Our gift from France

“Hi. I am a French student my name is Tom and I am 18. In early 2023 I came to England for five weeks to study the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT) by being involved in some of it’s support charities. Coming here was for me the opportunity to discover the business model of the GGT, meet different kinds of people that I don’t normally meet and improve my English.

French student Tom pictured at the Gloucester Services Farmshop during his visit.

During these five weeks, I visited a lot of partners working with GGT but I was principally involved in four of them. 

The first was “Read With Me”, my job was to go to two schools 2 or 3 times a week and read with individual children to practice and improve their reading. 

The second was “The Venture” , a children’s play area. I went there twice a week to do some activities with children after school like face painting, playing outside or making music. 

The third was “Renew” at the Matson Baptist Church and my job was to spend some time with older people to have a chat or play some games on Friday mornings.

The last one was “The Food Drop”, my mission was to help to organise the food collected from stores to be distributed to people who needed it.

Thanks to all these organisations and to some meetings which I attended, I know more about the business model of Gloucester Services and how it’s beneficial for all local people. It has created 400 jobs for local people giving opportunities to earn a living. In addition, up to 3p in every £1 spent there comes to GGT to go back into the communities they work with. Then the community groups can do their best to help local people, so it’s beneficial for everybody.

In my time here I did a lot of things but some of them will stick in my mind. For example, the kindness of everybody to me whether it was other volunteers or beneficiaries; they were all very lovely with me. I will also remember the smile of the children in school when they are reading a story that they love because for some of them it’s the only moment where they can read to a young French student.

This trip was very interesting also because it was my first time volunteering. Now, I know how good it is to volunteer in a charity because you feel yourself useful for other people and you are helping them to be happy. After this experience, during my life I will want to volunteer again in another charity because I will remember some very good moments and I met a lot of lovely people. I think I was very lucky to be a volunteer in GGT because it’s a big foundation with a lot of charities doing a lot of different things. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to be in such a big foundation like that again in my life because I have never seen that in another country.

Thanks to this trip I discovered a lot of things about charities and English culture. To finish I think that my favourite activity was to play music with children at The Venture.”

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