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About us

I have been very fortunate in my life and in 1984 I was inspired by my wife to give something back to the community. Funded by my company, ISA, I founded a small charity to offer people the chance to embark on an experience that could change their perspective on life.

Travelling, my own passion became the first focus of the charity, as I understood its ability to expand people’s horizons, both physically and emotionally. So that year we launched an annual award at my old school, Epsom College to help GAP year students to realise their dreams of a great adventure before University.

This travel award has grown and now runs in a number of schools and university across the U.K. from Edinburgh to Sussex. Every year 12-15 students are awarded funding and support to embark on their travels.

With the travel awards established across a spectrum of schools and colleges I started to focus on other ways to encourage personal development in people; especially those looking to embark on a new stage in their life, whether they were just graduating from University or wanting to change career. These new awards and sponsorship include a mentoring programme at Oxford Brookes University, a young managers award in the shoe trade at the Pattenmakers Livery company in London, support for the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen, an award for young talent at a sculpture show in Gloucestershire and funding for a group of artists in the Forest of Dean to mount some travelling exhibitions. The charity has also provided support and funding for a number of small museums with a focus on furniture.

Recently the charity has created a new award at Goldsmiths College in south London to provide financial support and mentoring for a young design student to realise a personal project. Whilst working with the college we were introduced to an inspirational programme that provides facilities for ex-offenders to obtain further education. We are currently funding a member of their network to become a dyslexia teacher to provide additional support to members of this brave community.

Over the years the charity has built a vibrant, informal community, of past and present beneficiaries who share a passion for travelling and exploration. This diverse community of people comes together at regular gatherings across the country to share their experiences and forge new friendships.

The charity focuses on supporting individuals rather than organisations, who come through our existing network of awards and programmes.

Photos on Flickr

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The three months that I spent working in Ibarra, Ecuador, have contained undoubtedly the craziest, shortest, most challenging and eye-opening experiences that I could never have imagined before I left. Working here [in Ecuador] I have learnt so much more about the language, the culture and the realities of development work in Latin America that I think it will be a long time before I've really absorbed everything!

Elizabeth Parker, University of Edinburgh, 2006

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