Gamelea Countryside Training Trust
Since becoming Godmother of Independence of the Seas, I have been asked many times how I became a Godmother if only Celebrities or Royals are the norm.
In 2008 I was running the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust, a charity I had founded and ran to enable a wide range of disadvantaged people to reach their full potential and enter the world of work if that was they desire.
Royal Caribbean launched a competition to find the Godmother of Independence by asking for nominations for an ordinary woman who had done something extraordinary of the community.
My twelve year Old daughter Alicia nominated me, below is the reason why.
The gateway to pastures new
Before I set up the charity I was a teacher of Rural Science and special needs. I became acutely aware of a lack of opportunities for People with Learning Disabilities after main stream education. My hubby had just changed his farming policy from an intensive dairy farm to working towards organic
The Brief History of Gamelea Countryside Training Trust
Became a charitable Trust and Company limited by guarantee in 1999
Had our first Students with Learning Disabilities in September 2000
Became a Franchise of Chesterfield College in January 2001
Various projects funded by ESF ACLF Lloyds TSB, Llankelly, Lottery, Children in Need, Niace and various Trust funds .
What did Gamelea do?
It Delivered vocational qualifications in rural skills to :
People with Learning Disabilities
People with Mental health problems
Young people excluded or in danger of exclusion form school, many of whom were in trouble with the law.
organic vegetables were grown in raised beds, they were used to make meals and or used in the cafe which was open to the public
Watering the perennials in the sales area
A commercial plant nursery was established and real work opportunities were given to people who had never experienced the world of work and had not interacted with the general public before.
Weeding the Onions
this student – preparing old barn ready for renovation, became an employee
Small animal hotel
in order for the project to become sustainable small enterprises were created. the small animal hotel being one.
My husband still ran the farm commercially and the students were able to get involved in many aspects of farm life
We had been given these Llamas and they were a great source of amusement
WE sold our plants on local markets
Grading Eggs by touch
many of our students had disabilities and were blind and deaf
during inclement weather the students made items for the farm shop to help to raise funds
Happiness is a certificate
Every year we combined a Christmas party with a prize giving day, we hired a local hall and invited friends and family so they could be proud of our students when they received their certif
Some of our activities were instigated by dedicated members of staff. We had a raptor enthusiast and as a consequence our students learnt to handle Buzzards and Barn Owls
Pigs when they are handled are very friendly and the students loved feeding and tending to them. Little piglets are highly amusing.
OCN qualifications and work opportunities
Ornamental plants and trees
Organic vegetable production
Free range egg production
Small animal hotel
Retail opportunities in the small farm shop, nursery, free range egg unit and on local farmers markets and agricultural shows.
We Created a sustainable enterprise
Trained disadvantaged and socially excluded people in skills for work
Gave employment opportunities to socially excluded people
We were successful because:-
We welcomed everyone
We had 200 acres of glorious countryside
Dedicated and talented Staff
Non judgemental Animals
Courage to push the boundaries
Ability to bounce back from the knocks – every day is a new day
We created a happy and positive atmosphere