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Goodbye from Ben

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By Ben Chastney |  December 13, 2017 |

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As many of you know, I will be leaving GATE at Christmas after over five years as our advocate.  I just want to say thank you to everyone, from the members, to staff, to partners, for making this such a memorable and genuinely enjoyable experience.  It has been at times challenging and the role is demanding but I have always felt supported and appreciated. 


These past few years here at GATE has given me the opportunity to meet so many fantastic people, who are funny, resilient, caring, engaging, thoughtful and generally good natured.  I will come away with fond memories, wonderful stories and an even greater respect for Gypsies and Travellers, many of whom I am proud to call friends.  Whilst I may in future no longer be at GATE, I will continue to do my best to support the community.  These past years have reinforced for me how important it is to give everyone a voice and have constantly seen how members’ voices have value, have importance, and deserve to be heard. 


For my colleagues, I can honestly say that I have consistently felt like I have been working alongside a group of people who are all at the top of their game in what they do, whether this be working with young people, archives, and partners or just keeping the office ticking over.  Everyone is so committed and lives the values of GATE, which is what makes the place so respected and valued.  I am confident that Rachael, who will be taking over from me, will be welcomed in by all and fit into this amazing team. 


I will be moving on to work at Leeds Beckett University, in student support, so likely providing a similar one to one service.  I have learnt so much here at GATE and am sure that I will be able to make use of these skills and knowledge; I am grateful to everyone for contributing to this.  Whilst in a different place, I will certainly not forget the people I have met, stories I have been told, and kindness I have been shown. 


Thanks again to you all for having made these past years so worthwhile and meaningful.  Please keep in touch and all the best. 

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