That’s why it’s really important to us that we’ve created a space that is non-clinical – a temporary home away from home.
“As with all of NAViGO’s facilities, it was designed in conjunction with service users to create a homely environment conducive to the treatment and recovery of those with an eating disorder.”
Rharian Fields gained accreditation with the Royal College of Psychiatry within one year of opening and is rated as Outstanding with the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
Ten years on, NAViGO’s associate director of nursing and quality Amanda Simpson reflects on the journey that has resulted in a service that really does make a difference: “I wish I could bottle up what Rharian provides, it is a combination of the relentless passion and care the staff show each day when they turn up for work, the support from a great organisation and innovative leadership.
“As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, I am immensely proud of what we have all achieved - it is testament to NAViGO’s dedication to providing unique services.
“This team continues to inspire me, they continually develop this service to be more patient-centred, more innovative and more caring. As a service leader I could not ask for more.
“We’re determined to continue providing a responsive service to meet the individual needs of the people we serve, eating disorders are a most complex group of conditions that require services to continually adapt and think outside of the box. Our aim is to support people to build a life that is worth living and a life in which they can achieve their greatest potential.”
Since the COVID pandemic, NAViGO’s eating disorder services have seen a marked increase in referrals with lockdown in particular having an impact on young people developing eating disorders or deterioration of those with already diagnosed conditions.
Amanda added: “We have recently introduced a new approach – FREED - for young adults, which focuses on earlier detection of an eating disorder to enable treatment to be implemented sooner with the aim to reduce the devastating effects of an eating disorder.”