Gemma is a Director and Lead Instructor at Able2Adventure, a community interest company delivering outdoor and adventurous activities to disabled people in the Highlands of Scotland. Based in the Cairngorms National Park the activities include climbing, abseiling, kayaking, canoeing, paddle-boarding, bush craft, hill walking and camping. The majority of the activities are with young disabled people delivering taster sessions, activity clubs, skills courses, multi-activity weeks, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and non-formal learning awards.
Gemma has over 18 years experience working as an instructor and a program manager in the outdoor activity industry. Over the past 10 years she has worked both full time and freelance for the Bendrigg Trust, a residential disability adventure centre based in the Lake District. It is through this work, she learnt the techniques/ approaches and equipment available to ensure outdoor activities are accessible to all. In 2016 Gemma set up a local para climbing club for disabled young people, two of the members now regular compete at the GB para climbing series. During these 10 years, groups, repeatedly commented on the lack of inclusive outdoor activities in Scotland. In 2018, Gemma moved to Aviemore in Scotland where she began research and consultation with the local disability community. Through this the vision and direction of Able2Adventure was created.
Able2Adventure will be launching in 2019 through the help of the Shackleton Foundation. With the award, the organisation will be able to purchase the specialist adaptive equipment required to ensure activities are accessible for all, such as Kite Harnesses for climbing and Aquabacs for canoeing. Able2Adventure will then be able to start delivering activities by hiring the generic equipment form local providers, whilst continuring to source the funds to eventually acquire all of their own resources. Able2Adventure believe strongly in peoples’ capabilities and use outdoor activities to develop confidence, raise self esteem and self worth, promote independence, develop social networks and improve overall physical and mental health.