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Scottish Veterans Commissioner “applauds” Venture Trust’s veterans programme

Scottish Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace recently met with a group of former Armed Service members at Venture Trust’s base in Stirling after they returned from seven days in the wilds of Scotland.

The group of participants had just completed their wilderness journey as part of a three-phase personal development programme with Venture Trust.

The Positive Futures programme is specifically for ex-Service men and women; individuals who may have a wealth of experience and skills, but who are finding it difficult to either transition fully into civilian life or are struggling with maintaining a civilian focussed identity.

It helps participants work towards achieving their personal goals. These could be re-deploying skills learnt within the military, finding a home, rebuilding broken relationships, working towards living a healthy, safe and stable life, retraining or applying for a job or utilising their skills through volunteering. All of these are highlighted as significant issues encountered when transitioning to civilian life.

We use Scotland's spectacular wild places to deliver intense personal development. The outdoors is inherently challenging. These environments challenge individuals to focus on actions and their consequences - encouraging the discovery of new skills and talents and helping participants to become more self reliant. The sense of space and the distance from everyday life gives individuals time to reflect on their lives and plan the changes they'd like to make.

Sunburnt, windswept, midge bitten but smiling and on top of the world, the ex-service personnel shared their experiences with the Veterans Commissioner.

“It’s brilliant to have someone working to improve the lives and opportunities of veterans sit down and listen to what we are going through,” one of the participants said.

“Hopefully we can help show that programmes like this do make a difference,” another said.

Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace said:

“I was delighted to be able to visit and talk to the group of veterans who recently completed the Venture Trust’s ‘Positive Futures’ programme – designed specifically for veterans struggling with transition and integration into their civilian lives.

“It was heartening to hear first-hand from the group and staff how valuable the veterans found the programme. Initiatives like this play a valuable part in helping our veterans improve their confidence to deal with aspects of their civilian lives which they find challenging. Successful integration from the military into the civilian world is not always easy and the Venture Trust should be applauded for recognising this and developing ‘Positive Futures’ alongside their other programmes.”

Venture Trust CEO Amelia Morgan said:

“It was fantastic to have Charlie Wallace meet participants of our Positive Futures programme at our National Participant Centre. It sends a really positive message of support to our participants – for those past, and those about to head out on the next Positive Futures journey.

“For all of those leaving the military, it marks a complete change. Most ex-service personnel thrive, going on to have successful careers and balanced lives. But for a small minority the transition to civilian life can be overwhelming and confusing which can lead to a multitude of negative circumstances.

"Research is showing the Positive Futures programme is offering veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many are going on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes.”

For more information about Positive Futures click here.

Positive Futures is funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds. It was also previously funded by The Forces in Mind Trust with a three-year pilot.

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