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Much needed boost for vulnerable young people

Venture Trust, the charity that supports disadvantaged young people to make positive changes in their lives, has been awarded a crucial grant from The Big Lottery Fund to develop and enhance its Inspiring Young Futures programme.

The grant, totalling £690,000 over three years, will ensure that over 500 disengaged, vulnerable young people will be able to benefit from Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures courses. The programme will also be part-funded by Inspiring Scotland, European Social Funds (ESF), the Scottish Government, local authorities and some UK trusts and foundations.

Inspiring Young Futures supports young people to learn life skills and achieve an SQA qualification. The programme includes an intensive 8-day wilderness journey in the Highlands where outdoor activity and experiential learning techniques are used as a mechanism for unlocking skills, building confidence and raising aspiration. Following this journey, the participants, aged between 16 and 25, will be given support to achieve their goals. For many this will result in gaining the skills to prepare them for employment, education, training or volunteering.

Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive at Venture Trust, commented, “The funding from the Big Lottery will be used to support 540 disengaged young people through Venture Trust’s existing Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) programme. This crucial grant will allow Venture Trust to reach those who are of a care experienced background, struggling with complex life circumstances such as homelessness, abuse, isolation, addiction, involvement with offending and sustained unemployment. Our experienced team of staff will assist the individuals to gain life skills, work-readiness, a sense of purpose, and to work towards making positive life changes.

As well as a catalytic wilderness phase where participants can focus on their development away from peer pressure and existing circumstances, there will be one-to-one support. This may result in the individual finding a home, kicking addiction, and in most cases, working towards, education, training, employment or volunteering.

For many people who find themselves at Venture Trust’s doors, it's because they have not been able to access or benefit from mainstream support. So this additional funding will enable us to focus on intensive life-skills development to help so many more young people to realise their potential.”

Paul (19) has been through the Inspiring Young Futures programme. He was referred in December 2014 from the Care Leavers Employability Service (CLES) Launchpad Programme, run by Glasgow City Council. Prior to this, he had completed 'Core Skills' qualifications at CLES, worked in a garage with his friend's dad and completed an 'Access to Motor Vehicles' course at Kilmarnock College. He had been living with carers in Pollokshields since May 2014, and before that had lived with other carers for nine years. He spoke fondly of this time saying that they often did outdoor activities together and that he still kept in contact with them.

Paul explained that he did not have contact with any of his family and that both of his brothers had died. This understandably has had a significant impact on him. He engaged well on a one to one basis with his Venture Trust Outreach Worker, and in these sessions began to identify his strengths and areas for development.

Paul said: “I’ve been trying to deal with my anger for years, so I met The Venture Trust at the best time. I wanted to learn to deal with my frustrations in ways that were less damaging to me. I hoped to increase my confidence levels when meeting and getting to know new people, as well as learn new practical skills when being outdoors. I absolutely loved that experience and learnt so much about myself.”

Paul attended and completed the wilderness journey in Feb 2015. With support, over the next few months Paul continued with his work placement at the car garage, with the aim of securing an apprenticeship. With the relevant funding secured Paul was offered a one year apprenticeship with the garage which began in January 2016. Paul is now making headway on his own, but has been made aware that he can always get in touch with his Venture Trust Outreach Worker for support. This article appeared on Employability in Scotland website. To read in full, please click here.

Click here for further details of our Inspiring Young Futures programme.

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