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It’s been evidently clear that wellbeing has been at the forefront of most people’s minds over the last 10 months.

Therefore, we are extremely proud to announce that whilst the GEM Project is predominately an employability-based programme, our latest GEM Interim Monitoring and Evaluation report has found that in 2020 the all-round wellbeing of participants has taken centre stage. The GEM Project has provided a significant lifeline to many during an incredibly difficult year, providing a vital role in supporting the welfare of vulnerable people.

Conducted by the University of Gloucestershire, the 2020 report’s findings indicate that there has been a higher emphasis on health-related outcomes, with improved physical and mental health featuring in the highest outcome change section for the first time since the programme began in 2016.

The results, which take into consideration a comprehensive set of data across the last four years, indicates that participants have experienced a 25% improvement in resilience and self-esteem and a 17% improvement in physical and mental health as a result of their involvement in GEM. Furthermore, it has been discovered that participants who have recorded a mental health condition when registering for the GEM Project have experienced above average improvements to their physical and mental health; clearly evidencing that since GEM began, the programme has had the greatest impact on those who have needed it most.

“During COVID-19 I have found the lockdown quite tough. GEM has been very helpful, I wasn’t anticipating that. GEM works to provide opportunities – they are so holistic and provide varied stuff.” GEM participant.

The GEM Project has always prided itself on the one-to-one support that our Navigator Developers provide, putting our GEM participants at the heart of our project, so this is a massive achievement for it to be recognised and documented.  

This accomplishment would not have been possible without the partnership organisations and GEM's team of Navigator Developers supporting our individuals and providing opportunities to keep them engaged, learning and connected to one another during this significantly challenging year.

Previous Monitoring and Evaluation reports have identified that the GEM Project has continually responded in a positive and flexible manner to the needs of GEM participants, and despite the challenges 2020 brought, this level of responsiveness did not change.

From early April 2020, our focus quickly adapted to support individual’s mental health and safety; ensuring people had access to basic needs including food and medication, whilst providing access to resources and relevant support both from an employability and wellbeing perspective through GEMonline and other online channels.  

As a result, this has further strengthened our partnership and proved how resilient the GEM Project can be during unprecedented times.

“GEM is helpful in giving something to aim for and have some ambition.” GEM participant.

The full GEM Interim Monitoring and Evaluation report can be downloaded here.

participant cohort in th

The GEM Project proves it truly does Go the Extra Mile; putting its GEMs at the heart of the project

by Nikki Davies