More than 70 people gathered to celebrate the opening of the new building at Newbridge and reflect on the experiences of our young people and families.

Many young people who have been treated at Newbridge and are now back at home returned with their family to meet old friends and see the new facilities.

The event, on Friday September 6, included three speakers addressing a packed audience in the new classroom.

Newbridge medical director Professor Hubert Lacey was the opening speaker, describing his own journey into eating disorders treatment, where he has spent his whole professional career.

He spoke of how as a young psychiatrist, who was struck by the suffering of people with anorexia, he was motivated to improve services for them. Professor Lacey went on to lead the UK’s largest and renowned unit at St George’s Hospital, London.

Professor Lacey was followed by a 17-year-old speaker, who had been treated at Newbridge House and has been in recovery for more than a year.

She spoke about how she felt coming into Newbridge House, how she engaged with treatment and how her life has been completely transformed now she is in recovery. She had rapturous applause from the audience.

She was followed by the mother and brother of a young person who was treated at Newbridge House. The mother described the experience for a parent – how Newbridge gave her daughter a “launch pad” to live life fully again, but also the challenges of leaving home and moving to university and “letting go” after an eating disorder.

The brother spoke of his experience as a sibling of a young person with an eating disorder. He described the pressure on the family and his response of trying to be the “perfect son” during his sister’s treatment, and the impact this had on him personally.

The honest and insightful accounts of both mother and son were very well received and appreciated.

After the speakers, visiting young people and their families were invited to see the new facilities, guided by staff and current patients.

The new building and enhancements of existing facilities included the creation of three new therapy rooms, two consulting rooms, a new meeting room, an additional lounge and an additional large classroom. Additionally, there was an extension to the kitchen and the dining room.

Rachel Matthews, clinical manager of Newbridge House, said: “We were delighted to see so many young people and their families returning to Newbridge, together with young people currently in treatment and their families.

“The event was all about thanking them for their support during the building work and to celebrate and reflect on the journeys they are making, together with the journey for Newbridge.

“Although of course it was emotional for some returning to Newbridge, it was wonderful to see the joy of many young people in seeing peers and staff once again.”