Who are We?

WAM is a registered charity and was founded in 2013 by Gemma Madle & Kerry Coombs. All that WAM Youth does is enabled by it’s staff team, volunteers and trustee board. Many of whom are active members of the community in Winchcombe and surrounding area and who bring a wealth of experience and skills.

gemGemma Madle, Director of WAM ­ Gemma has been involved in youth work since 1997 originally as a volunteer youth worker in a variety of church settings and residential camps. Her day job was in academic research at City University, London where alongside her work she completed her Phd in Medical Informatics in 2009. In 2011 she made the move into professional Youth Work starting work at Winchcombe Youth Hub, The Rock Cheltenham and her local church (then C3 Winchcombe now Encounter Church). She has JNC validated Graduate Diploma in Youth Work and Ministry from Oasis College, London and was awarded a fellowship at her graduation. Her role involves some direct youth work (she’s particulary keen on the outdoor adventures!),  project and staff management, grant/funding sourcing as well as developing the vision and strategy.

20150617_114048-1Jonathon Atkinson, Lead for Outdoor Education ­ Jon has been with WAM since March 2015 and has been instrumental in the establishment and delivery of WAM’s outdoor education work. He has previously had roles at Ruskin Mill College as a Woodland Tutor and is a qualified Forester/Tree Surgeon and Bushcraft Practitioner. His first career was as a non-­commissioned officer serving multiple roles in the British Army. He has forged links with the local farm where much of our work is based and developed a programme of activities based around forestry and land management work and bushcraft and survival activities to engage at risk young people in one­-to-­one projects and small groups. Jon is responsible for the management of our Outdoor Education project and oversees all our outdoor activities across other projects.

Ali Kirkwood, Mentoring Project Manager ­ Ali joined us in June 2016 from the Fostering Support Team at GCC. She brings a wealth of experience in supporting young people and foster parents as well as experience from previous youth work roles. Ali manages our community mentoring project, supporting young people and training and supporting our volunteer mentors.

Dave Willcox, Lead for Adventure Education Dave served with the military for 12 years (regular and reserve) and has worked in private security, teaching / assessing and the Outdoor Education Industry ever since. Dave’s outdoor background covers hill & mountain walking, climbing, canoeing, bush-craft and SCUBA diving. His work has taken him all over the world to places such as Morocco, Canada, Thailand, Australia and the Carribean. He joined WAM on a full-time basis in April 2018 and is now Lead for Adventure Education. Dave loves working and living in the outdoors, and enjoys passing his experience on to others.

Sophia Thomas, Community Youth Worker ­ Sophia joined WAM in April 2016 and runs our community youth groups, supports our education and mentoring projects. Sophia is studying for MSc in Forensic Psychology and has lots of experience in volunteering in various youth projects working with young people at risk.

Joanna Lightbourne, Office Manager
Joanna has been with WAM since September 2015 and has been key in setting up the office and implementing general office procedures. She is responsible for managing the smooth running of the WAM offices, day to day, and also supporting staff with any administrative needs.
During her time with WAM, she has been involved with outdoor sessions, holidays clubs, relationship education and organised charity fundraising events; so has a good feel for all that goes on throughout the various WAM projects.
Joanna left school to serve as an Operator Mechanic Communicator in the British Royal Navy. On leaving the armed forces, her work experience has been within Administration and project management.
Joanna will be leaving us for a spell in September to have a baby, but will be returning in the summer of next year. Whilst Joanna is on Maternity leave, WAM are fortunate to have the support of June Yeates.

June Yeates, Administrative Support
June moved to Winchcombe 2 years ago with her dog Rosie. She is a retired Customer Service Manager with over 18 years experience. Having previously enjoyed the South African sunshine for some 25 years, she is now enjoying the Winchcombe sunshine. June will be supporting WAM with both the financial and general office administration.

Hannah Grant, Outdoor Education Support Worker

All our projects are supported by a small army of over 25 volunteers.

WAM Youth follows a safe recruitment process for all our staff and volunteers which includes an enhanced DBS check.

Please contact us for more information on info@wamyouth.org.uk or 01242 603678.


WAM Youth is a Registered Charity (No.1170638) based in Gloucestershire

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