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Student who turned life around gifted new bike

Tom with Sean Burke, Martin Isherwood his shiny new bike

Tom with Sean Burke, Martin Isherwood his shiny new bike!

“I used to mess around at school but working at CBH has set my head straight.”

Those are the words of Tom Swift, a student from All Saints Academy who rode home in style last Friday (30 January), after being presented with a brand new bike from our chief executive, Paul Stephenson.

Tom, aged 16, was given the new bike in recognition of the dedication and commitment he has shown whilst working alongside our repairs team as part of the All Saints Alternative Provision Project (APP).

For the past few years Kelly Patterson, our Community Development Officer, has been working with local schools to help inspire disengaged students back to school. After meeting Tom, who had been referred into the programme, she spoke to our repairs supervisor, Sean Burke, who organised for him to be mentored by multi-skilled operative, Martin Isherwood.

Although only required to attend one day a week, Tom has continued to report for work every day during his school summer holiday and even on some Saturdays – of the 52 days Tom has worked at CBH, 32 were voluntary extra time!

Thanks to his commitment and willingness to learn, under Sean’s and Martin’s guidance, Tom has excelled himself and has got stuck in gaining valuable multi-trade experience.

At the presentation we spoke to Tom and asked him why he enjoys coming to CBH, he said: “Coming here gives me something to do. A lot of my friends just sit around playing Xbox but I am more of a practical person and like to be out doing something. I’ve enjoyed meeting all the people here and I would like a career in construction in the future.”

Presenting the bike to Tom, Paul Stephenson, our chief executive said: “We’re pleased to be building links with local schools and as Tom’s success demonstrates there is a huge benefit to creating opportunities for young people to experience workplace learning and inspire them to continue in education. We’ve been so impressed with Tom’s enthusiasm and the positive attitude he has shown whilst working with us, so I’m delighted to be presenting him with this bike in recognition of his achievements and commitment.

And the great news is after joining the Alternative Provision Project, Tom has now successfully re-joined mainstream education.

Commenting on why the APP had worked for him Tom said: “Being referred to the project was the right thing for me as I used to mess about at school but working at CBH has set my head straight.”

Tom was particularly delighted to receive the bike, which was bought via the CBH Bursary Fund, as his previous bike was stolen. The Halfords store based at Gallagher Retail Park also kindly donated a safety pack which included a helmet, lock, lights and hi-vis vests along with a bike care plan.


Notes for editors

Cheltenham Borough Homes:

  • CBH is one of the top rated ALMOs (Arms Length Management Organisations) in the country. ALMOs are not for profit companies that run social housing services for their local council
  • Currently CBH manage and maintain around 5,000 tenant and leasehold properties with high satisfaction and performance levels, when compared nationally with other housing providers
  • CBH put their customers at the heart of what they do; working with them to shape services and ensure the company focuses on local need
  • CBH deliver more than high quality core landlord services: they have an ongoing programme building new homes and regenerating communities; they support people to find work and employment; work to improve financial inclusion and develop stock to make it more energy efficient

 Press contact: Catherine Best e: t: 01242 775317  


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