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On the right track with Venture Trust and Sport Relief

British middle-distance champion Laura Muir dropped in to meet a group of young people from Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme as part of Sport Relief 2020.

Sport has the amazing power to challenge and motivate people to see themselves differently and aspire to a better life.

At Venture Trust – with funding from Comic Relief – we are using the power of sport and outdoor activities, alongside intensive personal development, to help young people reach their potential.

The programme is for 16-25-year-olds whose chaotic backgrounds have led to them experience many complex issues. These include homelessness or being at risk of homelessness, long term unemployment, involvement in criminal justice systems, substance misuse, low self-belief, relationship breakdowns and mental health issues.

We know that having and sustaining a safe, stable and secure place to live is vital for people to overcome many of the other barriers they are facing. Our own research shows of those presenting as homeless across our programmes 59 per cent have been previously convicted, 58 per cent have mental health issues and 52 per cent have substance misuse issues.

The Inspiring Young Futures programme combines intensive and sustained support in a young person’s community with time and activities in Scotland’s wild places. It is designed to equip participants with core skills, to build longer term stability and avert repeat or potential episodes of homelessness. This will help them to overcome the other challenges they are dealing with.

For many young people this is their first time in the outdoors or away from the pressures of everyday life. The excitement of experiencing and achieving something completely new, is motivational, enabling them to reflect, plan and make meaningful life changes.

Adventure activities in a wilderness setting is a catalyst for change. In an unfamiliar setting, young people must rely on each other, build trust and develop strong positive relationships. Every activity is specifically designed to help them work towards their personal development. Hiking and abseiling encourage the overcoming of fear and anxiety, it builds trust and encourages the giving and receiving of feedback within the group. Canoeing allows participants to take responsibility for their boats and safety while working effectively in a group or team to navigate lochs and rivers.

See how Oscar is riding into a brighter future with funding from Comic Relief and our other partners:

Following her visit, Laura said: “It was an absolute honour for me to visit Venture Trust in support of Sport Relief. I witnessed first-hand the amazing work this organisation is doing for communities and young people in Edinburgh. I have grown up with Sport Relief and it’s great to see the work it helps to make possible.”

Venture Trust chief executive officer Amelia Morgan said: “It was brilliant to have Laura take time from her Tokyo 2020 preparations to meet some of the young people we support. Her achievements and determination to pursue her dreams will inspire our participants to reach their potential.

“We want everyone to enjoy better mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. With support from partners like Comic Relief, tackling social isolation, the underlying causes of alcohol or drug misuse or the stress of living in poor quality, temporary or insecure housing, is possible.”

Together with Comic Relief, we are working for a more equal and fairer Scotland for young people. We want to ensure they have a safe place to be, they can survive and thrive, that fear, violence and discrimination in their lives is reduced and to improve their mental health.

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