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Success Stories

This section provides the chance to read about real individuals and their unique journey in how the GEM Project has helped them to move closer towards employment.


Gloucester | Artshape

Max has long had problems with social anxiety, depression and suffered poor mental health, and was more recently diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Because of this, Max had never been able to hold down a “proper job”.

Max was unable to leave the house for a several years due to mental health, but then began spending time at Artshape, and found out about the GEM Project.  “Max is a true artist” commented Donna, GEM Navigator Developer for Artshape.  “My goal was to help Max realise that”.  Around the same time, Max developed a real connection and love for Vultures, and quickly started to combine the two – painting, sketching, drawing.  It had long been Max’s dream to exhibit a collection, but in Max’s own words, Donna “made it seem possible”.

With the help of Donna, Max had the courage to approach the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) – where many hours had been spent creating works of art – and asked about exhibiting.  A short while later, Max’s dream of a solo exhibition was realised, with the Vulture collection filling a wall in the ICBP café.  Max is “chuffed” to have already sold two pieces – with the money raised from the sales contributing to conservation efforts to save endangered Vultures from disappearing (

Max said “I am now capable of making a contribution to society.  I’ve had to work to deadlines, organise my collection and I’ve also helped to run art workshops.  People now sit and have their coffee being watched by my Vultures.”

You find out more about Max’s work by visiting or @VultureArts on Facebook.


Gloucester | GARAS

Roselyn moved to the UK 15 years ago to seek asylum and was keen to find work, but had to wait for her work permit and didn’t know where to start.  After starting a sewing class at GARAS, Roselyn was introduced to GEM Navigator Developer Sarah.

“I thought the only job I could do would be cleaning, but Sarah talked to me about what else I was interested in and made me realise I could do more.”

Roselyn joined the GEM project in early 2018, and though it took 15 years to get her work permit, she had already started volunteering. She then became interested in the security field and was determined to get her SIA Security Licence. She has completed the Level 2 certificate for working as a Door Supervisor in private security, funded by the GEM project, and is now in the process of getting her licence. 

Roselyn’s final comments: “The GEM Project has been so inspiring, it has given me advice and supported me step by step. I started with no hope but when I got work I knew I could be somebody. I would recommend the GEM project to everyone.”




Beth Weeks

Dursley | GL11

Beth had a background in retail management, but due to her personal circumstances changing, she was unable to continue with employment in this sector. Therefore she needed some help getting back into work. 

Beth shares her story about how the GEM Project helped her gain employment in a new industry. 


Gloucester | Gloucestershire Deaf Association

Sallie-Anne is profoundly deaf and grew up with her hearing family. She used to work for a care home but was unhappy in her work and suffered from severe depression. 

After meeting with her Navigator Developer Reg, and starting to gain some confidence from these meetings, Sallie-Anne visited Gloucestershire College and enrolled on a painting and decorating course. 

After completing her course, she was keen to set up her own business and gain some work experience. Reg approached B G Brain, a local decorator business who agreed for Sallie-Anne to complete some work experience with them. She also took part in several sessions with Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd to understand how to set up a new business, as well as complete any relevant training to support her with her goal. 

Sallie-Anne finished her GEM journey obtaining business status with HMRC and is now happy starting a new life and business. 

Stuart Tidmarsh

Gloucester | National Star College

Stuart was in a difficult place before joining the GEM Project. He is now completing a work placement at Glevum Security and feels that his life is getting back on track. 

He shares his story of how the GEM Project has helped turn his life around. 

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