The Launch of Umbrella

Umbrella, a new sexual health service for Birmingham and Solihull, was launched on Monday 10 August.

Part of this new service is a great new website from which service users and clients can book appointments and find lots of information, advice and support using the ‘What service do I need’ function, or service finder.

Users of the service can also now order self sampling kits that can be delivered to a home address, a proxy address, or a selection of pharmacies across the city.
Umbrella is run by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and is a free and confidential service.



Umbrella (with strapline) RGB







Freshwinds is proud to be a partner to Umbrella.

Birmingham Changing Futures Together launched

Birmingham Changing Futures Together project was officially launched on Friday 19th June. The project is funded via a national BIG Lottery funded programme, awarded to the collaborative partners of Shelter, SIFA Fireside and Birmingham Mind.

These organisations provide intensive support to individuals who have previously disengaged with services in Birmingham and who have multiple and complex needs across homelessness, mental health, substance misuse and/or offending behaviour.

The service provided focuses predominantly on “hard to reach” individuals. Key to their recovery are the “Experts by Experience”, who attract to the service and support individuals like them through their hardship, tough times, and recovery. The touching video below documents the stories of some of these kind and supportive individuals.

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To read more about the launch, please see the BVSC Article.

Freshwinds Welcomes our EVS Volunteers

We are delighted to welcome to Freshwinds this week Thanh and Yogi, our volunteers engaged through the European Voluntary Service programme. Thanh and Yogi come from Vietnam and Indonesia respectively, and are very keen to engage with English culture and the English humanitarian system.

Thanh and Yogi will be undertaking a variety of voluntary opportunities whilst with Freshwinds. We are greatly looking forward to getting to know them better whilst they are here.

Visit to United Arab Emirates

Mohammed Al-Rahim (Founder, President and CEO) and James Voller (Director of Development, HR and Finance) were delighted to be invited to a number of meetings with colleagues in the United Arab Emirates last week in connection with our Jesoor Al Salaam programmes.

We had some very productive and positive meetings that now should see us shortly setting up an office in Abu Dhabi alongside our new work in Birmingham. This is the beginning of a very long and fruitful relationship with excellent organisations in the UAE.




Sad news of a dearly missed colleague


Freshwinds staff and volunteers are shocked and saddened today to learn that one of our long-standing volunteers, Stuart Hatton, died at the weekend aged 24.

Read More

Food Growing

As part of our Community Health Champions programme, Freshwinds runs several food growing sites throughout Birmingham to encourage the community to get active and engaged with the great outdoors. Spring will soon be upon us, and Freshwinds’ volunteers and staff will be taking advantage of the fair weather to plant more seeds to grow nutritious, organic, and delicious fruit and vegetables.

The project had tremendous success in its pilot last year, with a wide variety of individuals rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in at our food growing sites. Of course, the most exciting part was reaping the rewards, and there was a huge array of vegetables to be had once harvest time came about; from knobbly carrots to tremendous turnips, our volunteers grew the lot!


Some of our volunteers getting stuck in to the knobbly carrots!
Some of our volunteers getting stuck in to the knobbly carrots!

This year we are building up several new locations throughout Birmingham into fantastic food growing sites, and working to get them ready for planting over the summer period.

Success Story: Queen Elizabeth Hospital Site

One of our most improved sites, which we run together with The Conservation Volunteers, is located in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital grounds. The site started out as nothing but a rough patch of land, full of grass, weeds and brambles, however with great efforts from fantastic and dedicated volunteers it has become something in which people of any age and ability are able to grow nutritious, wholesome and fantastic food to take home and share with their friends and family.

QE Site Before
QE Site Before
QE Site After
QE Site After

Of course, there is still a long way to go for the site; our four huge raised beds comprise only around a third of the overall site build, and the sand is only temporary until the site is paved; but it’s a great start!

Our Sites Across Birmingham

The QE site is just one of our sites; Freshwinds has food growing projects throughout Birmingham, and we accept any individuals who want to come on down and get stuck in! We currently have sites based in;

Selly Oak
Bordesley Green
Balsall Heath
Hall Green
Small Heath
Ward End

If you are interested in getting involved with your local food growing project at Freshwinds, or if you have a site that you think we could engage with, please get in touch with David Epps from the Community Health Champions team using the details below:
0121 439 7519

Together for Short Lives chosen as beneficiary for X Factor Winner’s single

We are delighted to announce that Together for Short Lives has once again been chosen as this year’s beneficiary charity for the X Factor Winner’s single.
100% of the profits from the sale of each of the finalists’ CD single, download and streamed song will be donated to the Together for Short Lives charity.

Freshwinds is a member of Together for Short Lives along with many other children’s hospices and services, and we will therefore receive a share of the proceeds in order to continue our invaluable work supporting children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.

Simon Cowell has commented, “I have worked with this charity for many years and I’m delighted that The X Factor winner’s single sales will help families who are going through unthinkably difficult times. Together for Short Lives is such an inspiring and important charity which supports children all over the country. The money we hope to raise will really make a difference.”

Barbara Gelb, CEO of Together for Short Lives added, “Our partnership with The X Factor continues to be transformational. Too many families struggle to cope with their child’s diagnosis and feel isolated and alone, not knowing who to turn to. Working with The X Factor has given Together for Short Lives a unique opportunity to reach out to thousands of families so they know that they are not alone. The money raised through The X Factor winner’s single will make a real difference to local services, like children’s hospices, that deliver incredible care to children and families, helping them to make the most of their precious time together.”

Freshwinds supports children by providing complementary therapies to help reduce pain and relieve side effects of medication. Where funding allows, we run group workshops where children and family members can learn simple techniques to manage the child’s condition at home.

It is so rare in this world that something as simple as buying a single can make such a huge contribution and impact to both our services as well as the services of our partners helping to provide this brilliant support, and we urge you to support this cause in any way possible. The single will be available for download late this Sunday, with the CD available to buy on Wednesday- please buy a copy, gift a copy to your friends and family during this festive period, and help us and our partner organisations to continue our work.

Please click here for more information about Together for Short Lives

Asan Frontier Academy International Study Visit

We were delighted to welcome to Freshwinds this week a delegation from the Asan Frontier Academy in Korea for an international study visit to explore the services that Freshwinds offers, particularly our Integrated Medicine programme and the benefits for our clients. The delegation was accompanied by the mother of a former client of Freshwinds who now lives in Korea and is an advocate for the benefits of Integrated Medicine that she witnessed for her son.

We had a lively and interesting discussion between the delegation and Mohammed Al-Rahim (Founder, President and CEO), Linette Tatton-Brown (Vice-President and Director of Integrated Medicine) and Peter Pritchett (Therapy and Project Coordinator) as part of our commitment to the development of Integrated Medicine.

We were very pleased that the delegation was able to join us and we hope that they left us with some valuable learning that will help them in developing similar services and tackling similar challenges for people in Korea.


Be An Angel – appeal for support from Freshwinds Founder, President and CEO

Come and be an an angel

I would like to ask for your help and assistance.

Over many years, Freshwinds has been able to provide surplus money to fund our in-house Integrated Medicine project which helps thousands of people, both adults and children, living with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses.

With changes in the external economic environment and the increasing needs of the individuals that we help and support, this has become impossible to do and therefore we need your help.

We need £250,000 every year to run this service and we must now rely more on fundraising and donations to support the work of our dedicated medical and therapy staff and volunteers. The many people who come to our service realise how important this therapy and vital support is to them and what a profound impact it makes to their lives.

Very often our clients have found the therapeutic and emotional support has significantly helped them to live and experience life to its full potential regardless to the challenges they face with life-threatening illnesses. Our truly holistic service helps them with many practical problems and other barriers to wellbeing that can occur.

How can you help? Perhaps you know someone who owns or works for a large company who could raise money for us. Maybe you belong to a club or associated who have nominated charities each year. You may want to take on a sponsored personal challenge to raise money yourself. If you want further information on how you can help, you can contact Maureen Webb ( 0121 415 6670. You can also visit our website.

I thank you deeply for all the support you can give to help us help others in your name.

Please come and be an Angel for Freshwinds.

Best wishes and blessings,

Mohammed Al-Rahim
Founder, CEO and President

Lloyds Scholars Video

Lloyds Scholars is a collaboration between Lloyds TSB and leading universities across the UK to provide internships for students. James was a Lloyds scholar and chose to volunteer at Freshwinds: helping to teach basic IT to carers.

Development Alumni and Business Engagement and Creative Media, University of Birmingham have produced an interesting video about the Lloyds Scholars program and have kindly allowed us to show it here:

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Copyright University of Birmingham 2014

You can read more about the Lloyds Scholars program here: