Vote for Freshwinds to win £300!

Galaxy are offering charities the chance to win £300 through their Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund, “supporting warm hearted people and projects”. Each month, £300 will be given to the People’s Choice – the charity who receives the most votes. Click the link below to register your vote and please support us by encouraging friends and family to vote too.

Bro-Sis launch weekly surgery at the POD

The New Year sees the beginning of a joint venture between BRO-SIS and Addaction, who have worked together to organise a weekly surgery for people within the African Caribbean and wider community struggling with substance misuse. Every Monday from 11am-2pm people can drop in to The POD in Nechells ( to receive advice and support with their drug and alcohol problems. This event is one of many organised by BRO-SIS taking place in the New Year, as we continue our work to support positive change in the African Caribbean Community.

New staff – Zakya Jabeen

We are pleased to welcome Zakya Jabeen who is joining Freshwinds as a Graduate Finance Intern. She is looking forward to applying her skills and knowledge to the charity sector.

Zakya Jabeen
Zakya Jabeen

I have recently graduated in Accounting and Finance at The University of Birmingham. After working so hard in my final year, I was adamant on taking at least one year out to recover. But after 6 months, I decided I should ease myself back into the working world and revive some of those old, dusty brain cells. As part of my degree, we learned a lot about how businesses work, how to maximise revenues and how to increase sales. What we did not learn a lot about was the non profit sector. Having previously worked within the voluntary and charity sector, I was opened up to something completely new and intriguing – I was learning how accounting is used to make a difference. This was really compelling and something I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of.

Working at Freshwinds has definitely provided me with a firm foundation of understanding how accounting is used to make a difference. For me, accounting in the classroom is not enough. I want to see how it is brought to life within different businesses, and how important accounting is to the world of business, particularly the non profit sector. I feel Freshwinds is a place for me to do just that and to build on my existing skills and knowledge. I look forward to working with numbers, balancing the books and communicating the language of business.

FIIM Yoga Classes



Following the success of last year’s hatha yoga sessions, FIIM are pleased to be running the course again.  Classes start on 27 February and run for 10 weeks. Click the image above for more information.

Some feedback from previous classes:

  • Thank you very much for your very accepting and encouraging approach
  • Love it!!
  • Thoroughly enjoyed class. Excellent teacher-who meets everyone’s needs
  • Most enjoyable get a real sense of achievement

Freshwinds also offer yoga classes for our clients at a discounted price. For more details please contact Jenny Charlton on 0121 415 6670 or

Freshwinds attend World AIDS Day

On Saturday 1st December, Freshwinds staff attended an evening event at mac, Birmingham in Cannon Hill Park to mark World AIDS day – the international day of remembrance to commemorate the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS.   It was an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those living with HIV and the advances in treatment; educate ourselves with the facts about HIV transmission, testing, treatments & to challenge the stigma; and reflect on the lives affected by HIV, remembering those loved and lost both locally and globally.

The theme in Birmingham this year was ‘Make your Mark’ and encouraged people to think about what World AIDS means to them in 2012. Attendees were invited to get involved by creating personalised patches to be joined together as a quilt for display. Dozens of individuals and groups took part, including some of our own volunteers (see Shella and Sneha’s patches in the gallery below).

The event started with a candlelit procession through the park to the band stand, where time was given for those wishing to speak, read out poetry and to remember those we have loved and lost. The procession continued silently to the lake where floating lanterns were released, despite the water having frozen. The evening finished with a concert of music, dance and poetry by local artists.

The event was particularly special for Freshwinds staff as we saw our CEO, Mohammed Al-Rahim receive an award for HIV Sector Outstanding Contribution. Mohammed is Co-Chair of the Birmingham HIV Partnership and has been involved in the sector for over 20 years. Read more about his involvement here.


Volunteer Spotlight – Kanaga Sivakumar

Kanaga has been volunteering as a web developer for 4 months and is enjoying learning new skills.

Kanaga Sivakumar

After completing my Engineering degree I started my career as web developer. I have had a career break to look after my child. My little one has started full time school and I really want to get back to work, however all of the flexible or part time jobs I have seen advertised are depressing. I don’t necessarily want to go back into what I did before and I do need a change which allows me to balance looking after my kid with a career.

Volunteering as a web developer at Freshwinds has helped me to expose my work to a broader audience, build my confidence, and hone my skills.

I have quickly become part of the friendly and supportive family. I appreciate their flexible timing.

I am developing WordPress websites which is something new to me. I encountered some difficulties initially and solved them one by one with the help of others around me. It’s fun and a great learning experience.

It’s a great pleasure sharing my experience and working in such a friendly environment.


Well done to our amazing volunteers!

On 4th December we celebrated the achievement of all our hard working volunteers and gave certificates and awards to those who made special contributions over the past year.  So much of the brilliant work that we do would not be possible without the valuable support of volunteers, who donate their time to a variety of roles.

The ceremony brought together staff and volunteers from all our projects who enjoyed a slice (or 2!) of cake while congratulating prize-holders.

Thank you to everyone who attended and well done to all our volunteers!

Below is a list of all the prizes awarded:

Best Community Event

Sneha Rajan

Rachel Turley

Emma Loghin

France Quirin

 1 year of volunteering

Leighton Davies

Gill Sheppard

Jacqueline Blakeman

Linda Hanson

Paul Ansorge

Mandy Parker

 2 years of volunteering

Jenny Bleby

Rajveer Tiwana

Jane Card

Martyn Lewis

Samantha Bagshaw

 5 years of volunteering

Robert Buchanan

Margaret Slaney

Rina Begum

Welcome Kieran!

We are pleased to welcome Kieran Flynn to Freshwinds as Graduate Intern for Volunteering and Development, to assist us in the development and growth of Freshwinds.

Kieran Flynn

In the summer of 2011 I graduated from Newcastle University with a degree In History. Since then every time I have told someone what my degree is in I have met with the same response ‘are you going to be a history teacher?’. After finishing studying I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, the only thing I knew for sure was that I was not cut out to be a teacher! To prolong making any real life decisions I decided to go travelling around South America. After five months I returned to Birmingham, from my slight tan you would not have guessed I had been away, but I had changed for now I was eager to begin a career in the third sector. I was delighted to get this job working at Freshwinds, not only because I would be joining such a respected charity with hard working and caring staff but also because I feel that I now have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact.

Buy James Arthur’s new single and support Freshwinds

Confetti explodes into the air; a speechless James Arthur has just been crowned the winner of X Factor 2012 but after countless winners of television talent shows does it really matter to people anymore? Having not watched the show this year the only positive result I saw in James’ victory was being now able to wrestle the remote away from the rest of my family on a Saturday night. What I did not realise was that the Together for Short Lives would be benefiting from the profits of James Arthur’s single and as Freshwinds is a member of this charity our work helping children and their families will also be supported.

Syco will be donating 100% of its profits from the sale of each CD single and download to Together for Short Lives, which is expected to be at least £1 for each CD and 20p for each download. With the money going to such a good cause I was happy to buy the song, I was even happier when I listened to the song and really enjoyed it.  James Arthur’s wholehearted single ‘Impossible’ would be worth buying even if it was not making such a difference in helping charities work to support all those who love and care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

So to answer my own question, James Arthur winning the X Factor does really matter to people! If you want to support Freshwinds, please buy and enjoy ‘Impossible’.

Buy it here.