We are a unique community project because of our strong family base.
Established in 1998, Fresh Start is a community project that has grown organically out of the long-term relationships that have been developed first with the local community of Moulsecoomb and more latterly across East Brighton as a whole. Many years on from the early days of supporting one or two families, Fresh Start now provides a hands-on support network for families and individuals facing challenging circumstances, by offering activities, meals and counselling.
Our founders Jerome and Machelle Joseph have 8 children. The family initially began connecting with local families through playdates after school, which developed into regular gatherings in their home, including a hot meal. It became clear that the group was valuable to the children who came to them, and the impact that it had highlighted a need in the wider community. These gatherings soon outgrew the Joseph's home, and so they rented Moulsecoomb Hall weekly in order to hold a regular community event with hot meal. Eating together has always been an important part of what we do.
In 2004 Jerome and Machelle moved Fresh Start into the building that became our Community Centre. The building is now owned by Thumbprint Foundation with whom we have a special relationship and we are very grateful for their partnership and generosity over the years.
We became a registered charity in 2007, and became Fresh Start Community Association. This, together with the facilities that the Community Centre provided, meant that we were able to develop and offer a range of activities that involved the families and individuals of all ages.
The centre has become a point of connection in the community for individuals and families who often have no other safe place of belonging. Like any place where community is strong, we share food together as well as friendship.
We have many years of experience in empowering families and individuals.
Over the years our experience has shown that individuals who feel socially isolated may be fearful of the agencies that exist to offer support because they feel threatened and are worried about being labelled. At Fresh Start Community Association, we not only offer the support and expertise of our community but also help to provide a bridge to enable access to broader services. Fresh Start has learnt through experience that healthy couples reproduce healthy couples; healthy families reproduce healthy families.
All of our activities are based on evidence-based research and like our governmental and legal systems in the UK, are rooted in Christian thought. They are also shaped by the feedback from those that we work with who are encouraged to contribute their own valuable experiences into the support being offered. The success of our relationship-based projects enables parents to take their position within the family and also equips the children to respect the authority of their parents.
We believe if you build a family you build a community; if you build the communities you build a nation. The importance of the family being together, living together and working together is the model and the foundation that will draw the community in and by demonstration, it will be reproduced.