Homeless young people are being failed by a lack of support in overcoming inadequate life skills, a Scottish parliament committee has found.
Unsurprisingly, the recent expeditions have been.... wet. Here's a report from one of our short overnight expeditions, where everyone managed to stay positive despite the conditions.
After the last course, which involved a lot of very high winds, we headed out on Thursday for a short 1 night trip with the rain falling steadily. We picked up 8 young people in Sterling who were all ready and rearing to go despite how wet it was.
By the time the group had all changed into their kit, and we had walked to the campsite we were all starting to feel quite soggy, and the grassy area we had to camp on was covered in puddles. Amazingly as we set up camp, and then played some games there was absolutely no moaning about the weather and everybody was getting on really well.
The group’s fantastic attitude was maintained throughout the evening, with them almost achieving the amazing feat of finishing all the vegetables we had given them. The next morning we were greeted by a frost, but at least there was sunshine.
Again the group’s attitude shone as we finished the morning’s tasks. We then moved on to canoeing on the loch, which despite some of the group’s fears everybody participated in fully.
A change of clothes, and a good lunch then took us to the end of the course.
Well done to the whole group. The staff team were all really impressed with you attitudes, and we look forward to seeing you on a 7 day expedition sometime soon.
Well done to David, Ryan and Graeme who braved some extreme winds, and some very cold water to reach the end of their wilderness experience last week.
We based ourselves around Braemar, which gave us a fantastic location from which to play in the Lui gorge on our activity day. Despite how cold the water was the team got stuck right in and even achieved the distinction of having every member of the group jump off the highest rock.
The other great thing about being based around Braemar was that it gave us easy access to some great mountains, and it was into those same mountains that we headed for the expedition stage of the trip. Our first expedition day involved a 7km walk in to our advanced base camp. The team did really well to set up a fantastic camp right on the edge of the loch, and to make sure that they had all had a good meal to help keep themselves warm. After we had all eaten we spent some time talking about what we need from life in order to feel happy, before having a final review of the day, and settling down to try and get some rest before our summit day.
During the night most of us struggled to get much sleep due to the high winds that were hammering our tents. Despite this the team was up early the next day, and after a good breakfast we had our morning check in, and introduced the thread, or focus, for the day. As it was the summit day our thread was challenge, which was very fitting given the lack of sleep, and the high winds. After a quick check that we had all packed enough spare clothes, and food for the day we set off up the mountains.
Lochnagar is a very impressive mountain, which reaches the impressive height of 1155m at its peak. Though the walk up started quite steeply the team worked well together, and we were all grateful of fact that for the first few hours of the climb we were out of the wind. This meant that after the first period of climbing we could have our support sessions near a beautiful waterfall while enjoying the sun.
By the time we got higher on the mountain we had a few members of the group who, despite being very sporty at home, were finding the climb quite tough, and were in need of regular breaks. This was not helped by the fact that as we got higher we became more and more exposed to the high winds. As we reached the plateau before the summit we started to feel their full force. Despite the fact that at this stage we could only hold conversations by shouting we covered the ground to the summit quite quickly.
After some chocolate, and some rest on the summit we started to head down. It was quite late, and with some well established blisters, when we finally reached our camp. With everybody feeling quite tired we got straight on with the task of getting some food. We then only had time for a thorough review before bed.
On the last day of our expedition we had to walk about 6km to the bus. With tired bodies it was nice to have the easy track to walk along. It also gave the group a chance to spend some time walking on their own, so that they had a chance to reflect upon the changes they wanted to make as they started to head back home.
Reaching the bus we were greeted by Andy who had prepared bacon rolls, a nice reward after a tough few days. The final task that the group had was to then fill in their Action Plans, so that they could record those things they had been thinking about on their solo walk.
Though the weather had not made things easy David, Ryan and Graeme did really well to soldier on to the end of the course.
Venture Trust’s ‘Transitions’ programme is designed to help young people resident in Foyers to unlock and make the most of their talents – developing confidence and employability, increasing their ability to access local services and establishing sustainable lifestyles.
It is regularly proven to better equip participants with the skills and attributes needed to access employment, education or training, as well as offering a catalytic shift in attitude and perspective that helps participants plan their move into independent accommodation. In order to make the programme more sustainable and to increase its reach, Venture Trust is offering subsidised places on the programme to the entire Foyer network on a first-come-first-served basis.
“We would like to thank you and all the workers involved in the course which has just finished, for the incredible work you have put in with our young residents. They have really enjoyed the time with you and have come back with positive ideas about what they would like to do and how they can work to achieve their goals. We will now work alongside them to put things in place to use their new skills and experience, and I will let you know how they are doing” – Foyer referrer, 2011
Venture Trust’s next personal development course for young people who live in or are supported by a Foyer has been scheduled to start on Friday 30th November and will finish on Sunday 9th December. The course will be based once again from our recently-refurbished centre in Applecross, in the north-west Highlands of Scotland.
We are delighted that our recent courses for Foyer residents have enabled participants to progress into extremely positive outcomes:
- 90% of participants are showing increased self-confidence
- 88% of participants are showing increased employability
- 82% of participants have increased their stability (and/or accommodation status)
- 82% of participants have improved their bonds with community members
- 76% of participants are making better use of community services and opportunities
- 88% of participants have entered education, employment, training or volunteering.
Demand for places on this programme far exceeds the number of places we have been able to offer in recent years, meaning that many Foyer residents are missing out on the opportunities this programme offers. In order to make best use of scarce funding we have been able to secure for this programme for Foyer residents, from this course onwards we will be asking Foyers to contribute towards the cost of their residents’ participation, thereby enabling us to offer more places to more Foyer residents.
Each place on this programme costs Venture Trust in excess of £3,000, which includes over 180 hours of direct contact time with highly trained staff, the use of specialist equipment and facilities, and all food, fuel, accommodation, insurance and licensing. To make best use of available funds and create as many places on the programme as possible, we are pleased to be able to offer places at a subsidised rate of £1,750 per person.
We appreciate that not all Foyers have access to funding for their residents’ personal development, and we are eager to help Foyers identify potential sources of finance – please contact us to discuss.
For an application form or to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 228 7700.
A brush with showbusiness for our Malawi-based Project Officer this week, as he was invited to speak about Venture Trust's 'Moving On Malawi' programme on Transworld Radio 106.5.
Thanks to our partnerships with the Kachere Police and charity 'Music Crossroads', Greg Watson had the opportunity to share a few thoughts about our work in Malawi:
"Towards the end of the [Moving on Malawi] course we go away to one of the mountains at the invitation of the Chief Mikanga of Ungala and we do some work there, in terms of independence, living skills and again working on some of the group work and choices. Perhaps the most important thing is when the young people come back from that weekend we work individually with each one of them to make an action plan, a goal setting plan of what they want in their lives and how they’re going to get that.
We try to encourage those young people to make better and informed decisions. If a young person wants to become a doctor, we would encourage that and what we do is say “well are you going to school at the moment?” “I’m not going to school” “ well do you think you perhaps need to go to school to start on that process of becoming a doctor?” and it starts very much from day one; what are you going to do? What are you as a young person going to do in your life to make changes?"
- Extract from Transworld Radio interview
You can listen to the entire interview by downloading the audio clip.