Frimhurst: A Place of Freedom

EricFrimhurst: A Place of Freedom, a new nine-minute film celebrating the work of Frimhurst Family House as a sanctuary where families struggling under the weight of poverty can rebuild their lives in dignity, free from stigma and discrimination, is available to be viewed here.

This film highlights the importance of creating a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment for the whole family away from the day-to-day pressures and anxieties of a life in poverty. It also features the voices of people with first-hand experience of poverty and hears them speak from the heart about why Frimhurst Family House, the setting for all residential aspects of ATD Fourth World's Family Support Programme, is such a unique and important place.

“Surviving a life in poverty is getting harder and harder as government policies become more punitive and divisive,” says parent and ATD Fourth World activist Moraene Roberts. “This creates feelings of fear and insecurity, it drains your energy and can make you ill. Having a place to go to where we are not judged, can dare to trust the people around us and be free to be ourselves is a lifesaver. Frimhurst gives us strength to carry on, knowing we are not alone in our struggles.” Read more...

Made to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Frimhurst Family House, Frimhurst: A Place of Freedom was produced for ATD Fourth World by journalists and film-makers Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita. 

Listening to Families

P1140401 A recent trip to the cinema for a screening of the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake left a friend of mine shocked at the brutal and dehumanising treatment of the title character at the hands of the welfare benefits system. 

However, I know from the experience of families at ATD Fourth World that this grim portrayal can be terrifyingly accurate. This is not simply an issue of having no money; the reality of poverty is far more complex. As one parent recently told me, “I am treated with more dignity by Tesco than I am by the Department for Work and Pensions.” 

Listening to the voices of the poorest families makes it clear that this experience of being ignored and humiliated, so brilliantly portrayed in the film, is all too familiar; parents, children and young people alike will talk of being utterly excluded from financial security and how they feel that they are not recognised as a human being with a contribution to make in their family, their community and beyond. Read more...

It is this ability to focus on the many dimensions of poverty and to insist that to live in poverty is to be denied access to one’s basic human rights that has made ATD Fourth World unique since its earliest days. 

This is an excerpt from the ATD Fourth World Annual Review 2016.

Radical Practice in a Risk-averse Environment 

20160512 150825The article Radical Practice in a Risk-averse Environment: Learning from ATD Fourth World UK has been published by Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work and is available to download here.

Written in collaboration with independent researcher Hannah Blumhardt and Dr Anna Gupta of Royal Holloway, University of London, the article examines how the often inflexible, top-down nature of state child protection policies in Aotearoa New Zealand, coupled with an atmosphere of policing, control and disregard for the impact of poverty, constrain social workers and families alike and undermine the crucial social worker-family relationship that is at the heart of all best practice. Read more...

In contrast, an approach rooted in genuine strengths-based practice that relies on nuanced understandings of poverty, a commitment to advance families’ wishes and a relationship of trust, such as ATD Fourth World's Family Support Programme, offer a different model for working with families experiencing poverty and social exclusion. 

Radical Practice in a Risk-averse Environment leaned heavily on work carried out in the ATD Fourth World Social Worker Training Programme and is the fourth published article to result from this project over the past two and a half years.the words of Kathy, one of the participants, “This project is very important to me because it means I am not invisible anymore; I am recognised as a human being with thoughts, feelings and aspirations. I feel respected. It helps me define myself more positively and feel I have a valuable part to play in society.”

About Us

new logoATD FOURTH WORLD is a human rights-based, anti-poverty organisation with more than 40 years' experience of engaging with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty in the UK.

Working in partnership with people affected by poverty, ATD Fourth World has, since 1968, concentrated its efforts on supporting families and influencing policy through work at Frimhurst Family House in Surrey and our National Centre in London. Read more...

A member of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, we work in more than twenty-five countries throughout Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. We work with affiliated organisations in 90 other countries and have over 100,000 members worldwide.

As part of our commitment to representing people living in poverty at an international level, ATD Fourth World has a permanent delegation at the European Union and holds general consultative status with UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOSOC, the International Labour Organisation and the Council of Europe.

On 17 October 1987, ATD Fourth World was at the root of the laying of a Commemorative Stone honouring the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger on the Parvis des Droits de l'Homme et des Libertes in Paris. Five years later, the United Nations recognised 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and called on all nations to renew their commitment to fighting poverty and to show their solidarity with the poor.

Since then, more than thirty similar Commemorative Stones have already been laid around the world, from the European Parliament in Brussels to the Gardens of the United Nations in New York. Each one bears the words of Joseph Wresinski, the founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World: "Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty."


Read the latest edition of the Giving Poverty a Voice newsletter here (pdf).

Or download the latest annual review (pdf).

Frimhurst Family House

Frimhurst Family House is a fully-modernised Victorian house set in its own extensive woodland and grounds and is, for many families, a refuge where parents and children can spend quality time together away from the stresses of daily life.

As the location for all residential aspects of ATD Fourth World's Family Support Programme, Frimhurst Family House aims to provide families with a setting in which to relax, to spend quality time together, to think clearly, to learn new skills, to meet other families in the same situation and to learn together in a respectful, non-judgemental environment.  Read more...

With residential accommodation for 30 people, a carpentry workshop, an art studio, dining facilities and disabled access, Frimhurst is also available to hire for a variety of purposes, including conferences, group meetings, wedding receptions, children’s parties and private classes.

For more information, contact:
Frimhurst Family House
Guildford Road
Frimley Green,
Surrey GU16 6NU
tel: 01252 835489

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