Retired car dealer awarded MBEBy Stephen Lloyd
June 19, 2012
A FORMER car dealership owner who turned his attention to helping children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Dogmersfield resident Robert Glossop set up the March Foundation in 1995.
The charity takes children with special needs on residential trips, working on the principle that taking children out of their school environment, even for a short time, can drastically help with their development and improve their self-esteem.
Mr Glossop, 74, said: “We work to draw out their individual talents on these trips and they soon realise they can achieve things they never thought possible before.
"They’re different people as soon as they get out of that minibus."
Mr Glossop, the retired owner of the Clover Leaf car dealerships, set up the March Foundation after working as a governor at Dove House School in Basingstoke.
The children at Dove House were taken out on residential visits at least three times a year and Mr Glossop could see the benefits it brought the children.
“It allowed the children to get off site and get away from their normal surroundings," he said.
“We started raising money to get decent facilities outside of the school for these visits and soon realised there was a crying need to provide the same facilities in other schools as well."
The Dogmersfield-based charity now operates residential projects for vulnerable children with learning difficulties at inner-city mainstream schools.
Its three year programme for Years 9, 10 and 11 is designed to lead these children into meaningful and relevant jobs.
Each year the children take part in a project designed to uncover their talents, aptitudes and interests.
The Year 10 four-day package is run by service-trained team leaders in an inspirational country location with the children designing and planning their own version of a wildlife park.
Each project programme, based at a selected inner-city school, costs £10,000 a year (£278 per year for each child) and involves 36 children in the three year group streams.
Mr Glossop, who has lived in Dogmersfield for 45 years, was made an MBE for services to SEN.
"I thought it was absolutely brilliant," he said.
"We're a tiny charity but pioneering a new way of helping these children.
"We don't get much publicity so I was absolutely amazed.
"It's a magic formula but takes a lot of hard work so it was a real boost for us."
Honours were also given to husband and wife team John and Hazel Myers, who were both given an MBE for their services to children and families.
The couple, who are now retired, were given the accolades for their work as foster carers over several years for Hampshire County Council.
At the time of working for the council, Mr and Mrs Myers lived in Farnborough. The pair have since retired to West Sussex