We began with a vision, a dream that saw the people of an impoverished and neglected inner-city community being set free from all that stopped them realizing and reaching their full potential in life.

We are committed to providing opportunities, activities, mentoring and support for children and young people in Nechells, and to further their interests by working with their families, other agencies and the community as a whole.

  • 19981998SUPPORT GROUP CREATED

    Development of a support group for dads and an attempt at a community musical performance called Hopes & Dreams.
  • 19991999FREE@LAST WAS ESTABLISHED

    free@last was established to develop and structure our work and was finally registered as a charity in December 1999 and a limited company in 2003.

free@last is committed to providing
opportunities, activities, mentoring and support
for children and young people in Nechells, and to
further their interests by working with their
families, other agencies and relevant
professionals.

AIMS

To engage children and young people in a range of developmental and progressive activities which provide opportunities for success and to broaden their horizons.
To support children and young people through life’s challenges and difficulties.
To support their families to provide the best possible environment for their children to grow, develop and flourish.
To take a multi-agency approach to improving the lives of children and young people.

THE FUTURE

Our journey over the past few years has seen the need for our own youth facility evolve into a brand new youth and community centre. But this new place is not just a building, it is a beacon of hope and aspiration for the people of Nechells. Our aim is to provide a facility that is open to all who live and work in Nechells, regardless of age, race, religion, culture, lifestyle etc., but we don’t just want a building to run projects from, we want to be a centre for change. Whether encouraging young people to explore entrepreneurialism, developing cross generational clubs and performance groups or exploring a world outside Nechells, our Big Build is now focused on building peoples’ lives and enabling each and every person, who invites us to become involved with their lives, to live life to the full.

THE TEAM

AllVolunteersTrusteesStaffFamily Fun Zone
Founder & Director

John Street

Finance & Admin

Jan Street

Trustees

Rachel McKoy

Volunteer

Stuart James

Trustees

John Moore

Volunteer

Bill Terry

Trustees

Spencer Turner

Trustees

Melissa Shervington

Volunteer

Pam Collins

Debt & Benefit Advisor

Yousef Behfar

Youth Worker

Abi Delaney

Housekeeping

Steve Gause

Housekeeping

Lisa Horton

Fundraising

Adam Irvine

Fundraising

Christi Quinn

Volunteer

Katie McCormack

Cafe

Devine Warrican

Climbing Wall

Alex Evans

Youth Work

Jonny Jones

Volunteer

Laura McCormack

Volunteer

Yun Fang Chen

Volunteer

Peter Adkins

Volunteer

Bex Marsh

Volunteer

Alan Brown

Tanjila Ahmad

Tom O’Brien

Mohammed Usman

Amaan Rahman

Abeda Rahman

Founder & Director

John Street

John is the founder and director of free@last. He lives in Nechells with Jan and their 4 children and has been delivering youth work in this community for over 30 years. John is passionate about improving the lives of children and young people and his strategic mind and Godly heart enable a powerful approach to fulfilling his life’s purpose of eradicating child poverty in Nechells.

As well as truly understanding the world of charities and voluntary organisations, John also started and runs our businesses, and his skills in this area help towards our long term aim of sustaining the charity through our own income generation. He is also passionate about bringing all 3 sectors together and together bringing prosperity and opportunity to our community.

For relaxation John loves nothing more than being on top of a mountain and participating in all things adventurous and extreme. He is a published author and enjoys using his creativity in a wide variety of situations and circumstances. John was listed in the Independent newspapers ‘Happy List’ in 2013 for being one of top 100 happiest people in the country for helping others and he loves nothing more than putting a smile on other peoples’ faces.

Finance & Admin

Jan Street

I have been involved with free@last right from the beginning, mainly working behind the scenes doing finance and admin and occasionally helping with youth clubs and residentials when required. I really enjoy seeing people from Nechells being helped by free@last and look forward to helping many more in the future.

Trustees

Rachel McKoy

Rachel is very involved with the youth at her local church, Nechells Outreach Centre.

Naturally entrepreneurial, Rachel is a cake artist and owns her own business where she bakes and decorates celebration cakes to order.

Rachel is a qualified secondary school teacher, her subject is Design & Technology (DT) Some of her best moments in school are outside the classroom in a pastoral role.

Rachel has a passion for young people and is excited to be a part of an organisation that has young people at their heart.

Volunteer

Stuart James

An amazing benefit of joining BNI in the Birmingham region for me has been finding free@last!

A truly fabulous charity led by a great group of individuals – and people I proudly class as friends.

As a photographer and videographer, I’m always happy to capture any event and help in the promotion of the charity, but if I can take my years of business and skills in the industry and help inspire the young people of Nechells, I am happy to give as much time as I can.

Trustees

John Moore

John has a background in working youth organisations both in Essex with a middle-class youth project and in Aston working with inner-city and underprivileged young people. John has a real passion to see young people achieve their full potential. As a trustee of free@last John is using his financial skills as an accountant to give something back to this worthwhile project.

Volunteer

Bill Terry

I’m Bill and I serve on reception at free@last, and also in a John Taylor Hospice shop in Wylde Green. I enjoy walks, the countryside and driving around the country in a camperrvan, visiting as many different places that I can.

Trustees

Spencer Turner

Born in 1966, Spencer owns and runs Approved Shopfitting Interiors based in Aldridge. Married to Nikki with two daughters, Sarah and Sophie, and two grandchildren Harlan and Ruben. I love golf, Aston Villa and entertaining, I enjoy working with free@last and I want to try to make an impact on the eradication of child poverty in Nechells.

Trustees

Melissa Shervington

Melissa has a background in youth engagement and has always had a passion for young people. Growing up in an inner city area herself, with a strong emphasis on community, Melissa she believes in ‘walking the walk’ and being able to demonstrate to young people that regardless of circumstances, they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Being a trustee at free@last, Melissa is keen to have a strategic involvement with a collective goal to eradicate child poverty in Nechells and beyond.

Volunteer

Pam Collins

Having been fortunate to have had a really happy childhood, I think it’s really important to “giveback” and the children at free@last t are lovely!

Every child has so much potential and it is so rewarding to see them grow in confidence. It’s a great positive environment and helps them to think bigger and believe that all things are possible.

Debt & Benefit Advisor

Yousef Behfar

I’m Yousef and have worked for free@last since 2008 as a Debt and Welfare Benefit Caseworker Advisor. I would like to think that I am helping people to have better life with less financial stress. I also look after our little garden areas around the building, which I really enjoy.

Youth Worker

Abi Delaney

My name is Abi and I definitely do not like marmite! If you asked my family how to describe me they would say I’m fun to be around and that I care very much about other people. I believe I’m a good listener so I love working with children and young people as they have so much to say. If I only had 24 hours left on this beautiful planet I would spend it in the outdoors near water or do a final performance as I am also a singer. I have committed the last 14 years of my life to support people to realise their potential and I plan to spend the next 40 years doing the same. I like custard crèmes so please remember to bring a pack with you when you come to see me.

Housekeeping

Steve Gause

Hi, I’m Steve and I’ve been working at free@last for 4 years now, and the best time for me was through Covid, when handing out the food to the community and putting smiles on the families faces, this was a tough time for everyone, but we got through together. I enjoy fishing, especially the family fishing trips we do and DIY.

Housekeeping

Lisa Horton

Hi, my name is Lisa and I work at free@last in the housekeeping department. The team here have built my confidence whilst I’ve been working here, and I am like a new person. I enjoy spending time with family, particularly our doing fun stuff with our daughter.

Fundraising

Adam Irvine

I’m Adam, the Fundraising Manager at free@last.

I work in generating the funds to be able to provide the residents of Nechells with real, life-changing provisions and opportunities.

A keen and well-rounded sportsman (body shape, not ability), I enjoy playing rugby, golf, and getting out in a kayak when time (and water temperature!) allows!

Fundraising

Christi Quinn

Hi my names Christi and I have been a fundraiser at free@last for the last couple of months. I have a degree in politics and one day I hope to be prime Minister.

Volunteer

Katie McCormack

I’ve been involved with free@last for many years and love being part of the free@last family. Although some people think my main like is talking, but I really enjoy seeing the children, young people and families having a great time at the clubs, activities and residentials. I like outdoors activities, organising the parents committee, and seeing my children have fun. I also like supporting our cafe, all day every day 🙂

Cafe

Devine Warrican

Hi, I’m Devine and I work in the Cafe. I live in Nechells and love me community, and I love talking to our customers and making them feel happy, as well as fun!

Climbing Wall

Alex Evans

I’m Alex and I climb, I survey, I climb, I exercise, my temple is my body, I climb.

Youth Work

Jonny Jones

Hi, my names Jonny and I’m the Senior Youth Worker at free@last. I’ve been working with Young People for over 20 years, many of those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. I believe every Young Person has the right to the same opportunities to succeed in life and to feel safe. Here at free@last we work hard as a team so to bridge the inequality gap and enable Young People to recognise and achieve their true potential through a wide variety of opportunities in a safe environment.

Volunteer

Laura McCormack

Hi, I’m Laura, I love experiencing new opportunities with our children at free@last and I help in the primary clubs, the cafe and on reception. I’ve done some childcare qualifications at free@last and am now gaining my workplace experience at a local school.

Volunteer

Yun Fang Chen

Hi, my name is Yun Fang Chen. I am a mother of three daughters and I have lived in Nechells for over 8 years now. I have joined free@last to help support others in our community, especially families who speak English as a second language, like myself.

Volunteer

Peter Adkins

Peter is Birmingham born and bred, a local solicitor, who, as he puts it, is at the ‘other end’ of his career. He is enthusiastic about helping those in inner city Birmingham who need help of any kind.

Volunteer

Bex Marsh

I am Bex, I volunteer for free@last supporting the growth of Club 3000 by on-boarding new members, arranging our social events and various other initiatives to support us becoming a self sufficient charity. In my day job I work in construction and I’m a solo mummy to the most wonderful 3 year old. free@last is a wonderful charity and I am truly passionate about giving back to my home city.

Volunteer

Alan Brown

Originally from Essex I moved up two years ago and was introduced to free@last by a mutual friend of John’s. I’m now the Club 3000 Growth Coordinator responsible for growing the  Club 3000 membership base. All referrals and leads greatly welcomed and appreciated!!

Tanjila Ahmad

I’ve been working at Family Funzone for nearly 2 years. I am also currently studying a masters in MSc International Development!

Tom O’Brien

Tom is passionate about creating a better world for young people.  Last year, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, which has campaigned for and influenced fairer laws since 1754. As a copywriter, he promotes businesses who are all positively impacting their communities.  

Mohammed Usman

Hi, my name is Mohammed Usman and I am 21 years old. I started working at Family Fun Zone in 2018. I really enjoy working with my team and instructing customers with their activities. My personal favourite activity is archery. Family Fun Zone is a great place for children and adults to visit and enjoy themselves.

Amaan Rahman

My names Amaan and I am recent accounting and finance graduate that has been with free@last for over 5 years. Living in Nechells it has been amazing to see the opportunities that free@last has been able to offer to the community and I look forward to what the future brings for the charity.

Abeda Rahman

My name is Abeda. I’m 18 years old and currently studying at college. I recently joined the Fun Zone, which has already been an amazing opportunity and I’m looking forward to gaining many more experiences with such an amazing team.

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