Photo of Marissa Pendlebury of Nourishing Routes

Marissa Pendlebury

Marissa Pendlebury is a published Author and founder of Nourishing Routes, with a Masters in Psychology and Nutrition. She says “Evidence suggests that in the UK presently there are approximately 1.6 million persons affected with an eating disorder.

Evidence has also found (Dr Karina Allen Kings College London) that early intervention is key to reducing the recovery time for both patients. It also frees up much-needed resources badly needed for this growing epidemic amongst young females and males.

Who have you helped?

My organisation helps anyone who is having ‘A Less Than Loving Relationship with Food or Body.’

Currently, waiting times can exceed a year depending your postcode, just to access your first professional GP referral appointment. This is due to low NHS resources and investment in to mental health.  Yet eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition.

With this in mind, coupled with my own recovery from Anorexia Nervosa and severe anxiety and depression, including five long NHS in-patient treatments, I set up Nourishing Routes to offer much-needed support, collaborating with existing eating disorder services.

To date, our site averages over 1000 visitors per month. Individuals spend up to and over one hour accessing knowledge for both support and recovery via access to over 100 YouTube inspiring recovery videos, blogs and e-Learning support workshops and material.”

What’s worked?

“Nourishing Routes offers peer-to-peer support for individuals, families and carers; coaching for recovery (1-2-1, group and digital options; professional school speaking in educational institutions (we’ve delivered 35 so far);  and working with Eating Disorder Services in the community.

Of these services, the Peer Support, Recovery Coaching, e-Learning Workshops and the books have worked well.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“It has been a very hard last two years building both the brand, services and income streams.  At times, I felt like quitting and getting a day job but I have had a lot of great support at these times to spur me on this quest and initiative.”

What’s next?

“The plan is to have a centre in every town where persons can drop in while waiting for lengthy referral waiting times, not having to wait.   They can gain access to lots of valuable advice from peer support workers, coaches and professionals.

The centres will tackle both eating disorders and general mental health conditions with therapy available through workshops, Self-Recovery Learning, Creativity and Art Classes together with a Comedy Room dedicated to showing inspiring movies, talks and, of course, learning.

We are currently working in collaboration with Innovation Agency NHS to look at potentially adopting our services within the NHS.  They have paid for me to go on their internal courses to learn about adoption of new innovations for improved mental health care.

This a good first step forward for the organisation.  We also are currently in talks with CCG GP Services, with a meeting with the Directors in early December.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help?

“We currently need professional media marketing and help with the branding and showcasing our services to a much wider audience. We want to establish a much larger footprint in the UK going forward.

We will also need help with building a strong experienced compassionate team when the time comes.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!

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