• | 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!

  • | News

    Evaluation of the Next Steps Programme

    Venture Trust has commissioned SMCI Associates to evaluate the impact of the Big Lottery funded “Next Steps” programme.

    The research will enable Venture Trust and its stakeholders to understand the impact of each part of the “Next Steps” programme on the lives of participants and to what extent the programme has delivered the outcomes it set out to achieve.

    The evaluation will provide learning outcomes for Venture Trust, and other stakeholders interested in either issues surrounding reducing (re-) offending for women caught up in the criminal justice system or the use of wilderness/outdoor activities within personal and social development with vulnerable groups.

    The evaluation runs from 2015 to September 2017, and includes several elements, including a stakeholder survey which asks for your views. We would be very grateful if you would click on the link below to participate in the survey. It will take no longer than five minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.

    If you have any queries about the survey, or would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Sheila Inglis, Director, SMCI Associates, phone: 07894 337317.

  • | Fundraising | News

    Grand Opening of Venture Trust National Participant Centre

    On 25 June 2015, Venture Trust opened the doors to its new National Participant Centre in Stirling. The newly refurbished building is the main hub from which critical Venture Trust work takes place.

    Venture Trust supports a wide range of young people with disadvantaged or challenging backgrounds, to get back on their feet. It does this through intensive wilderness expeditions and life skills development support, with the aim being to give the participants the tools to make positive changes in their lives. That could be anything from finding a home, gaining skills to enable them to get a job, going to college, or getting help with addiction. The new centre in Stirling will provide a base from which to operate these wilderness expeditions.

    We would like to thank LandAid, St James’s Place Foundation, Wooden Spoon and the Clothworker’s Foundation for their support with the project. Also many thanks to Glasgow Warriors and Scotland rugby player Dougie Hall, for opening the centre.

    To find out more about the people we support, our personal development and employability skills programmes and the positive impact achieved, please visit our programmes page.

    The press release about the opening event is also available here.

    We will put photos of the centre up here soon!

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