We caught up with one of our newest tenant, the not-for-profit supporting children’s mental and physical health, Freedom Foundation.
Two local Nottingham born women, Laura Grant and Stacey Green are the founders of this impressive and necessary organisation. We spoke to Laura about why Freedom Foundation is so important in the modern day, why they became Antenna members, and how they plan to take over the world!
Why did you start Freedom Foundation?
In 2017 Stacey was (and still does) running her successful performing arts school, I was working for a domestic abuse charity. Both working with children and young people but in very different ways. As social media usage was increasing for young people and communication, snapping and whatsapping was on the increase we were seeing how technology usage and social media was impacting on children – the way they saw the world, and the way it saw them. It was having an affect on their confidence, their relationships and we saw an addiction to being on their phones.
We (naively) thought that with our experience we could do something that could support young people, help their mental health and help schools deal with the increased problem of mental health affecting learning.
How important is it that companies such as yours – educating young people, parents and teachers on social media, the internet and mental health – are headed up by women, and lead by women’s voices?
We talk a lot about lived experience, and our focus, knowledge and experience for young people comes from being parents, and with Stacey being a teacher for 28 years. Our passion for our business comes from that lived experience and we see it through our children and the young people Stacey works with every day.
In terms of being women leaders and in the social enterprise sector this is something that is important because together we can change the world eh!
Why is online and social media safety so important, not only for children and young people, but also for parents and teachers?
Because the world is changing so much and we need to keep up. The impact of social media on young people, particularly post pandemic is huge and it will take a while for us to know the true impact.
We have to educate parents better to understand the mental health impact of children (and increasingly younger children) about being on social media and technology. Particularly as parents will be those that have grown up with it themselves (not like us who are of the generation saying “thank goodness we didn’t have that in my day!”).
Parents need to have the knowledge to inform how they can support their children to make good choices about their online usage, and this extends beyond having private accounts.
We need to listen to children and give them the opportunity to explore the impact that all this is having on them, their world and how they absorb information.
What future plans do you have for Freedom Foundation now that you’ve moved into Antenna as a tenant?
World domination! We want to reach more children and families and support their mental and physical well-being.
Why did you decide to become a member at Antenna?
It was important for us to be perceived as professional, and having an address and phone number was a big part of this. It meant for us that we were able to have somewhere else to go away from home.
You joined Antenna as members in 2017, and then virtual tenants in 2018, what made you decide to become tenants this year?
We have grown a lot over the last 18 months and took on our first employees last year, we wanted to give them a ‘home’ and we were taking over the café area – there was nine of us spread out across several tables the other day!
How has Antenna helped Freedom Foundation?
Its given us a place to grow our business, we have been able to have the flexibility to grow. It has given our freelancers, consultants, volunteers, interns a place to work as well as a place to invite customers into. We have been able to have events and training and it was so good to get away from our kitchen tables after COVID. The team in the café area are amazing and all the team – including Tonia and Jo – are part of our Freedom Foundation growth.
The programmes that Freedom Foundation run are for ages 2 all the way up to 25. You can now sign up to the WhatsUp programme which exposes parents to the pros and cons of children using social media, bridging the gap between parent and child.
You can also sign up to the Funky Tots classes – an interactive music and movement program that parents, grandparents and carers can participate in with their child. The main aim of the sessions is to encourage children regardless of race or gender to express themselves through music and song in a “cool and current” way.
Find out more about Freedom Foundation and the fantastic work they do and the services they offer here. If you’d like to work for Freedom Foundation, they are also currently recruiting – find out more about the roles here.