Our Chief Executive
Amelia joined Venture Trust in June 2010 as Head of Finance & Administration. For the last three years she has also taken on the role of Head of Development for Venture Trust’s social enterprise, Venture Mòr. So she could not be better placed to take on the demanding challenges of leading Venture Trust charity into a successful future. Amelia is passionate about supporting people to realise their potential. Many people who Venture Trust supports have experienced considerable and complex challenges in their lives. They often have incredibly low self-esteem, and in many cases have been told they will not amount to anything. Their aspirations are based around surviving and getting by, whilst relationships are fractured, and behaviours destructive. She is committed to enabling Venture Trust to help more people to change their lives for more positive futures.
We are delighted to have the support of Baroness Vivien Stern as Patron of Venture Trust’s work.
Baroness Vivien Stern
Vivien Stern, Member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, and renowned author on the subjects of penal reform and criminal justice, is our Patron for Venture Trust in the UK: "I am very happy to be a Patron of Venture Trust. Everything I have seen of the Trust’s work is very impressive and it is clear that their personal development wilderness journey work is very challenging and really does help young people to find strengths in themselves that they didn’t know they had".
Our Board of Directors
Mairi Brackenridge (Chair)
Mairi started her career as a social worker in London, with a number of social work roles in Glasgow and Strathclyde before becoming Head of Adult and Justice Services, in South Lanarkshire, with responsibility for a range of adult services including substance misuse, mental health, disability and justice services. In 2009, following early retirement, Mairi has moved into consultancy and holds a non-executive role with Indepen-dance, a company that offers integrated dance with disabled people.
Susan Davies is Chief Executive and Accountable Officer at Scottish National Heritage, with over 15 years’ experience with the organisation, including a secondment to the Rural and Environment Science department at the Scottish Government. Susan brings to Venture Trust a detailed understanding of the Scottish Government, public sector priorities and funding opportunities, and has long-term experience of volunteering with and mentoring young people.
Gillian is a qualified Chartered Accountant. She spent 17 years with the large professional services firm, Andersen, specialising in audit and corporate finance. Since 2002, Gillian has been providing senior financial and corporate finance services as a business consultant to high growth, predominantly technology companies. Gillian brings to the Board a track record and expertise in business start-up and growth coupled with an in depth knowledge of financial management and strategy.
Gillian is also a non executive Director of Couples Counselling Lothian and Art in Healthcare.
Dan was born in Edinburgh in 1950 but brought up in the North East of Scotland as a Son of the Manse. He attended Aberdeen University, later Birmingham, and on a part-time basis Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He spend two year teaching in Nigeria under the auspices of VSO. Dan joined the Scottish Prison Service in 1975, going on to hold various posts including Governor of Barlinnie Special Unit, Greenock, Polmont, Edinburgh and Glenochil. His particular areas of interest include Equality and Diversity, Health Care, Elderly Prisoners, Sex Offenders and Partnership Working. Dan has been the Chair of Six Circle since 1997 and Vice Chair of Scottish Association for the Study of Offending (SASO) since 1998.
Dan is married with two daughters, and lives in Dunblane. His church involvement includes as Presbytery Elder and Treasurer of Dunblane Council of Churches. He received O.B.E.in 2008 for public and voluntary service.
Michael W Heasley is the Vice President of Customer Insight at Barclaycard, with a wealth of experience in the customer insight and information management fields in both banking and private sector organisations. Michael joins us in 2015 as a strong advocate of building life skills in an outdoor setting.
Professor Peter Higgins
Peter Higgins is a Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education at the University of Edinburgh, and is the only personal chair in the field in Europe. He holds high-level instructional awards in a wide range of outdoor activities, and teaches practical and academic aspects of postgraduate outdoor and environmental education programmes. He is a member of national and international advisory groups and EU and UNESCO educational projects, and has advised the UK and Scottish Governments on outdoor and environmental education, access to the countryside and related environmental issues. He has conducted extensive research and published widely in these fields.
Jennifer Lambert is a director with Blake Stevenson Ltd., an Edinburgh-based company providing social research and consultancy support to the public and third sectors in Scotland and other parts of the UK. She has been with the company for nine years, working prior to that in a senior role in the Scottish European Social Fund Objective 3 Partnership. Before returning to these roles in Scotland, Jennifer worked for a number of years in programme and project management for Price Waterhouse Vienna and another Vienna-based consultancy company in Austria. She brings to the board experience of working with young people, a comprehensive understanding of the third sector in Scotland, funding expertise and a passion for social justice.
Tom Mallows is a Development Manager for The Crown Estate, responsible for management of offshore infrastructure assets and business development in Scotland. Tom has a range of high level experience within environmental organisations including General Manager for SMRU Ltd, the commercial arm of the Sea Mammal Research Unit, SEPA and SNH. Tom is an outdoors enthusiast, being an active orienteer, triathlete, trail runner and a Duke of Edinburgh expedition leader.
Mel is a lawyer with Burness Paull LLP. She has specialised in employment and discrimination law for over 17 years, and advises clients in the public, third and private sector on all aspects of employment law and industrial relations. She is an experienced employment tribunal advocate - regularly handling complex, high value claims involving issues such as discrimination and whistleblowing. She brings to the board a wealth of experience in equality, diversity and HR issues.