Activities for children with
eating disorders

Activities are important for children with eating disorders. Patients residing at Ellern Mede Ridgeway enjoy a choice of extracurricular and therapeutic activities and hobbies beyond their treatment and education programme. Activities are also offered in the evening and at weekends.

Occupational Therapists assist our Activity Co-ordinators in offering specific opportunities that will encourage patient engagement. Activities are on site and outside in the community.


Young people at Ellern Mede Ridgeway can continue their favourite hobbies where appropriate and available, such as gardening, playing with pets, reading, art, drama, dance and yoga. Staff accompany patients to use local amenities including local stables and a local pet farm. We arrange yoga and dance classes on site as required. Young people can also, with permission, use a bicycle within the grounds. Gardening and planting vegetables or flowers can be enjoyed on site within the Gardening Group. Patients with pet dogs can have their pets brought in by a parent to visit them. One family arranged for their daughter to have her pet Pygmy Hedgehog ‘Henry’ kept on site with her whilst she is an inpatient.

Music, Drama, Arts and Crafts and creative work are part of the Ellern Mede school curriculum as well as part of the varied activity programmes we offer. Patient art is displayed in the Ellern Mede Gallery situated in a public area of the centre.

Our activity room is well stocked with games. Books are provided on the wards. We have a  large multi-use shared area we call the ‘Netflix Room’ as patients like to watch films together there in the evening.

Social outings
Once a month young people are offered a social outing which in recent years have ranged from a visit to the theatre in London, to local shopping malls, and other local attractions including the London Dungeon, the London Zoo and Thorpe Park.

Social eating
Our dietetics team and activity co-ordinators encourage patients to build up their experience of sticking to their meal plan in community restaurants or cafes. This is a weekly outing.

Social snack
Ellern Mede introduced a Social Snack programme for patients who are still too challenged by their illness to participate in social eating in the community. As a first step towards this, patients can take a packed lunch or packed snack to eat out picnic style in the park accompanied by staff.


Pets as therapy
Ellern Mede offers Pet Therapy services including therapy dogs. The Petting Zoo brings us a range of pets for patients to see including reptiles when they come for arranged presentations.

School break activity programmes
When school’s out, for example in the long Summer holidays, Activity Programmes are in full swing for patients at Ellern Mede. For the six weeks of the Summer holidays we fill what used to be school time with activities which are fun, therapeutic and social. This helps patients to practice the life skills they learn in hospital in a more independent setting and in the community.
Events for Summer 2017 have included a visiting magician, a visit from the petting zoo, a Summer art programme, weekly drama workshops, barbecues and outdoor games. Our weekly social outings in and around London included a London bus tour, London Dungeons, London Aquarium, Thorpe Park, visits to the Theatre, shopping trips and social eating outings to local restaurants.