Laughter, tears and cake filled Kingsholm last week, as we joined together to celebrate the last six years of GEM with a special showcase; The GEM Journey.
Over the last six years, the GEM Project has engaged with and supported over 3,000 individuals within Gloucestershire who were dealing with circumstances that caused barriers to work and moved these people closer towards education, training or work, including self-employment.
The programme has been a brilliant example of a unique and unprecedented partnership of over 40 community based organisations, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council. Each partner committed to work collaboratively to help individuals with any needs or requirements to overcome any barriers they may have had and effectively improved their lives.
The GEM Project reconnected people with their local services through their communities and ultimately helped them to achieve their desired outcome, whether through a working or educational related route. The programme understood that everyone is unique, with different needs and requirements, impacting on their steps into the world of employment, education or training.
Therefore, this project provided dedicated and specialised help, guidance and support, for each individual enrolled on the project, from transport and childcare costs, to support with any disabilities and mental health issues. Individuals enrolled on the project were able to look at developing their life skills, self-esteem and motivation, whilst also overcoming any practical barriers to engagement.
With this enhanced level of support that the GEM Project provided, individuals were able to access a wide range of support, from confidence building, advice with job searching and interview practice, to opportunities for increasing skills and qualifications, or accessing training and work experience opportunities. The GEM Project offered tailored programmes to every individual through a personalised action plan, working towards their individual career-based goals.
The GEM Project is jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund.
Gloucestershire Gateway Trust manages the GEM Project on a day-to-day basis across Gloucestershire, on behalf of the GEM Partnership, including Gloucestershire County Council, the Accountable Body. The Trust, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, is also part of a unique partnership between local communities and the M5 Gloucester Services business. The idea of creating a motorway services which would not only create local jobs but provide a sustainable income to help local communities thrive, first came to Mark Gale, chief executive of the Trust, in 1994. “We had 28 million vehicles a year carrying over 40 million people into Gloucestershire at one end and going out the other on the M5. No-one in the communities it passed by got any benefit; it was just seen as a problem bringing pollution, congestion and noise,” says Mark. Now, twenty years later, Mark’s vision has become a reality and the Gloucester Services has turned the M5 into an asset for the communities it passes through. Over the next 20 years, the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust will plough an estimated £10m income generated by the new Services into sustainable community projects through its local charity partners including: - APT (All Pulling Together) Stonehouse - Fair Shares Time Banks - GL Communities - Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust - Play Gloucestershire - The Nelson Trust - Together in Matson. The Trust is also working to encourage people living near the motorway to find jobs at the Services and supporting free pre-employment training for local people to give them a better chance of getting a job. It is also backing ‘spin off’ community enterprise initiatives that support residents in taking up employment opportunities. Visit www.gloucestershiregatewaytrust.org.uk to find out more.
The GEM Project is a unique and unprecedented partnership of over 40 Voluntary and Community Sector Enterprise (VCSE) and other organisations in Gloucestershire.
Each partner has been committed to work collaboratively to help individuals with any needs or requirements to overcome any barriers they may have had and effectively improve their lives.Partners