Freebridge residents at Sutton Lea pull together to make grand gestures to multiple charities
A tight-knit community of Freebridge residents based at our Sutton Lea sheltered scheme in Burnham Market have come together to raise vital funds for a host of charitable organisations.
The group, who mostly live in the 31 properties managed by Freebridge, meet up once a week in their communal area for coffee mornings and other themed events.
That helps them raise more than £100 a month for good causes, which is then donated to their chosen charity of the month.
They have already made donations totalling £2,254.50 to charities such as Crisis, MacMillan Cancer Support and the Tapping House Hospice, with the RNLI, Air Ambulance and Hearing Dogs amongst those they’ll be supporting in 2023.
“All of the money we raise here comes from the weekly coffee mornings,” said Martin Bawden, who is chairman of the group and found himself homeless back in 2019 before Freebridge placed him at Sutton Lea. “When we have an event, we do a raffle and that funds everything we do.
“We’ve given money to so many different charities and organisations. I’m very proud of the people here, we do a lot for others but also look after each other, too.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the other committee members Rowena May and Carol Connor, along the members themselves.”
Martin, who proudly displays letters from the charities the group have donated to on the communal area wall, is equally as chuffed by the way the residents care for each other – including how the ageing population are embracing technology to protect themselves.
“We’ve built this up since lockdown really,” added Martin. “As well as the coffee mornings, we do various other things, like seated exercise.
“We also arrange monthly social events, such as the Platinum Jubilee, Halloween and a big Christmas bash. That’s helped in creating a proper community environment here.
“What I’m most proud of is our WhatsApp group. Most of the residents are a part of it – and that ensures that we are all connected.
“That covers small things like taking somebody to the shops to helping each other make hospital appointments and picking up medication.
“We’ve built such a strong bond as a community. I’ve been very, very fortunate and Freebridge have been brilliant for me – I moved back here before the first lockdown and got made homeless.
“I went into emergency accommodation and supported housing, then got onto the housing register.
“Amazingly, nobody wanted the bungalow I’m now in, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to come here.”