GEM Project, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust celebrates 1st birthday helping people facing barriers to work

The Gloucestershire GEM project, managed by the Gateway Trust, celebrated its first birthday with a large gathering at Pittville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham.

People representing the project’s 60 partners from the voluntary and community, business and public sectors heard how GEM (Going the Extra Mile) has already made contact with more than 500 people, helping them move closer
to training or work through a range of initiatives and activities.

In its first year, GEM has:

  • Helped 108 people into work
  • Supported 20 people with self-employment or start-up businesses
  • Delivered 110 practice interviews
  • Helped 108 people with finding a job
  • Placed 150 on volunteering or work experience
  • Supported 231 people gain a qualification or move into education or training

There was praise for GEM’s successes so far from Cllr Roger Wilson, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet member, Tom Mcculloch from the Big Lottery – one of the two main funders – business owners and GEM participants.

The independent evaluators of the three-year programme, which supports people facing barriers to training and work, reported that a lasting legacy will be the links made between all the partners through the GEM network.

For a full report of the celebration event, including video interviews filmed by Fair Shares’ Reyaz Limalia, see

What is GEM?

The Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project aims to engage with and support individuals in Gloucestershire dealing with circumstances that are potentially causing barriers to work and move these people closer towards education, training, volunteering or work, including self-employment.

GEM will reconnect people with their local services and ultimately help them achieve their desired work-based outcome through an individual personalised action plan. This programme is a unique partnership of community based organisations, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Going the Extra Mile GEM logo

The GEM Project is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

For more information, please visit

Gateway Trust listens to 1,000 voices in community survey

Over the 2017 summer, more than 730 people across the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s main communities took the time to answer a series of questions put to them by our dedicated roving survey team. In addition, more than 300 customers at the Gloucester Services were also quizzed.

Adults and young people in Podsmead, Tuffley, Matson, Robinswood, White City and Stonehouse were asked about their communities, what they liked and what could be better.

Now the responses have been pulled together for a report which will be used as a baseline for future annual surveys to track how the communities will change and benefit over the years to come thanks to community-led development supported by the Trust and funding from Gloucester Services.

The survey results will not only inform Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s future investment and commitment of resources but also that of our partners. It has been a learning process to find out what survey methods work best and what areas we might improve on when planning how we gather people’s views next year.

From the feedback from local residents in all the communities, it is clear that:
• Provision for children and young people is a common concern across our target neighbourhoods
• Open access green spaces on housing estates are highly valued by local residents
• Robinswood Hill is increasingly seen to be a jewel in the Gloucester City Environmental Crown and we need to encourage further nurturing of this asset
• The more residents are connected with their neighbours and proactive community organisations, the more positive they feel about their lives and their communities

A common thread which emerged from all the communities was a high levels of community engagement and an interest in enhancing this even further.

Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s commitments arising from the survey:
1. Repeat this survey process annually to help us collectively assess the Trust’s impact
2. Add the Redwell Centre (Together In Matson) as a new core strategic partner, which, as a result will receive £20,000 funding per annum until March 2022, in line with the six other core partners
3. Investigate supporting residents and local partners in working with initiatives led by young people
4. Consider supporting residents and local partners where they are working to preserve or improve open access green spaces and similar environmental assets
5. Resource more social events and gatherings in 2018 which bring residents together whilst local partners develop long term strategies to sustain community ‘bumping places’ and improve neighbour-to-neighbour connections

Low-resolution pdf of the community survey report. Note: you will need Acrobat Reader to open/read the report. To make it easier for the report to be read in screen, it is presented as single pages, rather than the print version which has two-page spreads.


Gloucestershire community groups get m/way services cash on Gateway Trust's 10th birthday

The Gloucestershire Gateway Trust - the charity partner behind the multiple award-winning M5 Gloucester Services - celebrated its 10th birthday by handing over the first of many major grants to local community groups.

The Trust, led by Chief Executive Mark Gale, forged a ground-breaking relationship with the Cumbria-based Westmorland Family which led to the opening of the Gloucester Services in 2014.

“We could not have found a better partner for this whole project,” said Mark. “Westmorland are totally committed to supporting communities, whether in Cumbria or Gloucestershire. It was the perfect match.”

Part of the unique business and charity partnership means the Trust will be able to plough an estimated £10m share of the Services’ turnover over the next 20 years into local community initiatives.

The first £60,000 has just been handed over - £10,000 each to the Trust’s six core community partners: the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, The Nelson Trust, GL Communities, Play Gloucestershire, All Pulling Together in Stonehouse and Fair Shares Time Banking.

Each of these six partners will get a total of £100,000 from the Trust over the next five years, making their work supporting local people and the environment more sustainable.

The Trust also supports two community hubs, the Matson Gateway in Gloucester and All Pulling Together in Stonehouse as well as the Matson and Robinswood Residents Group, a Growing Communities project on land at the Northbound Services and a range of training and volunteering opportunities for local people to boost their chances of getting a job at the Services and in other sectors such as childcare.

Many other local community initiatives, particularly in the Trust’s target areas of Matson and Robinswood, White City, Podsmead, Tuffley and Stonehouse, will also benefit from the Gloucester Services funds in future. About a quarter of Gloucester Services’ 400 staff have been recruited from these communities.

“As community organisations struggle to fund vital work, receiving a guaranteed annual income will make a huge difference to their sustainability. We want this funding to strengthen our partners and be a catalyst for more community action in our target neighbourhoods,” said Mark Gale.

The Trust’s 10th birthday celebratory dinner at the Houses of Parliament welcomed Gloucestershire Gateway Trust Trustees, Westmorland Family directors and managers, Gloucester Services staff and local residents, and representatives from all six community partners.

Other guests included a number of charitable trusts including the Tudor Trust and the Summerfield Trust, which provided the Gateway Trust funds to get the whole idea of a motorway services which benefits local people, off the ground.

Mark added: “Ten years ago, the idea of opening a motorway services which would generate opportunities and improvement in local communities, in addition to hundreds of new jobs, was still a dream.

“The idea had been simmering for at least ten years before that, but the Trust needed significant funds and determination to bring the concept forward and to find the right business partner. The Westmorland Family share our vision for generating community benefit, and thanks to the money now coming in from Gloucester Services, we’re able to start backing local residents and community organisations to build stronger neighbourhoods.

“The relationship between the Westmorland Family and the Trust is not just about charity donations, it is a more fundamental way of connecting business and community for the benefit of both. Together we are much more than the sum of our parts. We have so much to be proud of in this project.”

Sarah Dunning said “Gloucestershire Gateway Trust’s 10th Anniversary is a great celebration. Without the Trust, Gloucester Services would never have come to fruition and it was a big team effort to get it off the ground.

"Gloucester Services now employs up to 400 people, with a quarter of those coming from the charity’s target communities. We hope that with our continued partnership, we will be able to work on many initiatives in the future which support those needing jobs and bring investment back into our local communities."

What the Trust’s six core community partners will use the funding and support to do 2017-2022.


Gloucestershire Gateway Trust: proud winner of Outstanding Contribution to Local Food Development, Western Daily Press Food and Farming Awards 2017!

Award winnerThe vision of the Gateway Trust’s CEO Mark Gale for a motorway services station that would directly benefit people living in nearby communities, and his tireless work over two decades to make it a reality, was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Local Food Development award.

Gloucester Services on the M5 opened three years ago, since when it has provided a significant boost to farmers and food companies from across the South West. It was made possible after Mark approached Westmorland, the family-run company responsible for the award-winning Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria, and worked with it to set up Gloucestershire Gateway Ltd.

Read more about the awards: