Help Freshwinds win £6,000 for B-Sage Programme

Freshwinds’ B-Sage Programme, a well-being programme for older adults living in the Birmingham area has registered with the NatWest CommunityForce.

NatWest CommunityForce supports local projects and charities throughout England and Wales.

You can now vote for Freshwinds’ B-Sage project as your favourite project and help us to win £6,000 to support the project

Please register and vote for our B-Sage Programme here:

Prize winner from Birmingham Pride 2011

Following on from the success of Freshwinds’ activities at Pride 2011, the winner of the ‘Ribbons Competition’ was announced.  Freshwinds invited willing participants to guess the number of red commemorative ribbons in the jar to be in with a chance to win a Cocoon massage machine.  The lucky winner was Martin Clayton pictured here receiving his prize with Leslie Navarro (Be Project) and Carol Hebden, Vice President and Director of Support Services.


Freshwinds at Birmingham Gay Pride 2011

Freshwinds showed their continued support for the LGBT community by participating in Birmingham Gay Pride 2011 activities.

Watch the video below to see Freshwinds at Birmingham Gay Pride 2011.


Freshwinds at Birmingham Carnival

Freshwinds recently made a big impact at Birmingham Carnival.  The Bro-Sis team in particular took the opportunity to get involved in the annual event in Handsworth Park by promoting Freshwinds’s range of services and by consulting with the community about their substance misuse concerns and awareness. Over a 100 people gave their opinions about drug misuse in BME communities.  Everyone that took part in the consultation was entered into a free prize draw with a chance to win £50 of Love2Shop vouchers.  The lucky name randomly picked was Peter Nseula from Birmingham pictured below receiving his prize from Freshwinds founder, CEO and president Mohammed Al-Rahim.


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Volunteering Journey: John Connor


My Volunteering Journey with Freshwinds Charity

By John Connor


I first joined Freshwinds Charity as a volunteer in the summer of 2006 and have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Having developed Juvenile Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis as a child, which left me with a severe disability, I have always been extremely anxious and apprehensive about plucking up the courage to join a new organisation as a volunteer. Needless to say I had nothing to worry about, straight away I had a good vibe about the place as the staff were extremely friendly and made me feel very welcome.

Before I knew it I was part of an ever expanding team of volunteers and was placed as an admin assistant in the Freshwinds Information and Disability Advice Service (FInDA), whereby I could utilise my IT skills having previously studied with the Open University.

For a period of 2 years I supported the FinDA team by developing and implementing new databases, designing new standard documents for the advisers to use and designing posters to advertise the service. While undertaking this work, I was also encouraged to further develop my skills and experience by training to become an advice worker. With this I was successfully supported to gain a work based NVQ Level 3 in Advice and Guidance and since then I have become part of the Advice and Welfare Services team in my own right.

I now have my own set of clients and I am responsible for the Grant Application Service, as well as supporting clients to access their statutory entitlements and / or apply for benefits relating to a disability or illness.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and it sure has. I can’t believe 5 years have passed since I began to volunteer at Freshwinds. Not only has the time given me a sense of self-worth within the voluntary sector, but I also feel that I have developed more as a person. During my time at Freshwinds I also feel I have further developed my life skills, in terms of feeling generally more confident in myself and with my ability to socially interact with colleagues, inter-agency personnel and the general public.

In fact, as well as volunteering at Freshwinds I felt motivated about approaching and engaging as a volunteer with another agency called Birmingham Arthritis Resource Centre. After successfully negotiating with managerial personnel, I now offer an Outreach Advice Service through Freshwinds to clients, carers and families of people affected with musculoskeletal conditions.

Volunteering at Freshwinds has also made me feel proud to be part of team and an organisation that provides essential services to members of the public who otherwise may feel vulnerable and isolated from society. Not least of all, I have found volunteering a fantastic way to make new friends and expand my social life. At the moment I feel extremely happy to be a volunteer with Freshwinds and know that I will continue to offer my time as long as I am able too.

Success Story: Linnette

This is Linnette with her Employment Advisor Andre. Linnette was the only lady on our Road to Construction course which took place in January 2011. Through that course she gained a CSCS card, interview techniques training and access to various employers in the construction industry.

With Andre’s help she applied for several jobs within the construction sector and in March she was successful in securing full time employment as a Gate Person with Sisk at the East End Foods Construction site, Aston.

She has gone from strength to strength in confidence and has made a great impression and impact with her colleagues both on the construction site and with external visitors.

An email recently received via her Line Manager stated ‘ A delivery driver sent an email complimenting her on her professionalism and courtesy’

Extravagant Fashion on a shoe string!

In the height of the economic recession with VAT rising and spending at an all time low thousands of women have to economise on their wardrobe choices. There seems to be a new obsession with the term “Vintage” and even the UKs largest fashion retailers are beginning to accept that that second hand fashion is gracing the wardrobes of celebrities and the average Joe alike.

Freshwinds, a Birmingham based charity, are the latest to try the new craze of Swishing which incorporates the vintage theme into an elegant and highfaluting event. Attendees bring along items of clothing, jewellery and accessories they no longer wear in exchange for vouchers. The items are then displayed and guests can browse to their hearts content. At a set time the swish booths open and the exchange begins, shoppers go home with a new style statement they love, whilst supporting their favourite local charity!

The issue with vintage is the potential to look like your Nan rather than a vintage fashion trendsetter and to help reduce this risk more and more independent fashion boutiques are opening their doors to the vintage virgin. Birmingham based, Pam Cheema of Frock on Vintage exhibited her latest lines at the Swish event at The Vaults in the Jewellery Quarter back in January, now through hard work, determination and vintage fashion panache her new collection is on sale with a major High Street retailer in the Bullring.

With the need for a fashion bargain increasing, more and more opportunities for young entrepreneurs are becoming available. To pick up an affordable fashion fix complete with a Vintage fashion show from new Tamworth based designer Elephtheria, come along to the next Swish event at The Vaults, Saturday 17th September from 1.30pm, all in aid of Freshwinds the charity. Who knows we may be seeing Elephtheria in the Bull Ring next year?


Help Birmingham reach 1,000,000 acts of kindness!

A Birmingham project is aiming to record 1,000,000 acts of kindness across the city’s citizens. As their website states:

‘Imagine what Birmingham would look like if there was an outbreak of kindness across OUR city and everyone did a daily act of kindness…’

Now more than ever is there a need for us to demonstrate kindness and generosity towards one another in our communities, neighbourhoods, schools, work place, colleges and universities.

Everyone has the ability to be kind – so we’re challenging everyone in our city to take part in ’1MAK Birmingham’ a year long citywide initiative encouraging people across all sections of the community to make a difference in their communities, work, school or home through practical acts of kindness.

People can log their acts on the website (however small or large) and a tally is being kept of each Ward’s total. You can find out more about the project at

Refugee Week – Freshwinds Commissions Videos

As you may be aware, this week is Refugee Week (20th – 26th June 2011) and this year it is the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention.

To mark this, Freshwinds have commissioned 3 short films featuring 3 different experiences of refugees living here in Birmingham who are accessing our services. The films were produced by Freshwinds Staff with refugees themselves taking the lead on direction and content so they can share their stories with you in the way they felt most comfortable.

They can be accessed here:

Please do spend the time to watch these short films and please do forward this link to anyone who you feel might be interested.

Full story and feature article to follow shortly.

Freshwinds wins Artichoke Design 10th Birthday Competition

Birmingham, 5 May 2011 – Artichoke Design, the creative design and printing company based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarters, is pleased to announce that it has chosen charity Freshwinds as the winner of its birthday card design competition. Artichoke Design, which organised the competition to celebrate its tenth anniversary in business, invited local Birmingham charities to be creative and send in their designs to win a £500 voucher for print.

Also, during last Thursday’s celebratory evening, a raffle for all April customers drew Michele White from Michele White Jewellery as the winner of a new iPad2.

“It’s humbling to see so many customers help celebrate this mile stone with us. Well done Freshwinds for your great design, I hope this prize helps towards all your good work within the community. The card that Freshwinds designed is very creative and the partying Artichokes really tickled us. The number of participating charities and the quality of their work far exceeded our expectations”
– Richard Morris, Co-Founder of Artichoke Designs

Greg Robson, ICT Admin and Support Officer at Freshwinds said “We were delighted to find out we had won the Artichoke Design 10th Birthday Card competition. As a voluntary organisation the print voucher will be very useful in helping us increase awareness of Freshwinds and its services.”
Artichoke Design opened its doors in April 2001, just offering creative design solutions to local businesses. Now ten years on it has expanded its operation to include fast and cost-effective full colour printing services under the umbrella.

Dave Morris said: “We are very excited and proud to share our tenth anniversary celebration with our clients. Our success is due to their continual support and we have clients still with us today that were there in year one.”