Freedom Community Project – Appeal for Support
Food Savvy Families & Foodbank
Freedom is a registered grassroots charity that punches far above its weight, achieving UK wide recognition by its partner organisations, communities in need and most lately the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, for the positive impact it consistently delivers.
The organisation’s head office is based in Bolsover, North East Derbyshire with national reach. Freedom's main aims are to:
- help lift people out of deep poverty;
- support the homeless off the streets and into safe, secure, supported accommodation;
- build resilient, connected communities and individuals in socio-economically deprived communities that rank in the top 10% and 20% most deprived nationally (IMD 2019).
OUR MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2022/23
In direct response to the Cost of Living Crisis and the impacts of Covid-19 on our already deprived communities, Freedom focussed on supporting individuals and families escape deep poverty and as a result achieved:
Freedom achieved these incredible results through in-depth Case Work and ongoing support to address the root cause of the issue – not just the symptoms. Freedom builds relationships, takes time to understand each person’s unique background, needs, aspirations for the future and barriers to achieving this and works holistically around the needs of each individual.
ABOUT OUR ORGANISATION AND THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE
At the core of Freedom’s belief is that within every community, no matter the level of disadvantage, there is the solution to the problems people face. Freedom’s work began in 2008 in Bolsover, Derbyshire responding to the sense of hopelessness in the area. People were encouraged to identify what was needed to change their lives and challenged to help design and deliver the solutions. This person-centred participatory approach is the way Freedom still operates.
The charity was registered in 2012 and eleven years on we have 9 face to face and 5 online centres in small pockets of high deprivation (most rank in the top 10% most deprived nationally. Our face to face centres are located across North East Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire and our online clinics are nationwide, each new centre opening as a result of local demand. They are the hubs of the charity where the people who use our services come to alleviate their social isolation at the free drop-in café, to seek help and to commence their journey to recovery.
Freedom’s mission is: To provide support for all who are vulnerable and those on the edge of society. To care for all, no matter of background, colour of skin, religion or sexual preference, listening, supporting and helping each person. To be a place of welcome for all, where nobody is turned away. To work with people in order that they might make a change in their lives, helping themselves out of the situation they are in and moving into a better future for them and their family.
We offer practical and emotional support with complex social issues including addictions and dependencies, debt and financial crisis, benefits claims, food poverty, gaps in essential life skills, poor mental health, abuse and domestic violence, underemployment and unemployment, insecure housing and homelessness.
THE NEED FOR OUR WORK
Last year we succeeded in:
Supporting 190 people struggling with accumulated debts of £4,765,783, a 768% YoY increase in financial gains – up from £549,334 in FY 21/22 and a 252% increase in the number of people supported.Reclaiming £4,034,247 in benefits (273% YoY increase, £1,081,600 in FY 21/22) for 674 people who were entitled to them (563 people the year prior).Resolving 2,575 separate cases (19% YoY increase, 2168 in FY 21/22).Distributing 4083 food parcels to families and individuals.Supporting 296 individuals with 679 ‘food shops’ through our Food Pantry which launched in September 2022 where people can choose the food they need with dignity.Welcoming 3000 people into our free community cafes for food, friendship and warmth.Supporting 287 families and individuals experiencing housing crisis (up from 240 in FY 21/22).Supporting 58 people with mental health issues, 31 of which have accessed our free BACP registered counselling service. Supporting 37 homeless individuals over winter to prevent winter deaths caused by rough sleeping in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and 9 District Local Authorities.Running a family fun day which engaged over 2,500 people, promoted local organisations and strengthened family and community relationships.Providing weekly reading groups for adults who are illiterate, or have learning disabilities.Supporting 30 disadvantaged local families with Christmas presents for their children.Providing clothing, energy and electrical grants to the most vulnerable people within our area.
Our ethos is to be responsive to need and to facilitate local people to support others in their communities; we believe that every community has within it the capacity to transform its environment. We recruit local volunteers, including service users, who are familiar with the area, the people and the issues. They are trained to welcome everybody, put them at ease and to chat over a cup of tea. It is through these regular informal conversations that we consult with the people who use our services; our volunteers are the conduit through which they express need. The activities and services we run have been shaped to resolve them, providing practical help to support service users and empower them to make positive life choices and develop resilience so they can move forward and improve their future. These are delivered by our volunteer team who continue the conversations with our clients to ensure their feedback is incorporated into the operation of our work.
Within our team of 80 volunteers are 15 client support workers plus a BACP registered counsellor. They are augmented by five frontline members of staff: an FCA registered debt advisor and 4 regional client support workers.
How We'll Use the Money Raised
The impacts of Covid-19 and the Cost of Living Crisis has resulted in increased demand across all our services with people seeking help with food, housing and debt crises in particular. This came at the same time when supermarket trolley donations halved as our usual donors felt the effects on their reduced household residual income. The global food shortage has also resulted in a 20% reduction in food provided via our Fareshare membership, forcing us to use approximately £500 per month from our precious reserves to keep up with demand.
Funding raised with Crowdfunder will help to keep our foodbank running by enabling us to buy food and essential household items for inclusion in food parcels as well as covering printing costs of meal ideas that are low-cost, nutritious and delicious! Any additional funding raised above the target will contribute towards the foodbank warehouse rent and insurance and the salary cost of our Foodbank Worker.