We began with our roots firmly embedded in the Cumbrian fells and our heritage within that community. Community is therefore at the heart of what we do. As we innovate and diversify we become connected to the local community we serve whether it is how we source products, build buildings, work with our people or support our communities. When we opened Tebay Services back in the early 70s with 28 local staff we quickly became one of the largest employers in the area. Today we employ over 1000 people across all the sites but however we expand we do not lose sight of the fact that we are a part of that community and that we need to invest back into it.
Connecting business with community:
Community sits at the heart of Gloucester Services. Indeed, the idea of Gloucester Services was first put to the Dunning family by Gloucestershire man Mark Gale as a means of creating local jobs and providing sustainable income and other benefits to help local communities thrive in the future.
For the Dunning family, this community angle created an opportunity to put down roots in this area, something they consider vital for all their businesses.
And so a partnership of business and community between the Westmorland Family and the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT) was formed to bring the Gloucester Services project forward, with the Trust becoming a registered charity in 2011.
A proportion of Gloucester Services’ annual turnover, potentially £10 million over 20 years, will be invested by the Trust into its partner charities, primarily into the local communities of Matson, Tuffley, Podsmead and White City and the Stonehouse/GL10 area. The Trust is very active in supporting these communities to work closely with the evolving Gloucester Services business.
But Gloucester Services’ partnership with the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust is not just about charitable donations, it is a more fundamental way of connecting business and community for the benefit of both.
GGT has set up community hubs in Stonehouse and Matson, offering local people help and information about training and jobs, housing and family finances. The Trust works in partnership with other local charities including Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, The Nelson Trust (addictions), Play Gloucestershire (free open access play in urban and rural communities), GL Communities (advice, learning and support), Fair Shares Community Time Banks (reciprocal volunteering) and All Pulling Together Community Association in Stonehouse.
In preparation for the opening of the northside M5 Gloucester Services in 2014, training academies set up with Gloucester Services and local colleges offered training to 240 local unemployed people as a first step towards a possible permanent job at the Services, or elsewhere.
By completing the training, local people were guaranteed an interview, 44 of the original Gloucester Services workforce came through this route. Even those who weren’t successful initially came away with qualifications and further work-based volunteering opportunities.
More than half of Gloucester Services’ work force comes from the Trust’s training academies or its target local communities.
The academies ran again in February and March 2015 to help give local, long-term unemployed the best chance of securing the additional 200 jobs at the southbound services.
The Gloucestershire Gateway Trust is governed by a group of independent Trustees and led by Mark Gale – an award-winning social entrepreneur who has spent his whole career in social regeneration in Gloucestershire.
In addition to the training academies and community hubs in Matson and Stonehouse, GGT is working with its community partners to launch a cafe and Hill Information Point on nearby Robinswood Hill Country Park to encourage access to green space and to provide work placements for people with learning disabilities.
GGT is also partnering with local schools, supporting local residents’ groups and enabling the provision of a wide range of community-based care, housing and support services.
In addition, the Trust has worked with Leyhill Open Prison with prisoners helping to build the stone walls of the motorway service area. Subsequently one ex-inmate embarked on a position of employment with the dry stone walling company having left prison. These are just some of the initiatives undertaken so far, but there will be many more to come.