- Hope in Dark Places
We all have dark times in our lives. They might be caused by the loss of a loved one or a crisis at home or at work. They can leave us feeling lost, fragile and broken. Without the support of others we can struggle to climb out of the deep hole that is created by how we feel. Image that you have multiple issues to deal with, including mental health, addiction, homelessness and money problems. The hole can feel incredibly deep, with little chance of escape. Yet every day I see people offering a helping hand, stepping into the situation. They choose to step down into the hole to help others and give hope. We offer hope when we give a cup of coffee. We offer hope when we bake for a cafe. We offer hope when we sit alongside someone and hear their story or help them fill in a form. We offer hope when we give out food parcels or help someone get a roof over their head.
Providing Hope and Love is the core of all that we do at Freedom. Together we are like shining lights for people struggling with the darkness. The author of the book of John in the Bible wrote “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1v5). Sometimes I can lose sight of the reason why I get so involved with those who need a helping hand. I can get so busy doing all the practical stuff, that I forget why I began this journey with Freedom nine years ago. It is at these times that I need to take stock and see how far Freedom has come. To remember the past and the people who have journeyed alongside me. As we remember those people and their stories, we are reminded of the reason that Freedom is here. It’s here for the next person who comes through our door. To be a light in the darkness, offering hope to the hopeless and love to the unloved. For years, whenever I have been asked to explain about Freedom and its purpose, I have always said freedom does cafes, food banks, reading support, client support etc. Yet what I should have been talking about is how we offer hope in dark places. For that is simply what freedom offers… Hope and Love.
The Freedom Café is a café with tea, coffee, squash, biscuits, and cakes that are all free. The aim of the Freedom Café is for it to be a place where people can come, rest and relax without having to think about the cost. We also aim to provide a listening ear for people who are in need, giving them the time to share.
Bolsover Food Bank aims to support those in Bolsover town and the surrounding area. The program will provide a parcel of food for people who are in need. The only criteria for accessing the service is that the person is or could struggle to provide food for themselves and/or their family.
Freedom Community Week:
The aim of the Community Week is to provide a week of free activities. The week is focused on people for whom money is tight and have to holiday at home. Freedom Community Week provides activities that all ages can enjoy.
Reading support provides support for adults who currently cannot read. The team of volunteers offers one to one support. The course is about enabling people to reach a standard so that they can participate in the Adult learning courses.
Free Internet Access:
Freedom Community Project provides free access to the internet for all so that those on the edge of society might be able to access the benefits of the internet including low-cost holidays, payment of bills, job searching and communication with friends/relatives.
In partnership with 2 shires Union, each centre runs a credit union where people can open a Savings account, Christmas and Holiday Saving accounts, loans and emergency loans. A person can save as little as a £1 a week in their accounts.
One of our main areas of support is one to one care for people with who are struggling with multiple issues. These issues could range from benefits problems, self-esteem, debt, all the way to homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues. The service is run by a trained team who help each individual through their problems. The key focus of the team is to walk with people through the issue.
Days/Half Days out
The Freedom Community Project provides one family day out and two half days out for people on a low income each year. This brings the families together and gives them a break from their normal routine. It is also believed that this will build up the self-esteem of the local community.
Grow Your Own
In Partnership with Old Bolsover Town Council, the Project also runs an allotment to support and encourage people to grow their own fruit and vegetables. The aim is to build peoples self-confidence.
The project offers two grant opportunities for people. The first is an electrical grant which is awarded to people if they cannot gain a loan from the Credit Union to buy essential items like a cooker or a fridge. We also run a clothing grant which allows people access free clothes from one of our Charity Shops.
Debt Advice Service:
We provide an FCA regulated Debt Advice Service for anyone who needs help with financial issues. The service is run by a fully qualified Money Advisor who supports each individual through their problems.
Freedom to move on:
In Partnership with Bolsover District Council, we provide housing support to people across the Bolsover District. The people who access this service would other wise be homelessness. The program provides a bond for a house and support from one of our team for the first year of their tenancy. After this, on going support is provided at our centres.