Our Chief Executive
Amelia was appointed Chief Executive in February 2016. She joined Venture Trust in 2010, as Head of Finance & Administration, building upon 17 years prior experience in the public and charity sectors. She has a background in nature conservation working with UK and Scottish statutory advisers to Government, initially in conservation policy and project work before moving into business support with extensive experience in areas of access to information, finance & administration, governance, change management and organisational development. Prior to Venture Trust, Amelia was based in Yorkshire for 4 years working in the higher education sector, during which time she was CEO of Yorkshire Universities, a membership charity which seeks to further the contribution of Yorkshire’s universities to socio-economic wellbeing. Amelia has also led the development of Venture Trust’s social Enterprise – Venture Mòr. Amelia is passionate about supporting people to realise their potential and could not be better placed to take on the demanding challenges of leading Venture Trust charity into a successful future.
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".
Lee Craigie - former British mountain bike champion
Lee is a shining example of what hard work, determination and self-belief can achieve. As a sportswoman and role model, as well as founding member of The Adventure Syndicate, Lee is well placed to inspire young people who may not have had the best start in life.
Things have come full circle, as many years previous, Lee worked for Venture Trust. She graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in Outdoor Education. She freelanced for Venture Trust on the residential course in Applecross and, for the first time, was exposed to a team of outdoor instructors who felt the same way as she did about the personal and social development aspects of the profession.
"The experiences delivered to participants was second to none and I've no doubt we changed lives for the better as a result. I thoroughly support the work that they do and have personal experience of its value.”
Our Board of Directors
Susan Davies (Chair)
Susan Davies is Chief Executive of the Scottish Sea Bird Centre. A former Director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, she also has over 15 years experience working with Scottish Natural Heritage 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.
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.
Over the past 25 years Nicola has worked with a diverse range of global brands, from famous sports brands to pet food giants, from skin care experts to the life and pensions business, and most recently the worlds of whisky and entertainment. From an agency and client side, she has focused on brands and their reinventions, managing this both internally and externally, from strategic repositioning through to successful implementations and the delivery of robust marketing and communications programmes. From 2015, Nicola shaped The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Strategy for Growth. As the business looked to move from being an iconic Edinburgh event, to a global events company, branding, marketing and communications supported and delivered to this strategic ambition. Prior to the Tattoo Nicola managed Standard Life's global roll-out of the new brand and its refreshed visual identity. Nicola is also a long term leader for The Princes Trust and facilitates the Explore Enterprise Programme for Young Entrepreneurs.
Alastair is a qualified actuary and past Chair of the Life Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He has 30 years’ experience in financial services and currently works for Standard Life Aberdeen, where he has held a number of senior executive positions across Finance and Risk. In his current role as Business Risk Review Director he carries out independent review and challenge of new areas of strategy and key strategy enablers. Alastair brings to the Board extensive experience of the development and implementation of risk management frameworks. Outside work, Alastair enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, hill-walking in the summer and skiing in winter.
Katy has worked for NHS Health Scotland, a national NHS Board focused on tackling health inequalities since 2006. As part of her role on child and adolescent public health, she is leading work with a range of partners on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This includes shaping action which will contribute to a Scotland wide movement on the prevention of ACEs and to a more informed response in policy and practice. Prior to working on child and adolescent public health, she led national work on public health’s role in the prevention of homelessness in Scotland and co-authored the Scottish Pubic Health Network’s Report on health and homelessness. Katy was also involved in the health sector’s contribution to Scotland’s National Action Plan on Human Rights and continues to have an interest in how a right to health approach can bring action on health inequalities.
After graduating from university with a degree in Biology, Hugh commenced work in social work, gaining a professional qualification in social work. Since then he has had a career in social work of 45 years, from a basic grade social worker and then management roles of senior social worker, ending up as a senior manager in the Justice section of the social work service in South Lanarkshire. Hugh has had a career interest and specialism in working with offenders, in particular violent offenders and from the start of the MAPPA process he was the chair of MAPPA meetings for South Lanarkshire council. From this time, he also headed up a small unit managing both sex and violent offenders.
Paul Brown is a Summary Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin sitting in Glasgow Sheriff Court. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Paul was a solicitor in private practice prior to calling at the bar in 2009. He established a very busy practice as an Advocate specialising mainly in criminal defence in the High Court prior to being appointed as an Advocate Depute in 2015. His time prosecuting in the High Court included working in the National Sex Crimes Unit and specialising in the prosecution of Serious and Organised Crime. He was appointed as a Summary Sheriff in October 2018.
Jill is a qualified accountant and chartered tax advisor, currently working for The Royal Bank of Scotland. Prior to this she held roles with a Big 4 accountancy practise as well as leading a Finance team in a third sector organisation. Jill brings to Venture Trust 20 years’ experience in Finance roles as well as a good understanding of charity accounts and the challenges faced by the third sector.
Catherine has over 20 years' experience in the finance and energy sector, including 15 years for Wood Mackenzie’s Consultancy team where she focussed on advising companies on their growth strategies and internally on corporate and integration strategy. She has recently worked with start-ups in the design and renewable energy space. Catherine is a qualified Management Accountant and works with Princes Trust delivering their Enterprise programme.
Dr Adam Burley
Dr. Adam Burley is employed by the NHS Lothian Psychotherapy Department, and works as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Edinburgh Access Practice, a service dedicated to the provision of care to individuals who struggle to access mainstream care. He also provides input to wide range of public and third sector organisations across the homeless sector in Scotland. He graduated from St. Andrews University in 1994 with a psychology degree and a large overdraft, and worked at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London before embarking on clinical psychology training in Edinburgh in 1998. He then moved to the east coast of New Zealand, establishing a clinical psychology service in a rural district working with marginalised populations. He returned to Scotland in 2005 to develop the Homeless Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Service which he currently runs. He also works with Health Scotland around early years adversity, and is a board member at Community Justice Scotland. He has a particular interest in health inequalities, exclusion dynamics, early years, and the psychology of adversity. He is obsessed with collecting Munros, 20th century glass and steel frame bikes from the 1980’s.