Military media channel, Forces TV and BFBS Radio visited the latest Positive Futures journey on 17 February to make a short film about the work Venture Trust is doing to support veterans. The film crew spent a day talking to staff and participants, finding out about personal stories, and the personal development work which takes place during a wilderness journey. We would like to thank Forces TV/BFBS Radio for taking the time to visit and to help raise awareness of the support that is avilalbe at Venture Trust for veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life. The film is now live on the Forces TV website.
Click here to see the short film.
A three year independent evaluation of our Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) Programme is underway and will report in 2019. IYF supports young people aged 16 to 21 (a small number are care experienced young people up to the age of 25) who face employability barriers and aims to help participants to reach positive destinations in employment, education, training, volunteering and to develop a stable sustainable lifestyle.
An independent evaluation team from The Lines Between are running a survey to gather views and experiences of the programme from referrers, programme funders and other stakeholders as well as other organisations working with the target group. We would be extremely grateful if you could take part in this survey, which should take 10 minutes at most to complete. The survey is entirely confidential and you will not be asked for your name or contact details.
To complete the survey please click on the link below.
For further information about this evaluation or the Inspiring Young Futures programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, joined a group of veterans on a Scottish wilderness retreat as part of the our Positive Futures programme.
The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), established to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, awarded us a grant, worth £689,453, for a three-year trial, to provide additional support to as many as 120 ex-Service men and women from across Scotland who are struggling with the transition to civilian life. The programme is available to those who are unemployed or in temporary accommodation, who struggle with low self-confidence or who have a history of drug and alcohol misuse.
Participants are supported through a three phase programme. The first phase – referral and engagement – consists of one-to-one sessions that provide participants with advice on employment, personal development and, where appropriate, referral to partners such as drug and alcohol treatment services.
The second phase is a specially designed ‘wilderness journey’ - a programme of personal development and learning in the outdoors with frequent one-to-one and group support sessions away from the challenges of everyday life. Over an intensive five day course, participants are given additional support to develop the transferable skills they need to rebuild their lives and move towards independence and employment. So far, 37 participants have taken part in the wilderness journeys, and anecdotal evidence has been that each group is very different from the next; the demographic is again very different from the other programmes, consisting of an older age group, and at present, very few females. These are capable people who have perhaps done demanding jobs. Their skills are already there; they just need help with redeploying them.
Participants in the third and final phase benefit from ongoing support focused on priorities for development including funded internships, employment support and volunteer peer mentoring, particularly to support others to move forward positively with their lives.
The impact of the project is being independently evaluated, with researchers assessing its impact on participants’ lives and whether its methodology can be extended.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“It was fantastic to join eight service men [and women] under canvas at the end of their wilderness journey.
Learning about their personal circumstances and how the programme has supported them so far is truly inspiring. The ex-Service community has a diverse range of needs and it is vitally important they have access to the right kind of support which needs to be tailored to smooth what can sometimes be a challenging transition into civilian life.
The first year of the Positive Futures programme has just completed, and I look forward to the independent evaluation of the programme to better understand any men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, and struggle with the return to civilian life, can get the support they need.”
Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive of Venture Trust, said: “We were delighted that Ray joined the group on the latest Positive Futures journey. This really sent a positive message of support to our participants. For all of those leaving the military, it marks a complete change. Most of those 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. The Positive Futures programme offers veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many will go on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes. FiMT funding of the Positive Futures programme is pivotal to supporting veterans with a commitment to maximising the positive impact for individuals, their families and wider communities across Scotland.”
For more information about the Positive Futures programme, click here.
Keith Brown, Veterans Minister met with participants from our Positive Futures programme at our National Participant Centre in Stirling, to hear their stories, and talk about how the scheme has changed things for them.
The event provided a chance for the veterans to discuss their experiences on the programme, and the impact it has had on their lives. It was also an opportunity for them to speak to Mr Brown about what is being done to support the small but significant number of veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.
Positive Futures, funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), does just that: supports veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life. The programme includes an intensive 5-day wilderness journey in the Highlands where outdoor activity and experiential learning techniques are used as a mechanism for unlocking and redeploying skills, building confidence and raising aspiration. Following this journey, the participants, of all ages and length of service, are given support to achieve their goals. For many this will result in utilising the skills learnt in service, and applying these skills to prepare them for employment, education, training or volunteering.
These veterans are on their way to reaching positive destinations, working towards managing what can be very challenging life circumstances as a result of leaving the military behind. Their struggle to adapt to civilian life can often lead to homelessness, isolation, addiction, abuse, breakdown of family relations, and long term unemployment.
Amelia commented: “We were delighted that Mr Brown visited us at our National Participant Centre, which sent 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 of those 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. The Positive Futures programme offers veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many will go on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes.”
Mr Brown, Veterans Minister said: “I am delighted to see a truly innovative project like the Venture Trust Positive Futures Programme underway in Scotland, delivering valuable support for veterans.
Our veterans are an asset to Scotland and deserve the best possible support and care we can provide. The Positive Futures Programme is a great route for veterans who have struggled with transition, and it was a pleasure to meet some of the participants who have found it very beneficial.”
For further details of the Positive Futures programme, click here.
We are delighted that the Scottish Government CashBack for Communities programme has awarded Venture Trust funding to develop 'CashBack Change Cycle', a vocational training programme designed to create the building blocks for onward progression into volunteering, work experience, training and employment.
The programme will support over 200 16-24 year olds from areas of deprivation across Scotland over a three year period. These people are often facing multiple barriers, such as long term unemployment, potential risk of reoffending, anti-social behaviour, and little education or training, and are at high risk of life spiralling out of control. The CashBack Change Cycle aims at breaking the cycle of long term disadvantage, supporting participants to build aspiration, motivation, self-confidence, and to develop a range of vocational and employability skills.
The programme takes the form of an intensive three week course combining classroom based employability training, and workshop based vocational skills development focussed on bike building and maintenance. There will be a five day wilderness residential which includes a volunteering conservation project and mountain biking training. There will also be a period of community-based aftercare support in the form of one-to-one advice, support, and a range of opportunities.
The Bike Station will be providing the bike building and maintenance training, as well as teaching on and off-road cycle skills. All young people will build their own bike which will be a real tangible achievement. Venture Trust and partners will lead employability sessions, and there will also be health & safety, first aid, CV writing, and creating a career development plan. During the wilderness element, the young people will be encouraged to participate in an outdoor volunteering conservation project.
The young people will complete the course with their own bike, which they can then use as a means of transport for job interviews, and for getting outside. They will also receive ongoing one-to-one support from Venture Trust, in order to work towards achieving their goals from their personal and career development plans. There will be brokered access to a wide range of services, agencies and groups, and Venture Trust will also offer some participants the opportunity to take up voluntary work placements/tasters.
Commenting on the award, Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of Venture Trust, said: “We are thrilled to receive the support of CashBack for Communities to reach over 200 young people struggling with unemployment and complex life circumstances. This intensive employability programme, delivered in partnership with Bike Station, will offer personal development coupled with vocational qualifications on bike construction and maintenance. Our experienced staff will be there to encourage and support the young people in gaining the necessary life skills, confidence and a sense of purpose to overcome barriers to become more job ready and able to sustain employment, education or training.”