We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a significant grant from the Scottish Government to help fund our Living Wild programme, supporting men and women in Scotland caught up in the cycle of offending.
The Scotland-wide programme, with match funding provided by European Social Funds, the Armed Forces Covenant, and a small number of trusts and foundations, will support 320 men and women involved in the criminal justice system. In the last five years alone, 2,218 individuals have been supported through our Community Justice services, helping them to make positive changes in their lives, enabling individuals to move away from offending.
Working closely with established community justice partners, the programme focuses on personal development, centred around a 10 day journey through Scotland’s wilderness. Our experienced team of staff, skilled in experiential learning techniques and cognitive behavioural approaches combined with the outdoors, activity and nature all act as a catalyst for change, and allow individuals to learn life skills, break negative cycles and habits, and build confidence and motivation to address issues that lead to offending behaviour.
Personal development starts in communities led by a Venture Trust Outreach Worker supporting individuals through one-to-one and group work. The funding enables this essential support to be in place for individuals for up to 12 months, as well as employability training and help to transfer skills and build resilience to underpin positive and sustained change.
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive Officer for Venture Trust, commented:
“We are delighted to receive the support of the Scottish Government which will help us to provide what is an essential service to so many men and women caught up in the cycle of offending. Our Living Wild programme has been proven to reduce re-offending, enabling men and women to break the cycle of negative behaviours, that change is possible and to work towards greater stability, healthier and more productive lives. With this funding we will be working proactively with community justice partners to complement the range of targeted provision focused on rehabilitation and reducing offending in communities.”
For more information about our Living Wild programme, please click here.
Military media channel, Forces TV and BFBS Radio visited the latest Positive Futures journey on 17 February to make a short film about the work Venture Trust is doing to support veterans. The film crew spent a day talking to staff and participants, finding out about personal stories, and the personal development work which takes place during a wilderness journey. We would like to thank Forces TV/BFBS Radio for taking the time to visit and to help raise awareness of the support that is avilalbe at Venture Trust for veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life. The film is now live on the Forces TV website.
Click here to see the short film.
A three year independent evaluation of our Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) Programme is underway and will report in 2019. IYF supports young people aged 16 to 21 (a small number are care experienced young people up to the age of 25) who face employability barriers and aims to help participants to reach positive destinations in employment, education, training, volunteering and to develop a stable sustainable lifestyle.
An independent evaluation team from The Lines Between are running a survey to gather views and experiences of the programme from referrers, programme funders and other stakeholders as well as other organisations working with the target group. We would be extremely grateful if you could take part in this survey, which should take 10 minutes at most to complete. The survey is entirely confidential and you will not be asked for your name or contact details.
To complete the survey please click on the link below.
For further information about this evaluation or the Inspiring Young Futures programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, joined a group of veterans on a Scottish wilderness retreat as part of the our Positive Futures programme.
The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, awarded us a grant, worth £689,453, for a three-year trial, to provide additional support to as many as 120 ex-Service men and women from across Scotland who are struggling with the transition to civilian life. The programme is available to those who are unemployed or in temporary accommodation, who struggle with low self-confidence or who have a history of drug and alcohol misuse.
Participants are supported through a three phase programme. The first phase – referral and engagement – consists of one-to-one sessions that provide participants with advice on employment, personal development and, where appropriate, referral to partners such as drug and alcohol treatment services.
The second phase is a specially designed ‘wilderness journey’ - a programme of personal development and learning in the outdoors with frequent one-to-one and group support sessions away from the challenges of everyday life. Over an intensive five day course, participants are given additional support to develop the transferable skills they need to rebuild their lives and move towards independence and employment. So far, 37 participants have taken part in the wilderness journeys, and anecdotal evidence has been that each group is very different from the next; the demographic is again very different from the other programmes, consisting of an older age group, and at present, very few females. These are capable people who have perhaps done demanding jobs. Their skills are already there; they just need help with redeploying them.
Participants in the third and final phase benefit from ongoing support focused on priorities for development including funded internships, employment support and volunteer peer mentoring, particularly to support others to move forward positively with their lives.
The impact of the project is being independently evaluated, with researchers assessing its impact on participants’ lives and whether its methodology can be extended.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“It was fantastic to join eight service men [and women] under canvas at the end of their wilderness journey.
Learning about their personal circumstances and how the programme has supported them so far is truly inspiring. The ex-Service community has a diverse range of needs and it is vitally important they have access to the right kind of support which needs to be tailored to smooth what can sometimes be a challenging transition into civilian life.
The first year of the Positive Futures programme has just completed, and I look forward to the independent evaluation of the programme to better understand any men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, and struggle with the return to civilian life, can get the support they need.”
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive of Venture Trust, said: “We were delighted that Ray joined the group on the latest Positive Futures journey. This really sent a positive message of support to our participants. For all of those leaving the military, it marks a complete change. Most of those thrive, going on to have successful careers and balanced lives. But for a small minority the transition to civilian life can be overwhelming and confusing which can lead to a multitude of negative circumstances. The Positive Futures programme offers veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many will go on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes. FiMT funding of the Positive Futures programme is pivotal to supporting veterans with a commitment to maximising the positive impact for individuals, their families and wider communities across Scotland.”
For more information about the Positive Futures programme, click here.
Keith Brown, Veterans Minister met with participants from our Positive Futures programme at our National Participant Centre in Stirling, to hear their stories, and talk about how the scheme has changed things for them.
The event provided a chance for the veterans to discuss their experiences on the programme, and the impact it has had on their lives. It was also an opportunity for them to speak to Mr Brown about what is being done to support the small but significant number of veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.
Positive Futures, funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), does just that: supports veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life. The programme includes an intensive 5-day wilderness journey in the Highlands where outdoor activity and experiential learning techniques are used as a mechanism for unlocking and redeploying skills, building confidence and raising aspiration. Following this journey, the participants, of all ages and length of service, are given support to achieve their goals. For many this will result in utilising the skills learnt in service, and applying these skills to prepare them for employment, education, training or volunteering.
These veterans are on their way to reaching positive destinations, working towards managing what can be very challenging life circumstances as a result of leaving the military behind. Their struggle to adapt to civilian life can often lead to homelessness, isolation, addiction, abuse, breakdown of family relations, and long term unemployment.
Amelia commented: “We were delighted that Mr Brown visited us at our National Participant Centre, which sent a really positive message of support to our participants – for those past, and those about to head out on the next Positive Futures journey. For all of those leaving the military, it marks a complete change. Most of those thrive, going on to have successful careers and balanced lives. But for a small minority the transition to civilian life can be overwhelming and confusing which can lead to a multitude of negative circumstances. The Positive Futures programme offers veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many will go on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes.”
Mr Brown, Veterans Minister said: “I am delighted to see a truly innovative project like the Venture Trust Positive Futures Programme underway in Scotland, delivering valuable support for veterans.
Our veterans are an asset to Scotland and deserve the best possible support and care we can provide. The Positive Futures Programme is a great route for veterans who have struggled with transition, and it was a pleasure to meet some of the participants who have found it very beneficial.”
For further details of the Positive Futures programme, click here.