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Jen, Navigator Developer based at the Forest Upcycling Project has been supporting a GEM participant during this lockdown period who had been struggling with social isolation and anxiety. 

"Running 100 miles a month and reading are the two things most important to my GEM participant. Over the last couple of weeks I found out that he has run out of books and that his running shoes were worn beyond use. I have been able to get some books to him quite easily but knowing he cannot afford new running shoes I thought I would try social media to see if anyone had a pair they no longer needed. I posted the request on the community page where I live as part of the GEM Project one afternoon, and by the following morning a number of people had offered donations to buy him a new pair - £55 has been given which allowed him to choose his own pair."

Ben, GEM participant comments, "I honestly don't know what to say, I'm absolutely flabbergasted. It's one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. I'm sure how I can put into words how appreciative I am. The embarrassment of wearing them out and about never bothered me really, but they had become literally unwearable and were starting to do damage."

The support from Jen and the kindness from the local community has now enabled Ben to continue with his running, an activity that really helps support his mental health and wellbeing. 

Click here to hear Ben's Thankyou

We'd love to hear your #GEMThankyou too. Simply send your message to

Let's share our amazing stories and spread the word about how thankful we are during this time. #GEMThankyou is open to all - whether you are enrolled on the GEM Project, supporting someone on the GEM Project or just part of our wider community.


Ben shares his #GEMThankyou for the help provided to buy some new shoes!

by Nikki Davies