A new rare breed of motorway services is dedicated to local food, farming and the local community

A new model of how business and charity can operate together for mutual gain has opened to the public in the most unlikely location – on the busy M5 motorway in Gloucestershire.

Gloucester Services has been created in partnership with the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, a social regeneration charity. Once completed (a second, southbound service area opens in 2015), the £40 million project will employ 300 people in the local area and will redistribute an estimated £10 million over 20 years back into local Gloucestershire charitable community projects.

The partnership offers an innovative model for how businesses and charities can work together. The Gloucester-based charity, which aims to promote employment and training opportunities and support community networks, will play a key role in ensuring the Cumbrian-based Westmorland Family understands the local area and how to deliver the local benefits.

Mark Gale from the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust said: “This co-working between business and charity pushes the boundaries of social investment into new territory. The partnership has shown that by working together business and charity can sometimes generate more benefits than either could achieve on their own. Embedding the charity directly with the aims and ambitions of the business is game-changing stuff. Making communities more resilient and helping to make people more employable is the aim of both the charity and the services.”

The business and charity have already committed to long term partnerships with various local organisations including Play Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, GL Communities, Fair Shares, Nelson Trust and All Pulling Together in Stonehouses.

They also actively working with Together In Matson at the Redwell Centre, the City Farm, the first ever Arts Explosion Festival in Stonehouse, the Podsmead Big Local plus Robinswood and other local schools. While all of this is an exciting beginning, both Mark Gale and the Westmorland Family team believe there are many more benefits to come.

Gloucester Services isn’t just any Motorway Services. This is the sister project of the acclaimed Tebay Services based in Cumbria. Refreshingly different, there are no chains, no franchises, no fast food on the forecourt. Instead, a farm shop stocked with locally produced food, a butchery featuring Gloucestershire’s finest meat, a café serving homemade dishes created from locally-sourced produce every day. Gloucester Services works with 200 producers from across the South West, 130 of which are within 30 miles of the site.

Sarah Dunning, CEO of the Westmorland Family, who own and operate the services says: “Gloucester Services is all about community, from the 130 local producers supplying the shops and cafe to the communities in the surrounding area. Weaving a charitable element directly into our business plan is vital to the success of the services. Increasing the employability and skills of a local workforce will directly impact how successful the services prove to be. Working with Gloucester Gateway Trust is not just a charitable donation; it’s an investment in the local community. I believe that stronger communities make for better businesses.”

MORE: For further information visit www.gloucesterservices.com

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