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BY DENISE MATTHEWS

It might be that in recent months you have seen or heard about The EV Foundation Trust. Some very powerful stories, experiences and testimonials have been shared both on social media and in the media, with a great programme on GBC called Six Calls. If this did not make the community wake up to the reality that there are plenty of local families living in desperate need, then read on.

Nicole Jones comes from a large family and is no stranger to having to work hard to have the things she wants, even when she was growing up. She started her career in Gibraltar Youth Services with life experiences that made her overly aware of the situations that disadvantaged families are confronted with locally and the neighbouring town of La Linea day to day. The Gibraltar Cheshire Homes Support Group was her first charity role as a committee leader, introduced to her by Jaime Felice, one of Nicole’s greatest mentors. But aside from this, working with families one-on-one, after eight years it was finally time to create The EV Foundation Trust. 

First established in 2013, The EV Foundation’s mission run by Nicole is to support local and nearby Spanish disadvantaged families whose household income is insufficient to afford basic necessities such as food, clothing, payment of utilities and rent, furniture for the home, electrical home appliances, amongst many other needs.

Many lives change forever with the right support.

Acting as advocates for vulnerable families and individuals, the foundation goes from complete home refurbishments to yearly appeals where they collect vouchers for food, uniforms, toys and more. Most importantly whenever possible, each person is guided through the process of becoming functional again by working within the charity or by finding suitable positions for them in the public or private sector. The many lives that are touched change forever with the right support, breaking the negative cycle and giving them confidence to thrive by empowering them to become successful.

The recent launch of the EV Foundation private group on Facebook has allowed Nicole to share the journey of some of her families and scale their appeals. These are some of their major achievements:

The EV Foundation Uniform Appeal 2021

122 children to be exact entered the new school year with brand new uniforms, shoes, bags, lunchboxes, thermos, stationery and some even with a nice haircut. The foundation contacted families, schools and social services working tirelessly with them so that no child or family would miss out on such a tremendous campaign. A week into school and they were still being asked for help by certain entities and people. Not only did they do this locally, but across the border too.

This confirms what the EV Foundation says and will continue to say. There are hundreds and hundreds of families who are missing out on basic things and lacking on basic needs. There are hundreds and hundreds of children not wanting to start school because they feel different and less and there are thousands of hearts being broken daily because of their suffering.

This yearly appeal by the foundation is crucial to support parents and children, it has been especially efficient thanks to working together with heads of schools, teachers, others that work in school but are as important, social workers, local retailers who worked with them and donated extra vouchers, neighbours, friends and family, who personally got in touch and raised their concerns to make sure families would not miss out.

Education is not a way to escape poverty, it is a way of fighting it.

A Mother’s Story…

“As a parent of three, September is one of my worst nightmares. Shopping for school supplies, uniforms etc. is very pricey, especially when you have more than one child. I wouldn’t know how my kids could start school this year as the shopping list was endless and we are on a very low budget. It’s thanks to the EV Foundation and kind donations that my kids, alongside many other kids in Gibraltar, have started school with new school uniforms, shoes and so on. Society can sometimes be very unfair to children in need, as they stand out at crowds or playtimes when their uniforms are not as new, or shoes are old.”

The EV Education Scheme

Education is not a way to escape poverty, it is a way of fighting it. 

Joining forces with Eroski Supermarket this time they launched the ‘Lunch for a Week’ initiative, providing a daily packed lunch to all children who may need one. The foundation strongly believes no child should miss school because of any hardships they may be suffering and they are constantly finding ways in which poverty does not interfere with education. 

From January, the EV computer programme will be introduced in partnership with the Gibraltar Digital Skills Academy, offering free weekly courses to individuals who they feel can benefit from upskilling and developing them to help them achieve their full potential. They will be learning basic computer skills, such as Microsoft Office, spreadsheets, email communication, CV writing, word processing and learning about the internet.

The processes are ongoing with so much work to be done regardless of the achievements, which are too many to list or write about in one article. One of the goals for 2022 is for Nicole Jones to be able to run the foundation full time which will require funding, revenue streams and premises. She is absolutely committed to the people she helps but juggling this and a full-time job is too much of a challenge now.  Her view is clear: “In order to do better for our community, it is vital we communicate, vital we accept that there are flaws in the system and vital we don’t turn a blind eye. We continue our fight to change ways of thinking or systems that are not working.”

Meeting her in person and getting to know the work she does for the most vulnerable was the moment it was clear that we would use the last Startup Grind Gibraltar events to amplify and support her by raising money and tapping into our network. So far so good with already more than £10,000 raised! We will be presenting a cheque at our Christmas Party at City Hall on 6th December, but if you want to help out in any way get in touch via email at [email protected] 

Wishing Gib Mag readers a very happy, prosperous and healthy festive season!

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The Gibraltar Magazine is your monthly business, entertainment, and lifestyle source. Providing the community with the latest breaking news and quality content since 1995. Every month, 100 pages are packed with gripping features from a cross- section of the Gibraltarian community in business, culture and leisure. We have pledged to support the wealth of local talent, constantly promoting young artists, musicians, authors and entrepreneurs and presenting what’s on around the Rock. In the business section, we focus on finance, property, and gaming industries. Embracing the latest technology and updating our website daily, we’re able to provide increased and up-to-the-minute information. The magazine has been operating for 25 years, which speaks volumes for our forward-thinking team who strive to take a fresh direction each month, as well as our loyal readership and confidence of advertisers.