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Support Frimhurst Family House

Frimhurst Family House has a unique history of offering vulnerable families respite from poverty, discrimination and social exclusion. As well as hosting ATD's residential programme, Frimhurst also provides local charity Mustard Seed Autism Trust and comm

What is the problem the project is addressing?

Living in long-term poverty has a devastating impact on families. The stress and anxiety caused by financial difficulties and social stigma can overwhelm parents. Families where a child or adult has a disability can also face social exclusion and discrimination. They are at greater risk of falling into poverty as a result. Many early help services have been cut, leaving many stranded without the support they need. Frimhurst fills a vital gap.

How will this project solve the problem?

Frimhurst Family House is a Victorian manor house with extensive parkland and woods. For many families it is a refuge where they can spend time together away from the stresses of daily life. ATD Fourth World, and local partners Mustard Seed and Frimhurst Enterprises, offer a unique blend of activities and resources to disadvantaged families including family respite breaks, personal and skills development, parental awareness and occupational therapy.

What is the potential long-term impact of this project?

ATD Fourth World's network reaches 200 parents, children and young people affected by poverty. Mustard Seed works with 80+ families living with autism. Frimhurst Enterprises supports a dozen young adults with learning disabilities. Through this work, peer support networks are created, families are kept together, parents receive the support/tools they need, skills are gained and lives are changed. Supporting Frimhurst Family House will enable this important work to continue.

Jun 28 2019

What's been happening at Frimhurst Family House

Gertraud Trivedi

June 2019

The first six months of the year have been full of activity here at Frimhurst. There were Skill Sharing weekends, “LoveFrimhurst” volunteering days for adults where everyone helps maintain Frimhurst's beautiful grounds and gets a chance to learn more about Frimhurst and opportunities to help.

With the introduction of kid-friendly volunteering days, closer links are being forged with local schools, and we have had an enthusiastic response from the young helpers and their parents. As one mother commented: “I was very pleased to discover Frimhurst Family House through one of the mums at my daughter's school. It is not easy to find the right opportunity [for voluntary work] where little children can also take part and contribute.”

It is great to experience such community spirit at Frimhurst!

Getting Away From It … Taking Time Out at Frimhurst

In Spring, we welcomed six women at Frimhurst Family House for a female-only weekend. For all of them, it was a much needed break from the challenges of life in persistent poverty. The tranquil grounds of Frimhurst are conducive to friendship, creativity, and respite. This weekend was no exception. For our guests, it was the perfect opportunity to take a step back from their daily worries and strains, to find some calm and to forget about problems for a couple of days.

Workshops were on offer throughout the stay inspiring the women to unleash their artistic talents. One of them painted a stone for the birthday of someone special, cards were made and offered for Mother’s Day, lavender bags were sewn and given as gifts to take home at the end of their stay, while solitary walks in the park helped spark the poetic genius of one of our visitors.

A retreat to the countryside wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon at a local landmark. On Saturday, the small group visited the National Trust's award-winning site at Dapdune Wharf. There, they climbed aboard a restored barge, learned about the story of the canals and the people who lived and worked on them, and browsed through the bargains of a secondhand bookshop. On Sunday morning, “Frimhurst Spa” opened to the participants’ delight. A pampering session was all the guests needed to celebrate Mother's Day, making a fabulous finish to a delightful time.

One guest summed up her experience at Frimhurst, saying: “I have been shown kindness and value – not something I experience within my usual environment. A very big thank you.”

In a few weeks' time, on Saturday 7th July, we will once again be welcoming families and friends to Frimhurst's annual Family Fun Day, where they can try their hand at art and crafts, participate in village fête games, and spend a few carefree hours in the company of friends.

Events like this help people in persistent poverty to gain new strength to face the constant challenges and hurdles they meet with in their lives. It is thanks to people like you that Frimhurst is able to offer “time out” to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Thank you.


Aug 02 2018

"Busy Summer at Frimhurst Family House"

Bea, Marisha and Anne

This summer, Frimhurst Family House has witnessed of a lot of activities, discussion, debate, and laughter!

We started in June with a skill-sharing weekend.

ATD Fourth World members met at Frimhurst Family House on a lovely sunny evening to begin a weekend of skill-sharing and friendship forming. The weekend ran from Friday evening to Sunday morning, with the aim of teaching young adults new skills that will prove advantageous in both work and everyday life. The tasks included amending the children’s playground, sanding and painting, electrical work, and putting up a new roof for the garden sheds. Each task was distributed out at random, meaning that every group was a different mix of ability, skill, and expertise. This ensured that each person could offer something to the group and the task at hand, developing their communication skills. “The weekend was a good confidence builder for the young people” observed one team member.

Being a residential stay in addition to a skill-sharing weekend, it provides young adults with a short break away from the situations they may be facing and a chance to learn outside of a classroom environment. Of course, the weekend was not entirely work, work, work; the young adults engaged in card and board games, football matches, and they cooked up a storm over the barbeque. These breaks at Frimhurst Family House provides young people with the chance to learn from one another, improve their interpersonal skills, and make new friends along the way. This is made possible thanks to the donations we receive and our fantastic volunteers.

A few weeks later we had our annual Family Fun Day.

More than 80 people travelled to Frimhurst Family House to share a day together.

As one  proud grandfather summed up, “it was such a good day, the Family Fun Day is something I always look forward to. It was nice to be able to share it with my daughter and granddaughter as I had not seen them in a while.”

Children were treated by a game course that included sponge throwing, bucket ball, and croquet, finishing in a “lucky dip”. In the meantime, adults were invited to join a percussion session, art activities, and even watch a live stream of England’s World Cup quarter final match. Toddlers were not forgotten; they had a soft play area, bouncy castle and face painting. Everyone had a great time; the weather was so hot that the cold juice offered by the team and the sponge throwing was a hit!

The day was very enjoyable. My grandchildren loved the face painting and the bouncy castle!”, commented one mother.

During the afternoon, we were treated to a dance demonstration by local children from the Shuffles Dance Group and everyone was invited to join in. Shortly afterwards, Seamus Neville and Moraene Roberts, both long-standing activists of ATD Fourth World, gave a very moving tribute for their dear friend Derek Asker, a friend and fellow anti-poverty campaigner who had recently passed away. Then, Georgina Simmonds, read a poem she had written about beauty. To conclude the day, Julian the Magician impressed everyone with his tricks, and the children were invited to do a lucky dip. Everyone then returned to the bus to enjoy a peaceful and quick journey back to London, reflecting on the great day that they had.

In a few days' time, we will welcome three families for a  much needed respite break. Following this we will be hosting a residential research seminar on "Understanding Poverty". Thanks to you, there is always something happening at Frimhurst Family House!