Birketts boosts local charity Eating Matters with pro-bono support

19 July 2021

One of Eating Matters' six counselling rooms at their new premises, Chalk Hill Cottage. Credit: Eating Matters

Top 100 law firm Birketts has advised on a tenancy lease for the new headquarters of Eating Matters, a charity offering much needed face-to-face counselling to young people and adults with eating disorders.

Thanks to pro-bono legal advice received from Andrea Bailiss and Kristian Nelson from Birketts’ Commercial Property Team, Eating Matters have moved to a new site, Chalk Hill Cottage, based in Norfolk, from which they will be able to continue to provide vital support to those who have seen their mental health impacted by the pandemic.

Established in 1979 and assuming registered charity status in 1991, Eating Matters provides one-to-one counselling for individuals in the West Norfolk, North Norfolk and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney areas. With a team of 19 therapists as well as a number of trainee counsellors and volunteers on hand to offer guidance to those experiencing Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and a range of other eating disorders, the charity is a vital resource for individuals seeking to reclaim their independence.

Yolande Russell, CEO at Eating Matters, commented: “During the past 18 months Eating Matters has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of referrals as people have felt the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health. It became increasingly apparent that when restrictions eased and our counsellors returned to face-to-face counselling, our existing premises would no longer be fit for purpose. Norfolk Community Foundation have supported Eating Matters for many years and with their help, we connected with Birketts. Birketts’ team provided invaluable advice regarding the tenancy lease and we are hugely grateful to Andrea and Kristian whose efforts have helped us to keep providing a service to our clients right up until the day of the move.”

Andrea Bailiss, Solicitor in Birketts’ Commercial Property Team added: “As members of the Norfolk ProHelp Group we are honoured to be able to participate in pro bono initiatives that can make a real difference to the local community. It was a pleasure to be able to help the charity move to a new site and we are pleased that Eating Matters are now carrying on their great work from the new premises.”

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: "We were extremely grateful to Birketts for the support they provided to Eating Matters as a result of the Norfolk ProHelp initiative, matching charities in need of support with businesses wanting to give back to their community. Post COVID-19, we have seen an explosion in interest in people wanting to support their communities, with ProHelp being just one way of getting involved, and are delighted to be able to help unlock business support to enable charities to do more. We are always keen to work with more businesses like Birketts who commit time, energy and funding to helping Norfolk charities continue to be a lifeline for people in our county.”