Having a central base in St Helier where most of the work of FFLM will operate is essential to the success of the work.
It was therefore with great excitement that on 1 March 2013 Freedom For Life Ministries took ownership of Nelson Hall, Vauxhall Street in St Helier, and has been given permission from the Planning Department for the development of the Life Centre. But we need your help!
We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £200,000 by the States of Jersey from the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund. This enabled us to begin developing the site in November 2014, with the construction work commencing in November 2015. The building has being divided into various spaces for specific uses. The downstairs is an informal drop-in area with a coffee bar and “lounge” feel. The upstairs is a more formal area with admin offices, one-to-one rooms and group work room. Our initial plan was to develop the ground floor and to leave the first floor to a later date. This was largely down to the limited resources. However, due to some further funding being provided, we were able to start developments on the whole building. However, we are not there yet!
In order to see all the developments finished and completed works paid for, we still need to raise in the region of £55,000. We are aware that this is a large amount of money, but we are also aware that all people matter and should be given a chance to rebuild their life in a positive way. FFLM does not minimise the seriousness of a person’s past actions but does believe that each person’s life has value, and everyone has the potential to live life to the full. FFLM want to do all that it can to help people break free from the issues of their past that led them into criminal activity, and help them become contributing members of our Island community. This Centre will facilitate such vital work.
Please help us see this vision become a reality. Thank you.
The Life Centre will be:
- A place of excellence, both in the physical environment and the attitudes of the staff and volunteers of FFLM.
- A place that speaks of the value that is placed upon all who will come through its doors.
- A place that is safe and welcoming.
- A place of fun, friendship and love.
- A place where dreams are re-ignited, hopes restored and lives transformed.
- A place that has an atmosphere of joy and peace.
- A place where stories of positive change become common place.
- A place that addresses the needs of individuals in a holistic way: physical, emotional and spiritual.
- A place that Jersey will be proud of.
What do we see happening at the Life Centre?
Below is just a flavour of what a thriving Life Centre can become:
- A Centre that offers support to ex-prisoners who are wanting to find employment and / or accommodation.
- A Centre that provides life-skills training to empower people to become integrated and contributing members of the community.
- A Centre to host various group work courses as well as individual support sessions.
- A Centre where people can explore the big issues of life.
- A Centre where people can find freedom and healing from past hurts and pain.
- A Centre with a coffee bar to provide a positive alternative to those who want to socialise away from places with alcohol and drugs
The ground floor has been developed into a drop-in facility and social area as an alternative to people socialising in pubs and clubs. The open plan kitchen area will be used for cooking meals prior to group work, and also for teaching life skills for those leaving prison and going into their own accommodation. There will be full disability access and toilets, including a lift to the first floor.
As the photos indicate, progress has been made on the developments and we are now very close to opening. We are in the process of decorating and then it will be a matter of flooring the various areas, as well as finishing off various snags.
The first floor has been developed into various rooms including rooms for small group work, one to one support, and office space. There is also a separate kitchenette area and toilet facilities to allow the first floor to be used independently of the ground floor, if required.
Again, there are various areas of work that need completing prior to opening, but the majority of the building work has been completed.
Attic Space: The last major area of development is the conversion of the attic. Permission has been granted to enable us to use the space for much needed storage. This will not only be for the benefit of FFLM, but more importantly to meet the needs of some of those we support. It can be very frustrating for an individual who is arrested and held in custody, when they have no one on the Island to clear and store their personal belongings. Consequently, for some this means their items are simply disposed of by their landlord, meaning they have to start again when they are released from prison.
FFLM are planning to create secure storage pods to enable some individuals to be able to keep their belongings safely and therefore help them when they settle back into the community. Losing ones possessions can be very distressing and stressful, and so FFLM hope that this service will help relieve such pressure and help to provide a more positive resettlement process.