We kicked off our services in November 2020 when COVID-19 was hitting our community hard. We are now offering support to over 600 people a week, and we can help you too.
Our story so far
FreeShop Crawley started in November 2020, during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by their own personal experiences, a couple of mums got together to offer people a way of receiving help that provided them with pride and dignity.
What makes us different
At FreeShop, we are proud to offer H.O.P.E (Having dignity. Opportunities. Place to call home. Equality and acceptance). We are now offering support to over 600 people a week, can we help you too?
Equality and acceptance
Why did we start FreeShop?
In early 2019, one of our Co-Founders experienced a difficult time financially. Being professionals (a teacher and a policeman), they did not qualify for any additional support. Their eldest daughter had been diagnosed with many allergies, and it was costing a fortune. It became almost impossible to feed her the food that she needed to stay healthy and safe. In addition to this, the looming letters from school about trips, the fear that the children’s feet would grow and new shoes would need to be bought, and having to cancel clubs and dodge activities with friends that cost money were all causing sleepless nights and a world of guilt.
The family reached out to a range of agencies for help, and whilst they were sympathetic, it became apparent that they did not qualify for any support. More and more daily essentials went on credit cards, and there was one consolidation of debt after another, bills piling up, and phone calls being ignored. Finally, things got too much; their mental health and marriage had taken a beating. Exhausted and feeling hopeless, they got advice from a debt management programme, and they finally confided in their family, who, of course, helped and supported them.
They are now doing well, but for so many who share the same story and situation, their ending is not as rosy. Over 100,000 people a year attempt suicide to escape debt. For whatever reason, they have ended up drowning in debt, they are unable to receive financial support, and they saw no way out.
During the last few years, our other Co-Founder, Claire, was a rock for Laura-Jane and their friendship blossomed through the tough times, and they became more like sisters than friends. Claire is passionate that children receive the daily essentials, no matter the financial standing of their parents and wider family. It was out of this friendship that FreeShop was born.
Become a hero
To keep our service running, we rely on the kindness and hard work of volunteers. If you can spare some time, whether that be serving customers, stocking the shelves or shouting about us in your area, get in touch!