0121 327 5959


Mount Kilimanjaro

12 months ago, on a free at last​ fundraiser (the Oddball Run), Steven Quance​ and I decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world. Little did either of us know the extent of the journey we would travel, or that it would become a journey shared with 6 other amazing people – Nikky Brand,​ Naomi Spencer,​ Nigel Evans​, Alex Evans​, Stuart James​, Ollie Cooper​

Being the lover of mountains that I am, I felt prepared for everything that we were about to face, with my only concern being my reaction to altitude. On arrival at the first camp I had a splitting headache and shivering, thinking the worse that I had altitude sickness and would end my journey here. It turned out to be a shortage of caffeine and a release of adrenaline from finally starting this epic journey.

Everything was going fine until an hour into day 3 when I stepped up onto a boulder, and as I stepped down the other side I landed awkwardly on a smaller stone and went over on my left ankle. I heard 2 cracks and again presumed my challenge was over.

If you know me well, you will know I am very stubborn and with a mind over muscle/matter mentality I walked Pole Pole (slowly slowly) to the next camp. Steve and Stu helped me get my boot off and realised this was not a simple sprain. Nevertheless, I had no intention of turning around and with grit, determination, stubbornness, team support, prayer and an awful lot of ibroprofen, I made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro with my awesome team.

I climb mountains because I love being surrounded by God’s creation, and I climbed Kili to be at over 4000 metres before I’m 50 and to raise funds for free@last. With your continued support we are heading towards an amazing amount of money, to which I am truly thankful.

The things we do at free@last require us to be visionary, committed, passionate and stubborn, which reflects my life on the mountain. But we also need a huge amount of help, which we received from the team and our new G Adventure family. You can still be involved with our Kili experience and sponsor my insane journey of summiting Kilimanjaro with a fractured/broken/sprained foot (the hospital are dealing with any blood clotting first before they unearth the true damage of the ankle).

Please continue to financially support us: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-street-kili

One of our sponsors, Plan {b} Creative has also written a short piece about the climb, have a read here.

Thank you for all you have done. Enjoy the photos and please share this post as much as you can.

John 🙂



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Tresaith Youth Residential

It’s always a great time of the year when we can take our teenagers away on a residential, and this week we had a great time in a beautiful little coastal village in West Wales called Tresaith. We had 5 wonderful volunteers, on their first free@last residential, making it possible for 18 teenagers, aged 11 to 17, to have a fun, relaxing time. We enjoyed time on the beach, surf kayaking, coastline exploring, a day at Oakwood Theme Park, fish & chips on the conk at Tenby and a game of archery tag, amongst many other activities. Our young people are awesome, and we are so proud of them, not just for washing up but all the working together to make this an amazing holiday. Thank you to Sarah, Jille, Titch, Cal & Adam and to all the sponsors for making this possible – you’re all amazing.

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Queens Award for Voluntary Service

free@last is delighted to announce that we are honoured to have received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The tireless work of our team of volunteers, staff and supporters over the past 20 years has been recognised by the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

We will be presented with the Award, by John Crabtree, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, during a ceremony later this year, and as part of the Award proceedings, John & Jan were privileged enough to represent free@last at a recent Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

free@last is passionate about improving the lives of the children and young people in Nechells and we continue to work through the challenges that all voluntary organisations currently face, as well as the many local ones, so that we can provide the necessary support and a breadth of opportunities to broaden horizons and improve futures.

If you would like to become part of our award winning team then please get in touch with us by emailing info@freeatlast.st or calling 0121 327 5959

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Big Build Ball

Our young people had the opportunity to look stunning at our annual Big Build Ball, in aid of raising necessary funds to enable us to continue building the lives of our children and young people, to enable them to live life to the full. Once again it was expertly organised by the amazing Emma Jones from All in All Events, and located at the stunning venue for our 3rd year running. We had some 144 guests, which include 16 young people from Nechells, who’s places and outfits had been bought by some of our supporters. We also had some amazing raffles prizes, a special raffle of a bespoke tailor made suit from Adrian Barrows and a couture dress made by Julia Suzuki. We also had some amazing auction prizes donated from Wasps, Spencer Turner, Steve Saul, the Belfry and Kate Milton Travel; which all contributed to the £6,500 that we raised on the night.

Although this is a fundraiser, we see this more as a thank you to our supporters, who give their time, money and resources so generously throughout the year and to welcome new supporters to the free@last family. This was a fantastic night, which we thank all of you for, and we look forward to next year’s already. Thank you.

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Our Young people are on the telly!

We were approached by the amazing journalist, Peter Wilson, from the BBC, to film a piece about the demise of youth services having an impact on the rise of knife crime. Peter came to one of our youth clubs, where we were giving our new SuperDry clothes that had been donated by the company, and here he chatted with some of our young people and parents.

The short version

The full length version

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Nechells Lions FC v Smethwick FC

What an amazing game with a brilliant team spirit shown throughout the whole match, which showed in the result – we won 7-2!!

Our goal scorers were:

Subhaan x 1

Jahreal x 1

Wail x 1

JJ x 4

The man of the match went to KJ who is usually seen non-stop running around the field, but this time volunteered to be goal keeper and saved so many shots, he was superb.

Well done to everyone, and thank you to everyone who came to support us.

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Youth Club Feast

This week our secondary aged youth club celebrated Black History Month by tasting a variety of Caribbean food. Quite out of the ordinary they put the tables together, sat as a group around a table, shared food and spoke about where the food originated from and different flavours and ingredients used. This gave staff and young people the opportunity to engage with one another and have conversation relating to school, education, family life and hobbies and interests of the young people. Some young people said that it felt ‘weird’ as they don’t sit around the table at home with their families, however they all said that they enjoyed the experience and getting to know the staff and other young people more.


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Nechells Lions FC – Match Report

Fantastic performance today again!! A cup match against Sandwell FC.

First half the boys really worked well together and the passion was amazing, leading 3-2 at half time. Second half they slightly got off track, losing sight of their formation, and were soon drawing 4-4. Just 5 minutes before the end of the game we went behind 4-5 and from out of nowhere, with the last kick of the game (a corner) the away team school an own goal to level us at 5-5. 

If we can finish the game in future as we started this week we will be winning every game.

End result – 5-5 to smethwick FC

Goal scorers:

Kairo x 1

Kj x 2

2 own goals but assisted but Ackmed !!

Man of the match this week goes to JAHREAL!! Great effort even the referee commented on your performance.


Thank you to all the parents/ grandparents/ siblings that came along to support today, a great game helped this week by great weather 🙂



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Nechells Lions FC

Our new Under 11’s football team, Nechells Lions FC, have joined the Sandwell Minor League – playing 9 a side football on a Sunday mornings. We have been generously sponsored by Approved Shopfitting & Interiors (ASI) and FLR Group, enabling us to buy the necessary equipment needed to enter the league.

Our first match was possibly the worst start we could have! It was the first time many of the boys had played together, and some didn’t even know each others’ names. We didn’t know what was expected of us, being our first ever competitive game, and so it was a very steep learning curve. We managed to score 3 goals, but allowed the other team to score 13!

We train on a Tuesday night with the AVFC Kicks programme, at Heartlands Academy, and then separately on a Wednesday. With all the additional hard work and efforts from the coaching and management staff, and the lads themselves, the team have made a massive improvement and the last 3 matches have seen a win, a loss and a draw. Keep an eye out for the weekly match reports.

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Unique Climbing Wall Feature

We are very happy to have our own climbing wall at free@last and this has always been a feature that we’ve included in our plans for the new building. Although we are not a commercial climbing wall we have designed the wall with a couple of unique features that will hopefully entice climbers to come and have a go! At 14 metres high we are one, if not the highest wall in the Midlands, but additionall to this we have a unique indoor training wall – which teaches you how to lead climb (place gear) and set up anchors – and we have the sky climb. At 14 metres high, this thing moves! So if you think you are brave enough, especially after watching this video, then give us a call to book your time slot. Cost is £25 per person for an hour, with hour an hour each side for warm up and warm down on the rest of the wall.


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