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About EnviroAbility


EnviroAbility Limited is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and is registered in England and Wales with registered number 3798789 and registered charity number 1076428.

Early Days . . .

Established in 1999 and based in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, It’s been carrying out its work in various guises since 1993 when a local community recycling group was set up that provided employment for people with learning disabilities and associated that employment with a great cause – a powerful initiative to protect the environment.

It was a great success. Our team of workers were given valued, productive roles in the community, we challenged negative perceptions, and so we began to positively change how a whole community feels about and interacts with disadvantaged groups and how these disadvantaged individuals feel about themselves.

Developing projects for the community and environment, allowing abilities and ideas to grow

This crucial work has continued and expanded. Our primary aims are to set up, develop, manage and promote projects that integrate people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, the long term unemployed, and people with mental health or addiction issues, and that benefit the community and the environment.

What We Do . . .

We provide people from these disadvantaged groups with real work opportunities and experiences that are both valuable and visible to the larger community, ensuring that we offer services that local people want and that otherwise would not be available. And so, individuals and groups often marginalised have become accepted and integrated with their skills and self-esteem transformed.

Rather than simply focusing on ‘what’ we do, we put a great deal of energy into the ‘way’ or ‘how’ we do it. Developing projects for the community and environment, allowing abilities and ideas to grow – that’s what we do!

We don’t come up with the projects and make people fit into them. We get the people and make the projects work for them.

We’ve been heading down the road of enabling for a while now. What has been achieved is so simple, yet out of the ordinary, that we always encourage people to come and have a look for themselves to see how it has worked. We have established a structure that listens to and enables people that use the service to shape its growth and development, developing our own version of what nowadays is referred to as “Circles of Support”. We listen to our service users, facilitating them to understand their own abilities, find out what they do best and to identify and develop their project or role.

How We Do It . . .

We don’t follow a conventional project approach with time constrained activities fitting into existing social structures, but more as an ENABLER, working organically, grounded in what already exists, and then extending that capability outwards. We don’t come up with the projects and make people fit into them. We get the people on board, often with complex and varied needs, who may struggle to fit into roles with other charities, and make the projects work for them.

All our supported projects must pass a filtering process. They must be good for the environment, they must be valued by and of value to the local community and the town, and they must provide opportunities to the disadvantaged. We think ahead and draw onboard potential employers as part of the process of developing valued roles. Indeed, they, and the general public, are behind the initiatives that have lead to opportunities for full employment.

EnviroAbility empowers and puts people in contact to make things happen.

Involving The Wider Community . . .

By favouring a “total buy-in” approach when assessing projects and their impact, we’ve made EnviroAbility a truly town-owned initiative, with the enthusiasm and energy of our service users and employees stimulating the involvement of local people and embedding us deep within the community. If as many sections of the population can be engaged in what we do, from the disadvantaged to local business leaders, this shared experience improves the quality of our activities and changes the culture from the ground level up.

EnviroAbility empowers and puts people in contact to make things happen. We link and enable people and groups, helping them to realise that most things are achievable, and try to infect people with the enthusiasm to become involved. We see ourselves as a vibrant collection of individuals working together towards a more integrated cohesive community where all people are valued and anyone can get involved.

How About You? . . .

There are always opportunities for people to give a little of their time and ability to contribute. We’re also open to discussing opportunities for developing partnership, strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility.

For us the next project is always the most exciting. With The Chairman and the rest of The Board drawn from local industry, with the projects well connected and supported by local businesses and with our workers and volunteers contributing, making their mark and becoming ambassadors, we ensure that the service user ideas we put our energy into can succeed.

Whilst we aim to do good things we also aim to do it by self-funding – charging for our services where we can, running our retail businesses and selling our recycled goods.

Are you interested? Just get in touch…

Phone: 01989 763388

EnviroAbility Board Members

Antony Lowther

Antony Lowther is currently the Chair of EnviroAbility which mostly involves signing cheques and turning up for photo opportunities – it’s a great job!

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Antony was born in Whitchurch and still lives just a mile from where he was born. He attended school in Monmouth and university in Cardiff. His first career was selling soap products for Proctor and Gamble before he joined the family business of AJ Lowther and Son Ltd which specialises in the design and manufacture of steel framed buildings for industrial and agricultural clients up and down the country.

Married to Ania with one son Ayrton and two dogs Aimee and Annika, Antony has a preference for all things named with an A. He is also on the boards of the Whitchurch and Ganarew Memorial Hall and the Tudorville and District Community Centre.

Debbie Terry

Debbie Terry has been an EnviroAbility Board member for many years. Having spent her entire working life as a Human Resources manager in BT, she retired in 2008 only to immediately take up a new part-time role as Manager of BT’s own charity, the BT Benevolent Fund .

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She grew up in Essex and attended Warwick University as well as later doing a Masters at Aston Business School. She now has various charity interests including being on the Board of the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance.

Debbie lives in Monmouth and is widowed with one grown up daughter. Her main hobby is travel with recent trips having included Peru, Georgia and Vietnam, as well as theatre-going and walking her labradoodle.

Melanie Mellor

Melanie Mellor was born in Essex and spent her growing up years in Dorset. Having completed teacher training in London she moved to the Ross area 30 years ago.

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She has been a teacher of children with special educational needs for 28 years in Ross and has taught several of the young people now working very successfully with Enviroability.

Melanie very much enjoys being on the ‘board’ and tries to get her head around the many projects the clients and volunteers are involved with!

Dennis Humble

Dennis grew up in South East London/ North Kent area. Sport and speed were the things that motivated him. He served an apprenticeship in precision Metal work.

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Thanks to a couple of interesting Motor bike accidents changed his role to teaching people with Disabilities skills to gain work experiences. He developed to working in institutions where 1800 people lived in what was called “home”. He studied the Management of Change and ended up working at region level in the Services. He realised the posts he had were more political than practical so brought a converted coach and spent a few years driving to India and back, working in communities that needed a hand.

Since returning to Britain he has sort jobs that allows him to make a difference. This brought him to Ross in 1993 he was employed to help manage services for people with disabilities. His refreshing approach of being able to see people’s ‘ability’ to contribute soon had an affect on the service development. Others shared this concept, which resulted in the development of EnviroAbility.

Back in 2005 Dennis and the team were awarded the Beacon Prize for England, for his contribution to people with disabilities and the environment, sharing the stage with People like Sir David Rowe-Beddoe, Economic and Social Development Wales, and Professor Peter Guthrie for his contribution to humanitarian programmes worldwide.

Dennis has recently retired from being the General Manager of EnviroAbility and has accepted a seat on the board. He is also a board member of The Basement Youth Trust here in Ross.

Daniel Madge

Daniel Madge is a parent carer representative on the board of EnviroAbility.

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He has worked for the NHS in a variety of roles for 20 years and prior to that in the voluntary sector for an organisation supporting people with enduring mental health problems. He left Manchester eight years ago, where he worked as the Social Inclusion and Innovation Manager to work in Wales. He is currently employed as a Organisational Development Practitioner in the Welsh NHS. He has special interests in managing complex social systems, sustainability, staff engagement and leadership development.

Daniel has an BAHons from Liverpool University, a Masters Degree in NHS Management and a Diploma in Institute Personnel and Development. He has recently studied Group Dynamics at the Tavistock Consultancy Service and Complexity at Schumacher College.

In recent years he has volunteered with English Heritage to test build Neolithic Houses for the new visitor centre at Stone Henge and completed a fire walk in aid of the Bristol Children’s Hospital. He is also a committee member for CCAA, a charity supporting children with Arthritis.

Daniel grew up in Hereford and currently lives in Goodrich with his wife and three children.

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