Supporting teenagers has been the core work of free@last since it’s inception, providing activities, new opportunities and specialised services for those in our community. From surfing to sexual health, creative arts to camping, employment skills to extreme activities, we have had great fun working with hundreds of young people, and seeing them grow and evolve into positive and active members of our community.

One of our favourite projects is the Nechells Young Leaders programme, which aims to expand the minds and opportunities for the young people in Nechells. As well as having workshops with business owners, council leaders and statutory agencies we go to Bulgaria to work with young people who are thrown out of institutional care at 18. FSCI Bulgaria provide a House of Opportunity programme to teach them independent skills, and they also run – HOPe SOAP, which is a social enterprise. (www.fscibulgaria.org/en/social-entrepreneurship). The last group decided to start their own soap business to learn the skills for being more effective when they returned to Bulgaria. Five local business men and women have given their time to work with our young people to start this business. Working closely with FSCI Bulgaria we have kept the same name so that both organisations can benefit and the skills learnt through the business enabled the young leaders to be more effective when they returned to Bulgaria.

Young people are amazing, they are energetic, enthusiastic, have great opinions and want to live positive lives, but it is the duty of adults to guide, nurture and support our youth to take the right paths. free@last is one of many organisations who strive to prepare our young people, a challenge that is becoming more and more difficult. We need the whole of our society to take responsibility for the nurturing of our youth and we hope you will join our journey of change.