WAM is a registered charity and was founded in 2013 by Gemma Madle & Kerry Coombs. All that WAM Youth does is enabled by it’s staff team, volunteers and trustee board. Many of whom are active members of the community in Winchcombe and surrounding area and who bring a wealth of experience and skills.

Gemma Madle, Director of WAM ­ Gemma has been involved in youth work since 1997 originally as a volunteer youth worker in a variety of church settings and residential camps. Her day job was in academic research at City University, London where alongside her work she completed her Phd in Medical Informatics in 2009. In 2011 she made the move into professional Youth Work starting work at Winchcombe Youth Hub, The Rock Cheltenham and her local church (then C3 Winchcombe now Encounter Church). She has JNC validated Graduate Diploma in Youth Work and Ministry from Oasis College, London and was awarded a fellowship at her graduation. Her role involves some direct youth work (she’s particularly keen on the outdoor adventures!),  project and staff management, grant/funding sourcing as well as developing the vision and strategy.

Relevant Qualifications: Grad Dip Youth Work & Ministry with JNC; Level 3 Applied Therapeutic Skills; Level 2 Bushcraft, Survival & Wilderness Living Skills, Emergency Outdoor First Aid

Ali Kirkwood, Mentoring Project Manager ­ Ali joined us in June 2016 from the Fostering Support Team at GCC. She brings a wealth of experience in supporting young people and foster parents as well as experience from previous youth work roles. Ali manages our community mentoring project, supporting young people and training and supporting our volunteer mentors.

Relevant Qualifications: Level 3 Applied Therapeutic Skills, Level 3 Play Work, Diploma in Youth and Playwork, Emergency Outdoor First Aid


Dave Willcox, Outdoor Education Programmes Manager

Dave served with the military for 12 years (regular and reserve) and has worked in private security, teaching / assessing and the Outdoor Education Industry ever since. Dave’s outdoor background covers hill & mountain walking, climbing, canoeing, bush-craft and SCUBA diving. His work has taken him all over the world to places such as Morocco, Canada, Thailand, Australia and the Carribean. He joined WAM on a full-time basis in April 2018 and is now Outdoor Education Programmes Manager, overseeing all of our group and 1:1 work in our woodland. Dave loves working and living in the outdoors, and enjoys passing his experience on to others.

Relevant Qualifications: Summer Mountain Leader; Level 2 in Risk Assessment, Climbing Wall Award (Mountain Training), Level 2 Health & Safety at Work, Level 3 Assessing Competence in the Work Environment, Level 3 in the Delivery of Conflict Management Training, Accredited DofE Expedition Assessor (Bronze/Silver/Gold), Level 2 Bushcraft, Survival & Wilderness Living Skills,  Emergency Outdoor First Aid, Food Safety in the Outdoors

Carla Thraves, Community Youth Worker           

Carla is our latest recruit, having joined the team in September 2020. She returned to the UK after having spent the last decade enjoying the sunshine in Spain and California, USA. Her fondness for travel has taken her to over 40 countries. As well as regularly volunteering at youth camps and coordinating a summer camp in Spain, as a trained actress she has worked for many years in Theatre-In-Education, and written and performed her own shows. Alongside working four days a week at WAM, she is a Ministry Trainee at St Luke’s church in Cheltenham. Being an ENFP personality type, she can happily flit between being mature & responsible, and a bit crazy & fun. She is very fond of the outdoors, and games of all kinds. Her role involves running youth groups and courses, drop-in sessions at Winchcombe school and No. 6, as well as researching and planning WAM’s future youth services.

Relevant Qualifications: 1st class BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Dance studies, Diploma in Psychotherapy, Certificate in Applied Christian Studies (A-level equivalent), Level 2 NVQ in Business and Administration, Outdoor Emergency First Aid, and various watersports qualifications.


Leanne Greenwood, Outdoor Education Officer
Leanne is a qualified primary school teacher and loves seeing children reach their full potential. She loves being in the outdoors and is interested in bringing learning outdoors in a fun way.  Leanne is even studying a masters in Outdoor Education which broadens her understanding of current research and topics of an outdoor provision like our woodland. She was previously a Sea Cadet at her local unit and has recently started volunteering there and wishes to develop the collaboration between the organisations! As her image shows she loves Paddleboarding and being on the water, she has previously completed several paddlesports qualifications which through her volunteering at Sea Cadets wants to revisit and possibly become instructor level in the future.

Relevant Qualifications: B.Ed Primary Education with QTS, Level 3 Outdoor First Aid, Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work, Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene, Cache Level 3 Diploma and Certificate in Childcare and Education.


June Yeates, Administrative Support
June moved to Winchcombe 2 years ago with her dog Rosie. She is a retired Customer Service Manager with over 18 years experience. Having previously enjoyed the South African sunshine for some 25 years, she is now enjoying the Winchcombe sunshine. June is volunteers to support WAM with both the financial and general office administration.


All our projects are supported by a small army of over 20 volunteers.

WAM Youth follows a safe recruitment process for all our staff and volunteers which includes an enhanced DBS check.

Please contact us for more information on info@wamyouth.org.uk or 01242 603678.