The Freedom Community Project began in September 2008 after the first community week held on Dykes Field in August had identified the needs within the community. Initially we ran a café and food bank on a Tuesday morning. Through conversations with the people who came to the café, we identified the depth of poverty in the area. The project grew as we sought to meet those needs and we became a charity in February 2012.
Freedom works mainly in small post-industrial communities, working with local people to enable them to take steps to tackle any issues they may have either in their own lives and their communities.
Our work is undertaken in some of the highest areas of deprivation and poverty in the country. Two of the areas in which Freedom works in are in the top five per cent of areas for deprivation within the country and five of our areas within the top nine per cent.
The areas suffer from lack of employment and related issues, such as: debt, child poverty, benefits — especially disability benefits, alcohol and drug addiction, mental health, social exclusion, and lack of self-esteem.
Freedom’s success is due to our ethos of journeying with people across the years as we commit ourselves to see them throughout their struggles.
We have no time limit on clients or targets to hit which allows us the freedom to listen to our clients, learn from them and work with them.
Two of the areas in which Freedom works in are in the top five per cent of areas for deprivation
People can access our centres when they need them, no matter who they are, where they are from, or what they have done. Since launching in 2009, Freedom has helped many people in the following areas:
- Food Bank:
- We have handed out over 14,700 food parcels to people, with 60% going to families.
- Over the last five years, we have recovered over £2,800,000 worth of Benefits.
- Over the last three years we have supported people struggling with debts totalling £2,000,000.
- Over the last two years, we have housed 92 people.