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Every year one adult in four, along with one child in ten, will have a mental health issue. These conditions can profoundly affect literally millions of lives, affecting the capability of these individuals to make it through the day, to sustain relationships, and to maintain work. 

World Mental Health Day aims to help raise mental health awareness.  At the GEM Project we know how important this is.  Many of our participants either have had or still do suffer with mental health issues, but if supported well, this needn't be a barrier to work.


GEM tips on how to stay mentally healthy at work

It's really important to work with your employer and to talk to them if you think you are struggling with your mental health at work.  It's also really important to stick to your employment arrangements with them, but most employers should be supportive of the following tips:

  1. Take your break – sometimes we all get busy, and it can be tempting to work through lunch, but everyone needs to take a break.  Stick to the time agreed with your employer, but make the most of your break to give your mind and body a break.
  2. Get outside - if you can get outside on your break, do it. The health benefits - mental and physical - of some time in the fresh air are countless and will make you feel refreshed and ready to carry on.
  3. End the day with tomorrow’s to-do list. It’ll help you shut off and refocus for the next day.
  4. Focus on your role – there are lots of things in the workplace that can make you feel uncertain. Focus on your role and skill sets and be proud of delivering.
  5. Trying to stay in control and on top of things at work will be a huge help for you. However, this won't always be the case, so this it's important to be able to ask for help.
  6. Play music — on a headset in your break, on the way to work or on the way home.  Listen to music that relaxes you and helps you to feel at ease.
  7. Get your work–life balance right —  when you're not at work, try to switch off and make time for you and your family and friends, or join a a local interest group.
  8. Have something to look forward to – it is easy to feel stuck in a cycle and it is important to have some non-work events to look forwards to from a meal out to your annual holiday.
  9. Healthy body, healthy mind – ensure that you are well rested and physically healthy.  Issues with concentration, memory or vision maybe related to stress so see a doctor if things change.
  10. Talk – though it may seem like a big step, sharing your feelings or concerns could make a major difference especially if people don’t know you’re suffering. They could offer support in terms of workload or simply help by talking things through.
Supporting World Mental Health Awareness Day: how to stay mentally healthy at work

by Becky Boseley

On Monday 24 September, GEM participants took part in a taster session to learn about the day to day running of Gloucestershire airport. Organised by GEM and Fly2Help, an aviation charity dedicated to bringing the enjoyment of flight to those who may not have had the opportunity to experience it, the day involved learning about the varied employment opportunities available at the airport and enjoying  a short flight in a small aircraft. The day was a great success, with all GEM participants enjoying the experience.

Another four participants attended the day to record the day for GEM publicity purposes and to utilise their marketing skills, from interviewing and reporting to photography and production of case studies after the event. 

GEM participant Keith said that even though he had lots of experience of airports around the world, it was still interesting to learn about the workings of a smaller airport. Fellow participant Jon, who has previous experience flying gliders and light aircraft, wanted to learn more of airport operations and hopes to one day work in an airport.  Other participants also said they’d like to find employment in the airline industry. 

Everyone who went up on a short flight loved the experience and the spectacular views, with some even having a chance to steer the aircraft for a short while. 

Article written by Daryl, GEM participant





GEM participants take flight on airport experience day

by Becky Boseley

We were delighted to be recognised with a mention from Alex Chalk MP in his recent article for The Cheltonian.  In the article, Alex talks about how he is urging local employers to look at the 'overlooked' pool of talent in their local area, including those with disabilities, and highlights the Access to Work Scheme as a great opportunity to support both parties.

  • cheltonian politics

This month with...

Alex Chalk MP for Chettenham

Unlocking the Potential

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk discusses why he is urging employers to look at the 'overlooked' pool of talent that.our town has to offer

This monthat the Queen's Hotel, I heard a speech which knocked my socks offf. It wasn't from a famous politician, a well-known sportsman, or a captain of industry. Nor was it a soaring piece of highfalutin oratory. Instead, it was a quiet, understated address from a young Gloucestershire man who had set up an ice cream business. He called it Adam's Gelatos. What gave the speech added impact was that Adam had achieved his success despite being significantly disabled.

But Adam didn't want pity  He didn't want special treatment. All he wanted was a level playing field to let him show the world what he could do. It was immensely powerful and moving.

I have long been inspired to support people like Adam to fulf il their potential and achieve their dreams. I believe it is society's moral duty.

And Cheltenham is uniquely well placed to discharge that duty. Our town is home to the brilliant National Star College, recently graded as outstanding across all areas by both Ofsted and CQC. St Vincent's and St George's does remarkable work providing a range of care and support services to disabled people. The GEM project is breakindown barriers to work for those struggling with disabilities and mental health issues. GCHQ is a renowned public­ sector leader in this field. And who could forget the incredible Butterfly Garden?

Despite this local expertise, Adam emphasised that some employers are apprehensive about takingon disabled people. Despite noble intentions, they can be nervous about inadvertently saying or doing the wrong thing. But help is available. The Access to Work scheme offers over £20,000 in central government funding to companies to make necessary adjustments when taking on a disabled member of staff The Disability Confident campaign too provides advice to employers on how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Over 5000 employers have signed up.  I would urge local employers to look again at this pool of talent. Let's unlock potential in our disabled community. And let's support the next generation of disabled Gloucestershire entrepreneurs. 


GEM mentioned in article by Alex Chalk MP for The Cheltonian

by Becky Boseley

Members of the GEM Participants' Council recently visited the Houses of Parliament, allowing them to learn how British Parliament works and help them build their skill set and knowledge as a council member. 

Sophia Taylor, the Participants' Council Chair shares her story about their trip. 

"I found the visit insightful and thoroughly enjoyable. As a group, I felt we were looked after by involved officials throughout including our parliament tour guide member, the MP's personal assistant and the MP himself Alex Chalk (Cheltenham Borough). 

Alex and his assistant participated with our afternoon tea and he welcomed questions and concerns from the group. He seemed sympathetic, thoughtful and provided some great advice to us on engaging with people to obtain views. 

The tour itself was both educational and exciting, as it covered British Royal History and modern political procedures which form our lives as we know it today. Personally, I have had little knowledge and interest with history and politics of Britain, however my perspective and understanding has changed and widened thanks to the visit. It provided such great information that not only I can use as a GEM representative, but also on a broader scale. 

Additionally, the House of Commons was part of the tour which was really interesting, especially compared with media and television coverage. We saw MPs passionately debating major issues and expressing concern from their constituencies. Somehow, being at the House of Commons in person and seeing live debates made the whole experience more real and mind opening."

If you would like more information about the Participants' Council or would be interested in joining, please feel free to come along to an induction session. The next one is being held on Thursday 31st May from 10.30am until 12pm at GRCC Offices, Community House, 15 College Green, Gloucester, GL1 2LZ. 

Alternatively, you can get in touch with the Participants' Council by emailing

Our GEM Participant Council Members visit the Houses of Parliament

by Nikki Davies

Have you ever thought about helping individuals move closer towards or into employment? 

The GEM Project is committed to helping people in Gloucestershire who may be finding it difficult to enter or re-enter the world of work and is looking to recruit two Navigator Developer's to continue offering this support. These positions are available through our partners; The Cheltenham Trust and FRP

Our GEM Navigator Developers work directly with individuals signed up to the GEM Project, providing 1:1 support to guide each person throughout their entire journey to help them reach their work related goals. 

For full details about these roles, please visit the following links:

Cheltenham Trust Navigator Developer - Closing date for applications: Friday 1st June

FRP Navigator Developer - Closing date for applications: Friday 25th May 

The GEM Project is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund. 

The GEM Project is recruiting!

by Nikki Davies

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