Our story

our story

We offer hands-on experiences and challenges in the world of food.

We work with those in our society who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or seldom heard. We relish working with people who others find difficult to engage with. 

We deliver practical results to individuals, communities, local authorities and public sector organisations. Our expertise lies in using food in everyday ways to deliver physical and mental health benefits.

We love food and we love people. Our courses and events motivate people to make choices about who they are and what they can be, as well as a reminder of their true worth in society.  

We are a bold and exciting charity achieving life-enhancing outcomes. It is our vision to be the leading UK charity for creating opportunities for life through food.

2017 - We have recently reflected on our projects to date, and refocussed our mission. Our unique skills lie in teaching practical skills to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, and we want to use this to make as much social impact as possible. We have a number or exciting projects including new partnerships with the ‘Going the Extra Mile’ project in Gloucestershire, and Age UK Gloucestershire, as well as continuing our ‘Kitchen Challenge’ training course and our ‘No Person Hungry’ campaign.

2016 – After a fantastic 5-year partnership with National Star working together to run the StarBistros, it was decided to hand the project over to National Star to continue the full leadership of the project. In the summer, we completed the handover of the StarBistros after successfully setting up the restaurants and developing them into a thriving social enterprise model. We moved our HQ office into the heart of the community over in Springbank, Cheltenham, and since then have been having loads of conversations with other voluntary and community organisations to see where Wiggly can add value to other projects and initiatives. 

2015 – A television production company, Two Four, approached Wiggly Worm to deliver our Kitchen Challenge training programme alongside world renowned chef Michel Roux Jnr, to train 8 young people with disabilities wanting to get jobs in the catering industry. Kitchen Impossible was aired in the Autumn.

Our founder, Rob Rees MBE DL, made the exciting decision for him and his family to emigrate to Melbourne, Australia to develop similar project work using food to help people on the other side of the world. We strengthened our Board of Trustees and the Operations Director, Abby, stepped in to the MD role, to continue to get more people to do better across Gloucestershire, using food as the tool.

2014 – Alongside the food poverty crisis, the food industry was throwing away tonnes of surplus food as waste daily. We worked with local companies including Creed Foodservice to take fresh surplus food and upcycle it into nutritious meals for our No Child Hungry programme.  

The StarBistro was continuing to succeed, and we opened another in Cheltenham - StarBistro at Royal Crescent - after a local business kindly gifted the goodwill of a café in Cheltenham, ‘Pepper Crescent’, to the StarBistro partnership. The Wiggly Worm delivery team grew to 21 employees working across the StarBistros and community food projects.

2013 – Our goal was to tackle food poverty in Gloucestershire. We found an awesome 1967 Citroen H van in France which was lovingly restored and converted into our famous Little Green Wiggly Machine, which served delicious street food in Cirencester in the day, with proceeds funding ‘community pop-ups’ which served hot, nutritious meals to those needing it most locally. This led to the launch of our No Child Hungry campaign, working with local businesses who sponsored the cause to ensure children living in food poverty had access to a hot meal during the long school holidays.

2011 – From working with a wide range of people facing disadvantage in their lives, there was a real need to provide a route into employment for people, particularly those with disabilities. We teamed up with the National Star at Ullenwood, working in partnership to create a social enterprise model, providing a real-life working environment for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties to gain the skills required for employment, whilst serving local, ethical, and sustainable food. The StarBistro was born, and went on to achieve numerous local and national accolades and awards in its first years, with the Wiggly Worm team training hundreds of students and scholars behind the scenes.  

2010 – The Wiggly Worm HQ moved to the Food Centre at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, with an industrial kitchen based which would be used to deliver more Kitchen Challenge courses for people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and other long term unemployed people in Gloucestershire.

2007-2009 – The charity was based in an office in Stroud, where Rob and a small team worked on a range of healthy eating projects with children across schools in Gloucestershire. The ‘Kitchen Challenge’ project was also born, originally working with disengaged 14-15 year olds, then with ex-offenders and adults with acquired brain injuries.

2007 Our founder, Rob Rees MBE DL, set up the Wiggly Worm charity to promote the awareness and education of cooking, food skills and nutrition to promote public health. The name came from Rob’s son Jack, who loved food and referred to the famous children’s book ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ as the ‘The Wiggly Worm’. The name sets the scene for learning about the journey of our food from ‘farm to fork’ and in the early days, projects focussed on teaching cooking skills to children. 

our team

FOUNDER

Rob Rees MBE DL founded The Wiggly Worm charity in 2007, and remains an Ambassador for the organisation and its work in reducing inequalities. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia with his family, developing projects around food and inclusion across the country and further afield.
MANAGING DIRECTOR

Abby Guilding is the Managing Director of The Wiggly Worm, leading on the day to day strategic growth and delivery of all the organisations projects. 

Abby is a qualified expert in nutrition, dietetics and teaching, and also a winner of Gloucestershire Media’s Women In Business Award in 2015. She has been with The Wiggly Worm and VCS since 2011, and has been key to the organisations growth and developments. 


"Wiggly’s work changes people and changes lives for the better. Whether it be Kitchen Challenge, our Food Poverty work, or Get Cooking projects, we see in individual’s outcomes that are empowering, and this inspires us to push the boundaries of what people can do even further."

our trustees

As a charity, we are governed by a dedicated board, which advocates sound management, quality in planning and delivery - and constant innovation. Our Board of Trustees have a wide range of skills and expertise.  
Joanna Scott (Chairperson) 

An experienced communications professional with a strong private, public and third sector profile, and functional excellence in corporate and government affairs, media and issues management, CSR and stakeholder engagement. Joanna has worked with Kraft Foods and Princess Diana Memorial fund amongst her portfolio and has been a Non-Executive Director with NHS Gloucestershire Care Services. Joanna loves spending time walking her dog, Dougal.
Robin Moinet (Treasurer)

Director of Kitchen Garden Foods – a Stroud based food company, where they have been making top quality jams, chutneys, marmalades, and condiments under their label since 1989. Robin has been instrumental with his wife Barbara in the development of the organisation from the start, to its now current strong position as a well-known brand and well-run company. Robin is a big fan of France where they have a holiday home to chill out in.
‘Being on the Wiggly board appeals to me because … I believe that food is a powerfully fundamental tool for positive change. What Wiggly does is real and practical, useful for life and confidence-giving. It makes a positive, fundamental difference to people’s lives.’
Tim Russon 

Tim has over 40 years’ experience in sports journalism and communications and a former Board Member of Cheltenham Town Football Club where he had responsibility for the club's commercial and media activities including the website, match day programme, retail sales, public relations and revenue generation. Tim loves cycling.


Hannah Andrews

Hannah is a commissioner of services within Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group with a background in nursing. Hannah has also worked for many years in areas of overcoming unemployment for individuals with mental health issues and long term unemployed. Hannah is a big cat lover and is a regular volunteer on Wiggly Worm projects.

Geraldine Mark

Geraldine has 30+ years’ experience in education and educational publishing, as teacher, editor, writer, editorial trainer, manager; in-depth knowledge and understanding of language learning and learning delivery, learning styles, and educational resources from concept to publication, including digital resource, online and classroom-based. Geraldine loves to run and is a keen volunteer on Wiggly Worm projects.

“I’m feeling excited and very privileged to be joining Wiggly having watched them grow over the years. They have done so much for so many but there is always more ahead. More food to serve up, more people to help and more challenges to meet - so here’s to more Wiggly for years to come.”

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We truly value every penny donated to us in an economy that is as tough as it gets. 
Thank you for all you donate.
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