Ten years after The Gloucestershire Gateway Trust was launched, its unique model of social investment and work with local charity supporters has now begun to bear financial fruit.
During 2017/18 each of the six community foundation partners (GL Communities, Fair Shares Timebanks, Play Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, All Pulling Together CIC and The Nelson Trust), received a £20,000 community development grant from the Gateway Trust as part of its five year commitment to each partner.
Gloucestershire Gateway Trust provides financial and practical support to enable community and economic development activity mainly in Gloucestershire and particularly in the communities of Matson and Robinswood, White City, Podsmead, Tuffley and Stonehouse and the surrounding areas in the GL10 postcode.
The work has been possible thanks to an innovative partnership between Gloucestershire Gateway Trust and the Westmoreland family, which resulted in the opening, in 2014, of the unique Gloucester Services.
In 1972 John Dunning opened the first family run motorway services on the UK roads at Tebay in Cumbria. The Dunnings were Cumbrian hill farmers, and set up Tebay Services when the M6 cut though their farm. They opened a small 30 seat café serving home cooked, locally sourced food. There are no franchises or fast food on Westmoreland forecourts. A farm shop sells locally produced food, a butchery featuring locally reared meant and a kitchen serving homemade dishes produced daily using local ingredients.
The idea behind Gloucester Services originated with Mark Gale, CEO of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, who wanted to find a means of creating sustainable income and job opportunities for local communities. The partnership the Westmoreland family has set up with the Trust enables it to donate a percentage of sales, excluding fuel, each year back into the community.
Stephen Pallister, Chairman of the Trust, said: “The success of the Gloucester Services project – which has far exceeded expectations – has meant that GGT can now begin to repay the support from the Tudor Trust and the Summerfield Charitable Trust which made the project possible.”
In February 2018 GGT appointed its first Community Support Manager. Claire Skivington is based at Gloucester Services. The role works with the Gloucester Services business, colleagues and suppliers to maximise the benefit the services generates for local communities.
Claire’s work involves encouraging people from target areas to think of Gloucester Services as a place to work, and supporting the delivery of pre-employment training and workshops, ensuring colleagues and customers know who the GGT partners are and inviting them in, building relationships with local schools.
During 2017/18 GGT, in partnership with over 50 predominantly voluntary and community sector organisations, successfully completed the first full year of delivery of the three-year £3.2m Building Better Opportunities programme entitled the Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project.
Under the day to day management and administration of GGT, the GEM Project has significantly exceeded agreed target outcomes during 2017/18 and is considered an exemplar project by the Big Lottery Fund.
The GEM Project will run until November 2019.