Venture Trust, the UK charity that specialises in supporting disadvantaged people struggling to cope with chaotic life circumstances, is to launch a specific programme to help veterans caught in the criminal justice system.
The Living Wild programme – funded by Scottish Government and a number of UK trusts and foundations– comprises a three phase approach with a wilderness journey at its core, and has been proven to significantly reduce reoffending. As a result of crucial grant funding from Armed Forces Covenant, Venture Trust will now run Living Wild programmes over the course of three years, specifically for veterans.
There are thousands of veterans leaving the military and struggling with the transition to civilian life. They find themselves unable to maintain relationships, function as part of a family, to adjust to new employment, to settle in to an independent life; often, this can lead to crime which then becomes a cycle that is impossible to break alone. That is where Venture Trust can help to bring about that change. Its Living Wild personal development programme has been established for some time and has demonstrated its worth in reducing reoffending, bringing about changes in challenging behaviour, and tackling issues such as long term unemployment and poor social skills. With the grant funding of £315,064 from Armed Forces Covenant, Venture Trust will be able to take almost 200 veterans through its Living Wild programme, working with referral partners to provide opportunities for employment, leading to a healthier and happier, more productive and stable life for veterans, and their families.
Venture Trust has over 30 years of experience of successfully working with people who face multiple barriers to living a balanced, healthy and safe life; that could be addiction, homelessness, isolation, abuse, long term unemployment, and a cycle of crime. Many of them face all of those barriers at once. The organisation uses its hugely successful wilderness journeys – taking participants out of their normal environment, away from the temptations and pressure of every-day life, away from technology, and into the wilds of nature. It is these journeys that provide participants with space to think, to see that there is opportunity, that they do have a choice, to gain life skills and to begin to hope. When they return home they receive support to make positive changes in their life.
Venture Trust also runs the Positive Futures programme (funded by Forces in Mind Trust – FiMT), which again is a veteran specific programme for those struggling with the transition to civilian life. This too is has a wilderness journey at its heart.
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive of Venture Trust comments, “We have a lot of experience in supporting people in the criminal justice system to change their lives, stop offending, gain employment, learn new skills, gain sustainable homes and rebuild broken relationships.
We know that our programmes work as part of the rehabilitation process, and that people can often go on to live successful lives. This works for all kinds of people in the criminal justice system struggling to break that cycle.”
She continues, “What this funding from the Armed Services Covenant allows is the opportunity for us to provide that support specifically for veterans, men and women who have sacrificed so much already. We know that there is a need for this support, as we have found that a significant number of veterans have joined our programmes over the years, due to the other barriers they might be facing (addiction, unemployment, homelessness etc). To have something specifically for this group of people is crucial.”
The Living Wild programme comprises a three phase approach. In Phase One, Venture Trust works with referral partners to reach out to those most in need of help. When the individuals sign up to a Venture Trust programme, it is often their last resort, as an alternative to custody or a community payback order. Phase Two takes the form of a ten day wilderness journey in the Highlands of Scotland, where participants will develop new social skills, work towards behavioural changes and working on confidence and motivation, responsibility, cause and effect. If Phase Two provides the life-changing moments, the inspiration and the hope, then Phase Three is where it becomes reality. Each participant receives one-to-one support for up to 18 months to help achieve their goals; in this case, reducing reoffending, behavioural changes, improved social skills, and potential for employment, education, training and volunteering.
This news article appeared on Employability in Scotland website and newsletter. To read the article, click here
We are delighted that McCrea Financial Services have chosen to support Venture Trust during 2016!
McCreas Managing Director, Douglas McCrea said: “We commit time and resource to support the charities as something we strongly believe in. This year we are particularly pleased to work with a charity who recognise the benefits our beautiful Scottish Wilderness can bring to people as they learn new skills to build confidence and self-belief."
Douglas himself is no stranger to the outdoors and annually takes on a 'wilderness challenge', last year walking 81 miles along the Speyside Way for Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity. In recent years McCreas have raised more than £350,000 for various charities.
The year-long partnership started with a Race Night in Glasgow raising a fantastic £4,200! Jonathan Campbell, one of the advisers at McCreas will be running this year’s London Marathon for Venture Trust on Sunday 24th April. You can sponsor him (and the rest of the McCreas team) here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/McCreaFS
McCrea Financial Services are also sponsors of Partick Thistle Football Club and we'd like to thank them for helping to launch the partnership.
We're looking forward to a action-packed year working with the team at McCreas, we've already heard rumours of walks, runs, trail-runs, cycles, Iron-men, baking and bbqing being organised for us and their other chosen charity for 2016 - Beatson Cancer Charity.
The article below first appeared in The Scotsman:
Venture Trust, the charity that supports disadvantaged young people to make positive changes in their lives, is getting to the route of the issues behind the significant number of long term unemployed youth in Scotland. The charity has joined forces with Who Cares? Scotland, and Move On to develop the employability programme, Reaching Higher.
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive of Venture Trust explains, “Unemployment figures have dropped significantly over the last few years and this is encouraging. But 11,000 young adults in Scotland have been out of work for more than a year. This is down to a number of factors which need to be addressed.”
She continues, “Most worrying is that many of these young adults hail from life circumstances where they are not given the best start. There is often a lack of opportunities or support to gain the necessary life skills, motivation or confidence to embark on further education or training. This leads to a cycle of disengagement with the system, and no way of acquiring the skills required to gain employment.”
Amelia explains, “The complexity of range of barriers facing some young people to enter employment, education or training can require significant investment in an individual achieving greater stability – addressing chaotic or destructive behaviours to become ready for employment such that they can sustain a job. These young people represent potential and untapped talent when supported and nurtured. Without this, long term unemployment can often lead to a feeling of hopelessness, depression, financial worries, homelessness, addiction, and trouble with the criminal justice system. At the other end of the scale, being given the opportunity to train, volunteer, gain work experience, and get work-ready can be life changing in a positive way.
The Reaching Higher programme is designed to help care experienced, unemployed young people between 16 and 29 to gain skills, and work experience, and, with support, to gain sustainable employment.
Reaching Higher offers a vital extension to the work that Venture Trust already undertakes in its Inspiring Young Futures personal development programme. The programme supports disengaged young people, to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. The Reaching Higher programme will take those individuals who have reached a point where they are ready to get into employment, and give them the opportunity to shine.”
“Nicole B is one of the first participants to have been enrolled on the Reaching Higher programme. She is 19 years old but has had a turbulent past, with lack of support leading to homelessness, subsequent unhealthy relationships, unemployment and substance abuse,” adds Amelia. “Her life was in turmoil and she was living with a friend when the opportunity came for the Reaching Higher programme. She started a four week ‘pre-employability’ course in October 2015, and was then chosen to start a one-year traineeship with Who Cares? Scotland, as an Events & Membership Admin Assistant.
Nicole’s life has since turned around; she has a sustainable home, a purpose, and has set goals that she wants to achieve. Not only that, she has gained a great deal of confidence and her life is much more balanced; and there is hope.”
Nicole comments, “Venture Trust changed me as a person. I used to be rebellious and now I want to knuckle down and do something really positive with my life. The Reaching Higher programme has given me a lot of support and skills that I never knew I had. It has allowed me to think about my dreams; before I would never have aspired to go to university and now I know I will!”
For further details of the Reaching Higher programme, click here.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Amelia Morgan as our new Chief Executive Officer.
Amelia joined Venture Trust in June 2010 as Head of Finance & Administration. For the last three years she has also taken on the role of Head of Development for Venture Trust’s social enterprise, Venture Mòr. So she could not be better placed to take on the demanding challenges of leading Venture Trust charity into a successful future.
Amelia has over 20 years’ experience in the public and charity sectors. She has a background in nature conservation, working with UK and Scottish statutory advisers to Government, initially in conservation policy and projects. She then moved into business support, gaining extensive experience in areas of finance & administration, governance, change management and organisational development. In her last role, Amelia was Chief Executive Officer of Yorkshire Universities, a membership charity furthering the contribution of higher education in Yorkshire and beyond. She was also a non-executive director of an online graduate recruitment social enterprise, promoting employment opportunities for graduates in Yorkshire.
Amelia comments, “I’m passionate about supporting people to realise their potential. At Venture Trust, many of those we help have experienced considerable and complex challenges in their lives. They often have incredibly low self-esteem, and in many cases have been told they will not amount to anything. Their aspirations are based around surviving and getting by, whilst relationships are fractured, and behaviours destructive. We help them to change that.”
She continues, “I have been extremely fortunate to be able to contribute towards the work of Venture Trust and to be part of a passionate team of people. We gauge our impact and success by celebrating the achievements of the people we support, whether it is gaining sustainable accommodation, reducing negative and risky behaviours, forging positive peer networks or moving towards employment, education, training or volunteering.”
Amelia concludes, “Our goal should be that our services are valued for their impact – for individuals, communities and on society – and how we work; as a trusted and effective partner. Getting this right will ensure that some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people can lead more positive, productive lives.”
Venture Trust bids a fond farewell to Mark Bibbey, the organisation’s most recent Chief Executive. Amelia adds, “Mark was a respected and influential leader, and will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best in his new role at PoppyScotland.”
Media enquiries: Jess Whistance at Venture Trust on 01209 844 644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiring Young Futures – Referrers Survey 2015
Towards the end of 2015, we sent out an online survey to 360 stakeholders and referrers to find out their views about our Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) programme - this report presents the findings.
“Venture Trust provides a bespoke service for young people that makes a real difference in their lives by showing them that they can make positive changes and enjoy doing so”
Key findings from the survey:
- Improving young people’s self-confidence, broadening aspirations and developing the ability to deal with challenge were identified by 98% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
- Improving the ability to develop positive relationships and build social networks, improve communication skills and emotion management skills were identified by 97% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
- It is a combination of the different stages of the Venture Trust IYF programme that leads to success, including the chance to receive support in the community and access to the unique opportunity that the Wilderness Journey provides.
- The community progression support to identify and access local opportunities in training, education, volunteering, work taster and placement opportunities are an important element of the programme.
- The quality/approach of Venture Trust staff, Venture Trust’s distinct approach to personal development and the high level of communication with referral partners were identified as particular strengths.
- The IYF programme meets particular needs in local areas and there is a high level of support for maintaining the programme. 98.3% of respondents agreed that “there would be a gap in the provision available if IYF was no longer available”.
“Fantastic experience with Venture Trust, great support and tailored to the needs of the young person. Would definitely refer again!”
We are grateful to everyone who took part and we are very pleased with the positive feedback, plus the opportunity to take on board suggestions for improvement.
For further information, please contact Sue Sinclair, Funding & Contracts Officer at email@example.com.