How we started

A Project for the Millennium

During 1998/99 meetings were held to discuss how the villages of Winterslow and Firsdown would celebrate the forthcoming Millennium. One project was to regenerate the village footpaths but there was also interest in developing an outreach project to provide support to others who were less fortunate. A number of approaches were discussed and meetings held with several local and national charities.

In June 1999 Ron Newby from Globalcare  visited Winterslow to discuss projects in which they were involved and areas where they need help. After much discussion the millennium committee agreed to support the development of a vocational training centre in Rukungiri in Uganda. Globalcare were supporting many of the Children in the Rukungiri Modern Primary School which had been established by John and Alice Tumusiime. Ron was very encouraging and happy for the village to take ownership of the project. The project became a registered charity in 2000 (1079283).

In May 2000 John and Alice Tumusiime were visiting the UK to join Globalcare in promoting the Child sponsorship programme for the children in the Rukungiri Modern Primary School. John and Alice were able to take 2 days to visit Winterslow where they were able to visit the village school and speak at an evening meeting held in the school hall. It was from this point that the project began to take shape and goals became much clearer. 

Matthew and Emma Gothard came to this meeting and talked with John and Alice and became very enthusiastic to visit Rukungirri to investigate what was needed and in 2001 Matthew and Emma were able to join a team from Globalcare who were visiting Rukungiri. They were able to take letters from the children in the village school to the children in Rukungiri and gifts of footballs and pens, crayons etc.   They were able to see the situation at first hand and also the beginnings of the vocational training centre.

They returned full of enthusiasm with the aim of returning the following year to work on the building project. Matthew was a civil engineer and his company agreed to give him a three month sabbatical and a generous donation to aid the building of the centre. In May 2002 Matthew and Emma returned to Rukungiri to begin the construction of the first workshop block of the Gables Vocational Training Centre.