Well done to David, Ryan and Graeme who braved some extreme winds, and some very cold water to reach the end of their wilderness experience last week.
We based ourselves around Braemar, which gave us a fantastic location from which to play in the Lui gorge on our activity day. Despite how cold the water was the team got stuck right in and even achieved the distinction of having every member of the group jump off the highest rock.
The other great thing about being based around Braemar was that it gave us easy access to some great mountains, and it was into those same mountains that we headed for the expedition stage of the trip. Our first expedition day involved a 7km walk in to our advanced base camp. The team did really well to set up a fantastic camp right on the edge of the loch, and to make sure that they had all had a good meal to help keep themselves warm. After we had all eaten we spent some time talking about what we need from life in order to feel happy, before having a final review of the day, and settling down to try and get some rest before our summit day.
During the night most of us struggled to get much sleep due to the high winds that were hammering our tents. Despite this the team was up early the next day, and after a good breakfast we had our morning check in, and introduced the thread, or focus, for the day. As it was the summit day our thread was challenge, which was very fitting given the lack of sleep, and the high winds. After a quick check that we had all packed enough spare clothes, and food for the day we set off up the mountains.
Lochnagar is a very impressive mountain, which reaches the impressive height of 1155m at its peak. Though the walk up started quite steeply the team worked well together, and we were all grateful of fact that for the first few hours of the climb we were out of the wind. This meant that after the first period of climbing we could have our support sessions near a beautiful waterfall while enjoying the sun.
By the time we got higher on the mountain we had a few members of the group who, despite being very sporty at home, were finding the climb quite tough, and were in need of regular breaks. This was not helped by the fact that as we got higher we became more and more exposed to the high winds. As we reached the plateau before the summit we started to feel their full force. Despite the fact that at this stage we could only hold conversations by shouting we covered the ground to the summit quite quickly.
After some chocolate, and some rest on the summit we started to head down. It was quite late, and with some well established blisters, when we finally reached our camp. With everybody feeling quite tired we got straight on with the task of getting some food. We then only had time for a thorough review before bed.
On the last day of our expedition we had to walk about 6km to the bus. With tired bodies it was nice to have the easy track to walk along. It also gave the group a chance to spend some time walking on their own, so that they had a chance to reflect upon the changes they wanted to make as they started to head back home.
Reaching the bus we were greeted by Andy who had prepared bacon rolls, a nice reward after a tough few days. The final task that the group had was to then fill in their Action Plans, so that they could record those things they had been thinking about on their solo walk.
Though the weather had not made things easy David, Ryan and Graeme did really well to soldier on to the end of the course.
Venture Trust’s ‘Transitions’ programme is designed to help young people resident in Foyers to unlock and make the most of their talents – developing confidence and employability, increasing their ability to access local services and establishing sustainable lifestyles.
It is regularly proven to better equip participants with the skills and attributes needed to access employment, education or training, as well as offering a catalytic shift in attitude and perspective that helps participants plan their move into independent accommodation. In order to make the programme more sustainable and to increase its reach, Venture Trust is offering subsidised places on the programme to the entire Foyer network on a first-come-first-served basis.
“We would like to thank you and all the workers involved in the course which has just finished, for the incredible work you have put in with our young residents. They have really enjoyed the time with you and have come back with positive ideas about what they would like to do and how they can work to achieve their goals. We will now work alongside them to put things in place to use their new skills and experience, and I will let you know how they are doing” – Foyer referrer, 2011
We are delighted that our recent courses for Foyer residents have enabled participants to progress into extremely positive outcomes:
- 90% of participants are showing increased self-confidence
- 88% of participants are showing increased employability
- 82% of participants have increased their stability (and/or accommodation status)
- 82% of participants have improved their bonds with community members
- 76% of participants are making better use of community services and opportunities
- 88% of participants have entered education, employment, training or volunteering.
Demand for places on this programme far exceeds the number of places we have been able to offer in recent years, meaning that many Foyer residents are missing out on the opportunities this programme offers. In order to make best use of scarce funding we have been able to secure for this programme for Foyer residents, from this course onwards we will be asking Foyers to contribute towards the cost of their residents’ participation, thereby enabling us to offer more places to more Foyer residents.
Each place on this programme costs Venture Trust in excess of £3,000, which includes over 180 hours of direct contact time with highly trained staff, the use of specialist equipment and facilities, and all food, fuel, accommodation, insurance and licensing. To make best use of available funds and create as many places on the programme as possible, we are pleased to be able to offer places at a subsidised rate of £1,750 per person.
We appreciate that not all Foyers have access to funding for their residents’ personal development, and we are eager to help Foyers identify potential sources of finance – please contact us to discuss.
For an application form or to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 228 7700.
A brush with showbusiness for our Malawi-based Project Officer this week, as he was invited to speak about Venture Trust's 'Moving On Malawi' programme on Transworld Radio 106.5.
Thanks to our partnerships with the Kachere Police and charity 'Music Crossroads', Greg Watson had the opportunity to share a few thoughts about our work in Malawi:
"Towards the end of the [Moving on Malawi] course we go away to one of the mountains at the invitation of the Chief Mikanga of Ungala and we do some work there, in terms of independence, living skills and again working on some of the group work and choices. Perhaps the most important thing is when the young people come back from that weekend we work individually with each one of them to make an action plan, a goal setting plan of what they want in their lives and how they’re going to get that.
We try to encourage those young people to make better and informed decisions. If a young person wants to become a doctor, we would encourage that and what we do is say “well are you going to school at the moment?” “I’m not going to school” “ well do you think you perhaps need to go to school to start on that process of becoming a doctor?” and it starts very much from day one; what are you going to do? What are you as a young person going to do in your life to make changes?"
- Extract from Transworld Radio interview
You can listen to the entire interview by downloading the audio clip.
Venture Trust's Royal Mile street collection - on Friday 17th July 2012 - was a great success; collecting money for Venture Trust and raising awareness of what we do amongst festival-goers in the city.
Despite a rainy start, our cheery collectors donned fancy dress and big smiles, and headed out to drum up support. A group of our Clackmannanshire participants and staff (above) boosted the numbers after lunch, and the fantastic people at Castle Gift Shop kept us warm and dry, as well as donating the proceeds from their VT collecting tin.
We'd kindly been loaned an Olympic Torch for the day which was a big hit with passers-by, who stopped to have their picture taken with the torch in return for a donation. Many thanks to the lovely Steph Dowling for trusting her precious torch to us for the day, and to our summer Intern Emma Edwards for all her hard work organising the collection.
It was really great to see everyone out spreading the word about Venture Trust, and raising money towards our personal development programmes. To everyone who collected, and everyone who donated: thank you. You're helping someone from a difficult and disadvantaged background to make positive steps towards successful futures.
A BBC News story published today highlights the stories and experiences of young people in care, and highlights the importance of consistent, positive relationships. Venture Trust's Inspiring Young Futures programme supports young people in care to develop the skills and relationships they need to reach positive futures.
X-Factor contestant Ashley John-Baptiste (who was formerly in care himself), has been making a film for the BBC about young people's experience of the care system. As part of his research, he meets one boy who'd lived in 35 care placements, who tells that "one set of foster carers used to send me and my brother away at Christmas because they said that was family time". He meets another who finds herself with all her belongings in black plastic bags in the back of a taxi - having been given so little notice of the move that she'd not had time to pack.
However, he also reports finding great resiliance and motivation amongst those who've been in care:
"I don't want to be in the system no more. I don't want to be in the care system. I don't want to be in no benefits system. If I have a good education, I can obviously get a good job" - Sara, young woman in care.
Ashley's comment in the article - "I'll say to people you can't change your past, but you can change your future" - is strikingly similar to the message of Venture Trust's programmes. Venture Trust's Inspiring Young Futures programme is specifically desgined to help young people in care deal with the challenges they face, and to develop the skills they need to look ahead to more positive futures.
You can read the full story, entitled 'Foster Care: Meeting the boy who lived at 35 address' on the BBC's website.