George next to a forklift in the Waste Management Centre

“You won’t get anywhere if you don’t ask for help!”

I met up with George from Gloucester who received an Opportunities Award grant from Barnwood Trust to pursue business qualifications for his own Waste Management Centre. He was kind enough to let me take a few photos and ask him some questions about how it all started.

What gave you this idea?

I have my own business – GWR Skip Hire which is also a Waste Management Centre. I’ve been working with scrap metal my whole life – it’s a family run business and these last couple of years it’s just grown and grown. It’s perfect for me – I love it. I love going to work! I’m out all the time, picking skips up – I’ve just got back now after dropping one off.

I’ll take you to the yard to have a look now.

A few years ago I had cancer and I worked all the way through the treatment, the treatment worked and I went back the other day and got the all clear. From then, I realised that life is too short and that if I wanted to do it – make something of it – I needed to do it now. I was quite young – 31, and it shook me.

I said to my mum – I’ve got to wake up. And I did and then all this happened!

How did you hear about Barnwood Trust?

Delphine Sparrow (Traveller Family Support Officer at Gloucestershire County Council) introduced me to Barnwood Trust and ever since, they’ve helped me. I had never heard of anything like that before. I went along to meet them and they gave me a grant for a qualification, WAMITAB Level 4 Technically Competent Manager (TCM) at Adult Education in Gloucester, which has also helped me grow my business.

That’s lovely – it’s nice to know that people are out there to help people like myself.

I’ve gone back to college – I should have done it years ago! I left school at a very young age, unable to read, but nowadays I can read and Kevin from Talbot Training and Adult Education has helped me through that.

“When I finish the course I'll go out for a drink, take my mum out or go on holiday to Spain!“

If someone else was thinking about doing what you did but maybe are a bit scared, what advice would you give them?

Just get in touch with them – they’re very nice people to talk to. I went in there again the other day! They asked me what I wanted a grant for and I explained to them what I needed. There were other people there, waiting to meet the Barnwood staff, looking a bit nervous and I said “Don’t worry – they are very nice people.” I was afraid the first time I went, so me and Delphine went in together and the second visit, me and my mum went.

They just asked me what I needed the grant for and I explained that I needed a qualification for my business and it came through. I’m halfway through the course, which I’m completing with some support from Delphine & the college.

I’ve had a lot of people help me, and you’ve met a lot of people around me that have helped me in the right direction – but it’s all me, I’m doing it myself. And if other members of the public want to do something but are afraid to ask – well you won’t get anywhere if you don’t ask for help!

Opportunities Award

The Opportunities Award opens up exciting new possibilities – such as training, equipment or clothing that may help you towards a job, volunteering or setting up a new business.  It can also be used to help with materials for a hobby or equipment for a sport you enjoy. Visit the grant page here to learn more or email if you have any questions.