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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

Ever wondered what the role of the GEM Navigator Developers is?

Ione from Young Gloucestershire explains her role and how this programme can help support people across Gloucestershire who are looking to get back into work. 




Discover the role of the GEM Navigator Developers

by Nikki Davies

Raphael Herzog, General Manager at the Hallmark Hotel, hosted a tour and Q&A session at the recently refurbished hotel in Matson, Gloucester for GEM individuals. The session focused on what it is like to work in the Hospitality industry and gave the group a useful insight into the wide variety of roles available, as well as the potential benefits in working at such a hotel, eg. flexible hours, staff benefits, gym membership etc.

Five GEM participants and a few Navigator Developers attended the session. They began with a tour around the hotel and then gathered in the Boardroom for refreshments and a video explaining the ethos of the hotel chain, which was followed by a Question & Answer session. Raphael spoke enthusiastically about working in the industry and fielded a range of questions from the GEM participants.  

It was a great opportunity for GEM participants to see behind the scenes of the hospitality industry and gain an insight into what it would be like working in this sector. 

For any further information, or if you're interested in these type of opportunities, please contact Sue Guilding, Opportunity Hunter or contact the GEM office on 01452 699741 | 

The GEM Project appreciates the time invested in Raphael in putting on this session and the hospitality offered to the GEM team. 

GEM's gain an insight into the Hospitality sector with a tour of the Hallmark Hotel

by Nikki Davies

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