About Us

The Go Provence team has all the experience needed to run rewarding, fun and safe holidays for adults and children with learning mission statement disabilities.

  • All staff experienced and DBS checked.
  • Staff are First Aid trained to a Red Cross standard, last certified in January 2016.
  • Staff are British and are French speakers.

We have lived in Provence for thirteen years, and in this particular area, the Gorges du Verdon, ten years. We have travelled extensively throughout the region and know it intimately. We are French speakers and are fully integrated into our local community and have a good understanding of local culture. We are registered with the local doctor and nurse and we have access to nearby hospitals.

Mission Statement

Go Provence’s aims to provide non patronising holidays to people who need support on their holiday.  Our holidays are for people with learning disabilities, people with learning difficulties, people with autism and for people who would consider themselves vulnerable.   

We want to improve the holiday and travel experience for our guests by ensuring support is pitched at the least intrusive as possible, whilst remaining safe.  By offering a wide choice of travel and holiday opportunities and by presenting our guests with mainstream culture and activity.

We want our guests to have the opportunity during their holiday to recharge, be inspired and enhance their lives.

Meet the Team

Ian Callen

Ian is the founder and one of the directors of Go Provence. Ian has lived in France for ten years. He has been a qualified teacher since 2007. Ian knows the region extremely well and spends his spare time walking and photographing the Gorges du Verdon.

Ian worked in at The Olive Tree International School teaching photography, horticulture, conservation, biology and astronomy to children with challenging behaviour. In Bristol, England Ian worked for the Brandon Trust, teaching conservation and horticulture to people with learning disabilities. He lives with his wife, Anna, and three children, Joseph, Jasmine and Poppy, in the Provencal village of Esparron de Verdon.

Ian writes a blog about the Gorges du Verdon, where Go Provence is based. Click on the link to have a read. Ian Callen Blog

Ian has a City & Guilds teaching qualification, RHS General and Advanced certificates in horticulture.  Ian is trained in First Aid to British Red Cross Standard (January 2016).  Ian also has training in Epilepsy and Midazolam, Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and the Mental Capacity Act. 

A Few Questions to Ian 

What motivates and inspires you?

To find the beauty or positives in a challenging circumstance or difficult situation.  Living here in Provence is very inspiring, the landscape, nature and people that I meet are triggers to new ideas that usually get filtered into Go Provence somehow.  I love working on an idea that I can trace it's root to the moment it was born.  For example, the idea for supported holidays came in the shed/classroom when I was working for the Brandon Trust, teaching at Elm Tree Farm in Bristol.  Here we are nearly ten years down the line.... please click on the link to continue this profile:  Ian Callen Profile

Neil Manser

Neil is a co-founder and director of the project and has lived in France for twenty years. Neil worked for several years as a classroom assistant at a Dr. Barnardo Special Needs Primary School in Southborough, Kent. He also worked as an art classroom assistant in another special needs school. Neil was often involved with supported holidays to Wales. Neil was involved with a project in Malaysia supporting adults with learning and physical disabilities. Neil is also the chef and prepares all the meals for Go Provence. When he isn't working for Go Provence he lives near St Tropez on the coast.

Neil has a Primary Certificate in Social Care from West Kent College.  Neil is trained in First Aid to British Red Cross Standard (January 2016). Neil also has training in Epilepsy and Midazolam, Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and the Mental Capacity Act.

A Few Questions to Neil

What motivates and inspires you?

I like to make people smile.

To see Neil's full profile please click here.

Najla Dabaa

Najla, from Lancashire in England, who has 8 years experience working with people with learning disabilities, people who need support with their mental health and brain injuries in capacities as both support worker and team manager for various organisations, such as Lifeways Community Care, will join our team for the summer of 2017 for the first time.  An ambitious art student, who has a BA honours degree in Contemporary Applied Arts, fund raiser and keen netball player.

Najla has a BA Honours Degree in Contemporary Applied Arts, a managers award in Person Centred Planning Training, BSC Managers Award in Supervising Staff & Staff Safety, Signalong FD Course in Adult Learning Disability Core Vocabulary, Award Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Safeguarding training, Level 2 NVQ in Health and Social Care, City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care and Autism Training.

A Few Questions to Najla

What motivates and inspires you?

My family/loved ones motivate me. I want to make them proud like they do me. I'm a huge family girl and my best friends mean the world to me. The people I support in my job role as a support worker. I can be more myself around them than anyone. They never judge and love you for who you are. Anyone that works hard to achieve their goals. I see this a lot on Instagram and get lots of motivation from the pictures and videos on there. MUSIC! I can't live with it. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is put music on to put me in a good mood at the start of the day. I have a vast taste. I could be listening to Tracey Chapman one minute then Drake the next. It's important to motivate yourself too. You are your only competition.

To see Najla's full profile please click here

Veronica Cannon

We welcome Veronica to our team, a highly-motivated individual, a proud mum of two lovely daughters, both who are very successful in their chosen careers.  Veronica has been a community support worker in Essex, for the past five years, helping the people that she supports to establish themselves within their local community, a valuable service.  

Veronica keeps herself fit and she loves the outdoors, which includes, swimming, cycling, skiing and walking.  Before Veronica became involved in support work, she was a founding partner of a BMW motorcycle franchise for 10 successful years.  Here she helped also to organise social events and motorcycle tours.

Veronica has qualifications in First Aid, Epilepsy, Food Hygiene, Health and Safety and the Mental Capacity Act.

A Few Questions to Veronica

What motivates and inspires you?

Today it’s my work I just love been around the individuals I support. They are so non-judgemental they accept me into their lives and inspire me. They are always so happy to see me and always make me smile. I enjoy organising events and days out and seeing the happiness and excitement it brings.  
When I was a child it was my mum, she was a wonderful mum and inspired both my brother and myself to embrace life and people. To be kind and work hard and above all, enjoy what you do!  This has stayed with me all my life.
To see Veronica's full profile please Click Here.

Anna Callen

Anna is co-founder and director of Go Provence and has lived in France for ten years. Anna has taught children who have dyslexia and challenging behaviour at The Olive Tree International School. Anna has been a key player and shares the vision of Go Provence. She has a degree in French and Spanish, has worked in the local tourist office and knows our area well.