Last night, we didn't win Charity of the Year at the Scottish Charity Awards. We didn't collect a trophy or get to make a tearful acceptance speech. And whilst of course we're delighted for all the winners, especially the Scottish SPCA who collected both the People's Choice Award and the Charity of the Year trophy, we couldn't help being a teensy bit disappointed.
But then we got a hold of ourselves.
A reality check: This year, we were shortlisted as one of the top five charities in Scotland. In response, we saw the biggest outpouring of support from our participants, referrers and supporters, of which the following is only a tiny selection:
Fantastic news – congratulations to the whole team – Inspiring Scotland
Couldn't think of a better charity to vote for :) what a massive difference you make to people! Its the least I can do to say thank you x – Laura, participant
I already vote venture trust. I love venture trust – Innocent, participant
Congrats to one of our partners: @venturetrust shortlisted Charity of the Year at #scotcharityawards! – Hilton in the Community
I saw this article below and wanted to pass on my congratulations for being shortlisted for the awards. A big well done from all at RBS to the whole team at Venture Trust – RBS
To be shortlisted for this award - in a year when the SCVO received more nominations than ever before, when demand on charities is bigger than ever, and when we're all having to do more with less - is a phenomenal achievement. As many of our participants know, life doesn't always go exactly the way you wanted it to. At those points, you reflect how far you've come, how much you've achieved already, you put a big smile on your face and you go on - bigger and better and with more determination than ever before.
And if we were preparing that big tearful thank you speech, we'd say thanks to you - for coming here, for keeping up to date with our news, for supporting our achievements and coming along on this journey with us. Our staff, volunteers, supporters - and most of all - our participants: Thank you. We couldn't have done it without you.
Staff at the Sainsbury’s Quartermile Edinburgh store raise an incredible £3,238.15 for Venture Trust!
Over the past year, from June 2012 until May 2013, all of the staff at the Sainsbury’s Quartermile store in Edinburgh have managed to raise a fantastic £3,238.15 for Venture Trust! The staff have been involved in a variety of fun and challenging activities, ranging from a face painting stall during Halloween last October to a Christmas raffle in December to the daunting Forth Rail Bridge Abseil in May. Furthermore, as well as donating £90 of products to Venture Trust over the year for other small community events, the store provided £250 worth of hygiene packs for the young people Venture Trust work with, which made a real difference in helping to support their independence.
Neil, Deputy Manager from the Sainsbury’s Quartermile store said, “It has definitely been one hell of a year and we have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in lots of different activities, especially the abseil, which was a challenge I particularly relished! We are really looking forward to working with Venture Trust for another year and partaking in many more fun events”.
Kathryn, Venture Trust's Funding and Communications Manager remarked, "It’s been fantastic to work with Sainsbury’s Quartermile over the past year. Their enthusiasm to get involved has meant we’ve been able to work together in a whole range of ways – from facepainting and raffles to baking and shaking buckets. They’ve gone beyond simply raising money too – donating products which have been absolutely invaluable in supporting our participants towards adulthood and independence. Perhaps the highlight of our partnership was seeing a committed team of Sainsbury’s staff abseiling off the Forth Bridge for us – here’s to lots more adventures over the year ahead"!
Last Friday’s bake sale, with the help of the Sainsbury’s Quartermile store, was a fantastic event and great start to Venture Trust and Sainsbury’s Quartermile’s partnership for 2013-2014. New store manager Karen said, "The staff last year did a great job and I'm excited about working with Venture Trust this year, especially after the success of the bake sale last friday, and raising even more money for such a great charity"!
A massive thank you to all the Sainsbury’s Quartermile staff that participated in and helped with the fundraising events the store did this year and everyone at Venture Trust is really looking forward to working with many of you again, as well any new staff that have started this year, to raise even more money!
Venture Trust, with the help of many local businesses, our staff and participants, held its FIRST EVER bake sale!
Preparations for Venture Trust’s first ever bake sale started on the afternoon of Thursday 6th June, when two of our outreach workers, Steph and Eve, organised for three of the young people they work with to come in and help bake some cakes and make some bunting for the stall. Shane, Sean and Tami made an array of goodies, ranging from malteser cheesecake to rocky road. After a few hours of baking and creativity, Shane said, “This is great fun, I haven’t done any baking since school and I’m better at it than I thought I was”. Venture Trust outreach worker Steph remarked at the end of the afternoon, “Shane, Sean and Tami have all done a fantastic job and they should be really pleased with themselves. It is great to get everyone working together as a team. I must also say a huge thank to Hobbycraft in Edinburgh who donated lots of material for our fabulous bunting”.
The following morning, on Friday 7th June, we were armed with the lovely goodies made by Shane, Sean and Tami, a fantastic selection of cupcakes, generously donated to us by Bibi's Bakery and The Purple Pig Cafe, as well as a variety of cakes, shortbread and truffles made by Venture Trust’s very own staff, we knew we were ready to go! After arriving outside Sainsbury’s Quartermile to set up the stall, where it was a chilly start to the day, it slowly began to get warmer, just in time for the lunchtime rush, with Shane, Sean and Tami’s rocky road, in particular, selling like hotcakes. With some further flurries of interest in the afternoon, the day flew by and we finished with barely anything left and raised a fantastic £125!
A huge thank you to our three participants, Shane, Sean and Tami for their incredible efforts, to both Bibis Bakery and The Purple Pig Cafe for their generous donations of cupcakes, to all Venture Trust staff, to Sainsbury’s Quartermile, to Hobbycraft Edinburgh and finally to Jokers Masquerade for providing the antlers used in our event photos. Without all of these contributions the day would not have been the success it was, so thank you.
On Friday 7th June, our bake sale was not the only one organised to raise money for Venture Trust. Our Finance Assistant Jane and daughter Shona were responsible, with eight other pupils, who were all dressed in onesies, and their parents for a bake sale at Stewart’s Melville College. Jane said, “Friday’s bake sale was really fun and, although it was a bit hectic at times with such a long queue of kids, it was a great success”. A huge thank you to Jane, Shona and all the pupils at Stewart’s Melville College who were involved in the bake sale and helped raise a fantastic £155 for Venture Trust.
Has all this talk of cake whetted your appetite to do a bake sale, create your own fun event or get involved in one of our events to raise money for Venture Trust?! Either visit our events page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about your event and what you’re doing to raise money for Venture Trust!
Venture Trust had the opportunity to hear the unbelievable story of James Horton and the work of Homeboys Industries, which Braveheart Industries are hoping to replicate in Scotland.
On Tuesday 4th June, Venture Trust met the incredible James Horton to hear about how he managed to change his life forever, exchanging gang crime, prison and time on death row for a murder he did not commit, for employment, good health and personal happiness, with the help of Homeboys Industries, leaving his entire criminal past behind him.
As all audience members awaited his story with bated breath, James began by explaining that he initially looked to gangs for a sense of belonging, after feeling neglected by his own family, which for many years forced him in and out of prison, until he settled with his Dad in Chicago. However, after returning to the outside world, Horton merely replaced gang crime with drug crime, where he found himself framed, by his best friend, for a murder he did not commit, landing him on death row for 12 years.
After eventually being acquitted, James returned to the real world where everything appeared so alien to him... “I remember an assistant asking me to fill in an online form and I looked blankly at them. They responded by saying do you not know how to use a computer? With which I replied, well I have been in prison for a very long time and have only just been released, which provoked a look of shock and disbelief, as well as a response of ummm.” James went on to say, “I couldn’t understand the concept of people having mobile phones, computers and laptops. The only place I remember seeing anything like that was in Star Trek being used by Captain Kirk!”
Shortly after being released, Horton was referred and advised to work with Homeboys Industries. The organisation helped him to improve his education, health and employment prospects, eventually landing him a job. Homeboys Industries supports those with long criminal records, not only enabling them to become honest taxpaying citizens, but by supporting them to overcome their underlying problems, which can be anything ranging from education to health. James specifically said, “Homeboys is a great organisation that focuses on the profits of the trainee and their development not the financial aspects of the project”.
James and other representatives from Homeboys Industries have spent the last week travelling all over the UK with Braveheart Industries (a Glasgow based organisation) who want public backing to replicate the success of what Homeboys Industries has achieved to implement a similar scheme in Scotland. Ian, from Braveheart Industries, yesterday remarked: “James is a perfect example of how successful this scheme is. Crime is currently a vicious cycle, as soon as offenders are released from prison they are straight back in again. We have visited many prisons this week and hundreds of inmates strongly support and welcome the idea of a project similar to the one established by Homeboys Industries”.
Venture Trust can particularly resonate with what Braveheart Industries is trying to implement. Our Living Wild programme that works with people caught up in the criminal justice system to enable them to find employment, further education and training opportunities runs on a similar principle to the Braveheart Industries’ idea. It was extremely apparent during James Horton’s discussion of the journey he undertook to remove himself from the criminal justice system that Venture Trust’s own participants can relate to his story. Although, his lasting inspirational words of “make sure you believe in yourself”, and “all we need to do is help each other and we can achieve anything” are not only the sorts of words our previous participants can resonate with, but also ones that will certainly be poignant to every individual worldwide.
Our friends and colleagues in Malawi - Eithne Lynch and Ruth Dowling - accept the Irish Law Awards 2013 honour for their human rights work with Irish Rule of Law International in Lilongwe, Malawi.
This short film features footage from Kachere Reformatory Centre, home of Venture Trust's Moving On - Malawi programme. Some of those featured in the film will be travelling to Scotland later this year to spend time with Venture Trust, as part of our handover of the programme to local partners.
Documentary by film maker Mr Patrick Garety.