OUR STORY 2008 - 2023

Parents & Students Letters

Dear Freedom Road

As far back as I remember I had a social worker, someone from the council looking out for me. I think I had more than 20 social workers in total. I remember the one that took me into care. I didn’t like her at the time, but I have a lot of respect for her now. She did a good job and she explained everything to me really well. My mum had lots of problems and we lived in chaos and the social worker explained that it wasn’t right for me to be with her when she was struggling. I was eight when I was taken into care. I was expected to go and be a normal kid all of sudden and it didn’t feel right. I’d been a carer for my little sister and she was like my baby. I really missed her. It was really hard. My little sister was adopted in the end. They let me be the one to meet her parents and be the one that visits her every year. I know it was the right thing, but even now when I come home from visiting her I feel so sad.

Sometimes everything that was going on in my life made me difficult. Looking back I guess a lot of people were watching out for me from social services and school and stuff. I was a scrappy ginger kid with a temper and I could have easily gone down the wrong path. It was Ian Bolton who got through to me in the end. I was kicking off one day and he talked to me. I will never forget his words. He said: “Dionne you are going to be an amazing person.” I couldn’t believe he would say that to me. It struck a chord with me. Adults change children’s lives. Lots of adults changed my life, but it was that one conversation that helped me see myself differently and change for the better.

I think Ian is amazing and everyone at Freedom Road. I can’t thank you all enough for giving me a chance in life. I have three children and a relationship and I see my mum. I am happy and I honestly think that is because of Freedom Road.

No one can take away the pain, but they can teach you that it’s not your fault and that you are worthwhile. They can give you a chance.

Love, Dionne

Dear Freedom Road

When I was about eight years old I taught myself to smile. I realised that if I smiled at the social workers and the teachers they would stop asking me how I was, so I stood in front of a mirror and practised. I don’t know how many years it was before I had a real chance to smile, but I know it will have been at Freedom Road because that is where my happy memories are from.

In my early life I saw loads of things I can’t forget. My parents were drug addicts. I went through loads of stuff a kid shouldn’t have to. I saw them overdose and survive. I died and was brought back to life after I fell and hit my head in the kitchen. I was climbing up and fell. No one was there to watch me. Luckily my mum did call an ambulance. In the end I was taken into care when I was eight.

I didn’t realise what was happening when I went into care. I didn’t give my mum a hug because I thought she was coming back. I cried for about two weeks and then I taught myself to smile to stop all the questions. I was in care until I was 19.

I can’t remember how old I was when I joined Freedom Road. It changed my life. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be alive if it weren’t for Freedom Road. It was my escape. Another reality that gave me hope; it made me feel alive. I am so grateful. Thank you Freedom Road for everything you did for us and for still being there today.


Dear Freedom Road,

I started coming down ten years ago, when I was 8. I got referred to FRCA through a family member. I needed something to do after school. I needed to stay occupied and it was so fun. I stayed ten years, and I will soon become a volunteer.

I stayed at Freedom Road because it felt like a second home and a second family. It felt good going there because I could express myself more. It helped me become the person I am today through the help I got. They helped me with my confidence.

The most memorable things with Freedom Road have been all the Rock Challenges I have taken part in and all the productions and shows I’ve been in. I loved being in a band and all gigs and festivals we have done.

In the future I want to become a worker at Freedom Road, so I can help others in the way I’ve been helped. I am studying performing arts at college and I also want to become a musical theatre performer on the West End. This is due to the confidence I have gained through FRCA. I hope to finish my performing arts course and go straight to perform in shows.

I know I will continue to develop thanks to FRCA.

Ethan Hobson


My daughter started at Freed Road just over a year ago. At this point in her life she was struggling with mainstream school. She was never really there. Then when Covid arrived, well what can I say? Her mental health deteriorated rapidly. She had not very nice thoughts and she was referred for support. The mental health team got her into Freedom Road. Sasha loves it as she says ‘it feels like a family because they accept me for who I am’.
The past few years have been hard watching my daughter suffer with anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Coming to FRCA keeps her occupied. I am hoping she can be involved with Freedom Road for many years to come because I think they have truly saved my daughter and without their help she would not be here.

Karen Martin

Dear Freedom Road,

I started coming down at the start of 2021. Before that I was at my lowest and I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I had lost all my friends because they turned into bullies. My whole year group bullied me. I had really bad depression and suicidal thoughts. This caused me to have no confidence. I have tics and being bullied caused these to heighten. Then I started Freedom Road and it was the best thing ever. Now I have been at Freedom Road for a year I feel a lot better. It is such an inclusive understanding group. It is one huge family. I hope that in the future I can become a volunteer at Freedom Road so I can help younger ones by becoming a peer mentor. I just want to show how grateful I am because you saved my life.


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