“I joined WeMindTheGap in 2018 helping to run the Flintshire programme after I had been on maternity leave. I then took over the Wrexham 2019 programme until Covid cut it short. Then after a short period working with young people who had been excluded from school I was offered the opportunity to come back permanently as the WeBelong lead, supporting our ever growing alumni of Gappies. I didn’t have to think twice about it!

I have had the privilege of working in all sorts of different jobs: as a project manager, setting up my own business (for which I achieved national press and my products were voted a Top Best Buy by Ethical Consumer Magazine, as a school mentor, as a CSR representative in a number of organisations and in addition I am a qualified holistic therapist. Outside of work I have fundraised to rebuild Sinjar Hospital children’s ward in Iraq after the ISIS massacre and have led volunteers to raise over £300,000 for charity since 2015. I am about to publish a book on bereavement and loss this year.

All of these previous experiences prepared me well for the journey so far with WeMindTheGap, and I have been blessed here to be part of so many young women’s (and now young men’s) journeys. The most important part of my role is listening: without knowing what each gappie needs, wants and feels you cannot do your job well for them. That is what WeMindTheGap allows us to do, it is not formulaic, there is space and time in WeBelong to work together to co-create the futures the gappies want for them and their children. Our young people must have a voice and know people are listening and value them. We help them have that voice.

The pictures of the places we go and things we do are great to share, but behind that there are many difficult times, challenging situations, hard conversations and a soup of tears and laughter – life is not always easy so we all work together to support our gappies to keep moving forward.

What we are able to offer our gappies is growing all the time, for example: this year they can access Animal Therapies including Equine Therapy and a number of us are training to be able to run Forest School & Outdoor Wellbeing sessions, having already identified several sites from which we can run workshops and sessions. Currently I am also studying a short course with Edinburgh University in Community Engagement: co-constructing knowledge with communities.

Our gappies inspire me to keep learning, to keep finding new ways to respond to what they ask for and need, to adapt to change and to always keep them all at the heart of everything we do. When I see them achieve something they want to do – whether it be a new job, a college course, passing a driving text, overcoming a fear, going to a new place even though they feel anxious, pushing their comfort zones, reaching out for support, getting the bus to somewhere new or finding new ways to deal with situations, when often they are coping as the sole provider for their children – I feel extremely proud of them, and proud that we as a charity have this ability to impact lives so positively.

In the words of Alice Walker ““The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

We are here to remind our young people they have a voice that deserves to be heard and that life can be good, fulfilling, safe in the knowledge that they will always be a part of the WeMIndTheGap family.”

Jane IWD bio image

Meet the team – Jane

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