Hello friends and supporters!
2017 has been an amazing year for Freedom Unlimited Enterprises, and I’m even daring to say, it’s been a year of miracles. If I told you half of it, I’d have to shoot you! But seriously folks, here are some of our highlights:
The launch of our ‘Seamless Transitions’ prison pilot at HMP Edinburgh which has been a tremendous success. In total, we taught 17 women how to sew, and two are now working with us regularly since they have been released from prison. They both say that this has given them a hope and purpose that they never had before and has played a major part in their rehabilitation.
This project has received further funding from ‘The Volant Trust/Foundation Scotland’, and we will be going back inside to train up another group of keen ladies in 2018.
Our charitable status was approved, and we are delighted to be awarded this.
We received funding from Young Start to begin our “Emotional Wood” project. This gives people who have come through the criminal justice system and opportunity to do live work-experience in our wood workshop. Here they learn many valuable skills and get the time to work on some creative projects to make high-end goods for our customers.
A new partnership with HMP Polmont YOI was forged, and we were able to give a work placement to a day-release prisoner as part of their rehabilitation journey back into the community.
New links with Fife Council and Brag Social Enterprise Network have been fruitful for both sides as we now have a good referral line established to help more people who are keen to be working and rehabilitated.
The Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal opened their doors to Freedom Unlimited, and we have now increased our customer base and product range in the retail market as a result. We are looking forward to their new store opening up in Glasgow next year.
Wellie Wheekers got their moment of fame with the production of our promotional video by Haven Shank. It has been a roaring success and sales of Wellie Wheekers have increased dramatically, especially in the ‘wild west’ of the country where locals are very familiar with the terminology.
‘Awards for all’ Big Lottery fund invested in our “Link to the Clink” project which enabled us to get the workshops fully operational to enable people that we have been working with in prison, come and work with us on release. We are excited to be continuing with that in the new year.
Our biggest challenge and success this year has been the Country Living Christmas Fair at the SEC in Glasgow. This four-day event saw the workshop production levels come up to new levels and we were delighted by how well the staff rose to the challenge. We were also very thankful to Fife Council Business Support team for their support.
We finished the year with a mad rush to finish our final orders of a stunning legacy bench and a bespoke coffee table and then headed off to the local restaurant for our first ever staff Christmas party. A good time was enjoyed by all with much food and laughter. The best quote of the day was “I’ve never been to a work Christmas party before…but then I’ve never worked before so that’s probably got something to do with it!!
And here’s one of the miracles that is still to come; one of the ladies that we work with has never spent Christmas with her daughter in the last 11 years because of her addictions and prison sentences. This year, for the first time, she’ll be with her little girl opening her Christmas presents in person. Now there’s a Christmas Miracle if there ever was one!
What’s ahead for 2018? In January we have another lady being released and coming to work with us and a new Spring range of products will be developed. Sewing classes will resume and much much much more!
Thank you for sharing our journey, and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful year to come in 2018 from everyone in the Freedom Team.