“Travel to learn – return to inspire.” This is the motto of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, an organisation dedicated to funding British citizens to travel in other countries and return with innovative ideas than can benefit people across the United Kingdom.
Garry Botterill, a police sergeant from Chichester in Sussex, is the co-founder of Service Dogs UK, a charity which pairs assistance dogs with former military and emergency service personnel who suffer with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, he was able to spend time in California and the Netherlands learning special techniques about how to train dogs to actively interrupt nightmares and flashbacks.
Thanks to this experience, Service Dogs UK has gone from strength to strength. Garry has seen firsthand how the training is making a real difference to participants, with the veterans reporting they feel able to “laugh and live again”.
Rev. Dr. Barbara Glasson, from Bradford, wanted to engage local women in community-based activities. She felt that by increasing social interaction and economic independence, it would help regenerate the community. As weaving had been a traditional craft in Bradford, she decided to travel to Nepal and Indonesia where weaving is an integral part of the local economy. Inspired by the enterprising, cooperative and creative work she witnessed, she launched a project called Weaving Women’s Wisdom. Its aim was to provide a space for interfaith/inter-community dialogue. It welcomed 20 diverse groups in Bradford and Pakistan to share stories and skills, with a focus on the common heritage of textiles in Bradford and Pakistani communities. The result was an exhibition of rugs called the Carpet of Wisdom, which toured the UK during 2015 and was exhibited in mosques, churches, cathedrals and schools.
More than 5,000 Britons have benefited from the Trust over the last 50 years. Fellowships with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust are open to British citizens from all walks of life. The only requirement is that the fellow has a desire, passion and an ability to share his or her passion with others. Fellowships are awarded across a broad range of categories: from arts and crafts to horticulture education; from migration, science and technology to nursing. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has been an Oak partner since 2014.