News for 2015

  • | News | Participant stories

    Walking in a winter wonderland

    Transitions to Independent Living

    Wilderness journey: December 2015

    The weather on our latest wilderness expedition added a festive theme to the journey and provided participants with some additional challenges…

    The participants were taking part in Venture Trust’s Transitions to Independent Living programme, which is designed for those living in temporary supported accommodation, unstable tenancies or considered at risk of homelessness. The course helps participants to develop their confidence, relationships, employability and other skills necessary to secure and sustain permanent accommodation.

    Six of the participants came from the slightly warmer climes of London and the surrounding area, and arrived with energy and excitement, despite delays on their 6-hour train journey. On arrival, they met the other participants at our Stirling base who came from Aberdeen and the group soon bonded during a meal - fish and chips in Pitlochry.

    At Kinloch Rannoch Outdoor Centre the group created a great buzz and supportive culture. There was a positive energy as many of the participants stepped out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves, taking part in activities including climbing and abseiling.

    The group set out from the centre ready for their expedition with the weather dry but cold. It wasn't long before the weather started to deteriorate but they were able to set up camp, cook dinner on their Trangia stoves and settle in for the night under canvas in the Scottish wilderness.

    When they awoke and peered out of their tents the group faced a different type of challenge - heavy snow. Some of the participants described it as a "winter wonderland" or something from Disney's 'Frozen', however, on assessment, the Venture Trust team decided the challenges presented by the snow were too great so the decision was made to retreat back to the outdoor centre.

    The change in plans provided an unexpected real-life scenario on which to demonstrate one of the cornerstones of Venture Trust's approach - Choice Theory/Reality Therapy. This framework helps participants to distinguish between what they can and cannot control, and to try to control only the controllable. Everyone dealt well with the change to the expedition and with the snow remaining constant over the next few days it certainly proved to be the right decision.

    At the centre, the group continued to enjoy the experience and challenges of communal living. Being snowed in, alternative group activities were arranged and these included a Come Dine with Me competition which turned out to be very competitive - with some honest feedback and scoring. The group also got back outside to go on a forestry walk with lots of learning around the theme of 'Self, others and the environment' along with a few snow ball fights to keep everyone going.

    When the weather had improved enough, the group were taken out for their biggest challenge - ‘mountain day’ on Schiehallion, one of Scotland’s best known Munros. The group walked part of the way up this classic Munro, with some making it higher than others, but with levels of commitment high for all. Each participant exceeded their own expectations, contending with tricky conditions and snow drifts up to their knees. Later in the day they also took part in role play exercises focussing on 'triggers' and how to control behaviour to gain positive consequences.

    The last day of the course focused on participant's ‘Quality World’ (what they want out of life) and the strategies that they can use to get there. With support from their 1-1 field team member, they also completed an action plan outlining their goals and ambitions for the coming days, weeks and months.

    On all of Venture Trust’s wilderness journeys, the weather may significantly influence how the course will evolve. This Transitions journey was no different, being full of changes due to the snow. However, the group adapted well to these and were able to press on and overcome the challenges presented to them. This will serve them well as they continue their personal journeys.

    Merry Christmas and good luck in the future to all the participants from the field team - Sally, John, Polly, Gregor and Stu.

    See yourself differently.

    More information on our Transitions to Independent Living programme can be found here. This course would not be possible without the support of our funders. A big thanks to Dulverton Trust, Scottish Government Housing Voluntary Sector Grant Scheme, Simon Gibson Charitable Trust and the Mackintosh Foundation.

  • | News

    Nature a respite from chaotic life

    Time in the outdoors proves to be a springboard for success

    Venture Trust features in The Scotsman showcasing the positive impact on young people by focusing on intensive personal development acquiring life skills such as communication, building positive relationships with others, self-management and taking responsibility for actions. However, it is not enough to just provide a respite from a chaotic life. All of these young people then have to return to the environment and the catalysts that led to them being referred to Venture Trust in the first place. It is the help that each participant receives that then allows them to build upon what they have learnt and make positive changes in their life. A plan is devised together with the participant, outlining goals they would like to achieve, and with one-to-one support, working out a way to get there. This might be to find a home, kick an addiction, and ultimately to gain independence through education or employment. Through its partners, Venture Trust helps the individuals to find work experience, prepare a CV, gain volunteering roles and get on the road to achieving qualifications.

    To read the full story please pop over to the Scotsman website.

  • | News

    Shortlisted for the Co-op Local Fund 2015!

    The Co-op Local Fund supports local causes by reinvesting the profits and charges for their carrier bags back into local communities.

    Venture Trust is delighted to have been shortlisted in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

    Co-operative members get one vote – so if you are a member, please vote for Venture Trust! If you know someone else who is a member encourage them to vote for us too!

    How to vote

    1 Follow this link

    2 Select ‘Vote now'
    3 Enter your Co-operative membership number
    4 Enter one of these 3 postcodes to find us: EH3 9DR, FK9 5QD, G4 0UW
    5 Vote!

    More than £750,000 will be shared between almost 1,000 organisations and community groups - the Co-operative’s one million members in Scotland have up until 5pm on 11th December to vote for their favourite local cause, helping to decide how the money should be shared.

    By supporting Venture Trust in this way you will be helping disadvantaged young people and adults in local communities to make positive, lasting changes in their lives.

    Thank you for your support.

  • Forces in Mind Trust awards grant to Venture Trust for crucial new support programme for ex-services men & women

    A grant of £689,453 has been awarded to Venture Trust, a Scottish charity with head offices in Edinburgh, Stirling, and teams working throughout the country, to provide crucial support programmes for veterans. This is great news too for Scotland as this is the first scheme of its kind in the UK, and it is Scotland that will be tasked with delivering. If successful, there will be potential to roll the scheme out across the UK on a larger scale. This pilot scheme, named Positive Futures, will help a significant number of veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.

    The story in more detail:

    There are many charities that provide support to veterans. However, research has shown that not enough is being done to catch those thousands that are struggling with the transition to civilian life. In an effort to halt the growing numbers of individuals who end up homeless, struggling with addiction, in isolation, and in the prison system, Venture Trust has devised a programme that will, we hope, prove to be life changing for over 120 people over a three year period (and many more, should it be successful).

    Venture Trust specialises in supporting people who find themselves in chaotic, often destructive situations, and are unable to cope. It does this through a three phase programme, centred around a wilderness journey in the Scottish Highlands. This intensive time in the outdoors gives the individual the space, and the skills to see things differently. When they return back to their home environment, they receive one-to-one support for as long as 18 months. It is during this time that the participant is helped to achieve their goals and make changes in their life; that might be finding a secure home, kicking addiction, repairing relationships or getting into education, training, employment or volunteering.

    It was while working with thousands of young people over the years that it became apparent that more and more of those who walked through the Venture Trust doors were ex-service personnel. Evaluation of the programmes has shown that they really are life changing for so many people, and that there could be an ex-services specific programme to help those most in need. There currently is nothing of its kind in operation, so the funding from Forces in Mind Trust will mean that this is now a reality.

    With so many ex-service men and women finding themselves without the life they knew and understood, the Positive Futures programme is crucial in supporting those charities that already perform such an important role in dealing with what will continue to be a growing and very concerning problem.

    For more information about the Positive Futures programme, please click here.

    For media enquiries, please see our press release or contact Jess Whistance 01209 844 644 or email

  • | News | Participant stories

    Build a Bike Graduation Event

    On Friday 31st July we celebrated the achievements of 23 Venture Trust participants who completed the Build a Bike programme.

    Four, week-long, courses supported by the Department for Work and Pensions via Job Centre Plus were run in partnership with The Bike Station - Edinburgh. Participants received support to build their confidence, motivation and employability while learning valuable hands-on vocational training in bike construction in a workshop environment. At the end of the course participants were given the chance to keep the bike they had built and also shown how to cycle safely and efficiently both in the city and off-road.

    All the participants were referred to Venture Trust after a prolonged period of unemployment, with the aim of giving them a chance to learn a new set of practical skills as well as finding out more about bikes and cycling, in a supportive group environment. Venture Trust Outreach Workers have been on hand every step of the way providing one-to-one support to participants to enable them to take their next steps into volunteering, training, work placements and employment.

    There have been a number of notable successes and inspiring stories of the tangible difference this course has made to participants’ lives, with demand for the courses and the positive outcomes far exceeding our targets for this pilot project.

    “I took part in Venture Trust's Build a Bike scheme after a long period of unemployment. I was able to learn new skills in a calm and supportive environment, and it helped my confidence knowing I could learn new things and work well with others.”

    Angus joined the course after being unemployed for over a year and when we first met him, his morale was very low. The Build a Bike programme really improved his confidence and, with the support of his Venture Trust Outreach Worker, he successfully applied for and completed a placement with one of our corporate partners. Since completing the placement he has secured full-time employment as a Systems Operator.

    “Venture Trust……supported me through a successful interview for a voluntary placement. The placement was enjoyable and interesting, and subsequently I gained paid employment. At that interview I was able to use the placement to demonstrate my ability to work and it gave me the belief to know I could do the job. Venture Trust made a great difference in my life, and its staff gave me a lot of friendly support and feedback while looking for work.”

    As well as gaining confidence and learning a new set of skills, participants have discovered how to make the most of their local environment using their bikes, both in the city and off-road. For many, this is already helping them to make cycling a part of their everyday lives, they tell us that they are more active now and that they are using their bikes to access training and employment opportunities. Developing a new interest for themselves (and their families), plus realising the sense of freedom of having their own transport is also some of the fantastic feedback we received at the event.

    The Bike Station has also generously donated a bicycle computer to each participant, to track how much mileage they clock up during the next six months and to give them hints and tips about their cycling.

    Thanks again to our partners at The Bike Station and Job Centre Plus and also to Sainsbury’s Quartermile for providing refreshments for the event. We are so pleased with the success of this innovative programme and wish all our Build a Bike graduates every success for the future!

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