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GEM News Archive

All past news articles are available to read, listed by date.

Sunday 22nd September 2019 was world 'car-free' day, which encouraged motorists to give up their cars for a day.  It also promoted the use of mass transit, cycling and walking, and "the development of communities where jobs are closer to home".   However the reality for many is that there aren't jobs close to home - that may be due to living in a rural location, availability of vacancies or suitable skills. 

We know that many GEM participants do not have cars and rely heavily on public transport, and sometimes this can make jobs further away hard to get to.  The GEM Participants Council wanted to raise awareness of this, and to encourage those of us with a car to experience a working day without one.

We also support the NUS Green Impact Scheme, and are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. So on Tuesday 17th September, colleagues from the GEM team, including Navigator Developers joined our participants on public transport.  Here are some of their experiences...

"My watch is slow so what should have been a leisurely walk to the bus stop turned out to be a 5 minute trot! Puffing and panting I negotiate a price with the friendly bus driver a to take me to Gloucester Quays...£3.50 and no discount for cash. I can tell by the smile on his face he can tell I’m a novice.  

 Arrive on time, asked the driver for a selfie. Enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, less stress, no road rage and feeling relaxed....think I should do this more often."  Tony, Opportunity Hunter, GEM Project 

"To get to and from work, I take six buses a day which equates to just over two hours a day spent on a bus. To make sure I get to work on time, I have to leave the house at ten past seven, and most days I don't get home until quarter to seven in evening. That almost a full 12 hour day.

My first bus is at 07:16, which takes me from home into Cheltenham town centre. It gets into town at 07.28 which gives me just over five minutes to hot foot it through town from one bus stop to another, as my next bus is as 07.35. This second bus takes approximately 45 minutes to get into Gloucester City centre. If the bus gets in on time or slightly early, I can just make the 08.25 bus down to work. If I miss that 08.25 bus the next bus is the 08.40.

On any given day, how early or late I am to work depends on how the buses are running, as can adverse weather conditions.  There is also a cost factor that comes with getting a bus to work and back. It is cheaper than running a car and paying for petrol, but the weekly bus fare does mount up, and in the last two years, I have spent roughly £1,740 on bus fare. 

Travelling by bus isn't the quickest way to travel to work, but for me, it's the only way I can get to work without relying on lifts or having to cycle."  Seonaid, GEM Project Administrator

"I’m normally based in Cheltenham but I had a pre-booked meeting arranged in Gloucester so I had to look into various public transport options. After looking into both bus and train timetables I decided to travel by train as the timings and location of the train station better suited my family commitments that I had to undertake before starting work.

I found the train to be quick and quite relaxing, although it did mean that I had to carry out and plan my journey in advance rather than just hopping in the car and allow extra time just in case there were any train cancellations.

In terms of expense, I think it worked out about the same when taking into consideration parking costs. Overall i found the experience very positive and I’d be tempted to use the train more often." Tracy, Navigator Developer, GEM Project

GEM supports car-free day

by Becky Boseley

Our GEM participant was previously a qualified social worker living in London. However, in 2004 she came back to Gloucester as her family was living in the area and needed some help. Her mum was registered blind, but she began to notice she needed more support. Year on year her mum's health deteriorated until she become totally dependent on our GEM.
For the last five years I have been so overwhelmed, being relied on day and night has definitely taken it’s toll. The level of care needed was so high, I was unable to even leave my mum for 30 minutes.

It’s now been around 18 months since my mum passed, in which I realised how much these 14 years of caring for her has impacted on me; my own health had dramatically decreased, I felt socially isolated and lost so many skills. I felt like I lost everything, all confidence and assertiveness.

I didn’t want to go back into social work as felt it would have changed so much over the years but felt I was ready to head back into the working world. I really wanted to focus on working with children.

I applied for so many jobs, often with no reply or being told I was unsuccessful. I used to be such a strong character, so this made my confidence take a further dip.

Then through the care service, I found out about GEM and met with my Navigator Developer and things just seemed to click. He made me look at things in a more structural way; it was so helpful having someone there to offload on, make things seem more rational and help me to focus, guide and support me.

He helped me with job application processes when I needed it and provided opportunities to help begin to boost my confidence again with mock interview practice. After further interviews and applications, we contacted a local school to look at volunteering opportunities to help read with the children. Through this I was told about a Key Worker Assistant role and was offered an interview which resulted in me getting the job.

My Navigator Developer and I worked together for over a year but I’m so pleased to say I finally have a job I love! It’s only a temporary contract and even if I’m not offered a permanent post once the contract comes to an end, I’m still so much happier as it’s really helped me to get back into the working world.

The biggest thing for me has been the massive boost in my confidence, helping me with my journey getting back into work. Having that support and someone to guide you through the process, that reassurance that someone is there to literally hold your hand if you need it.

I’m so thankful for the GEM Project and the help it has given me to get my life back.”

GEM participant shares her experience as she moves from a social worker to full time carer before finding work again through GEM

by Nikki Davies