• | News

    Inspiring Young Futures Referrers Survey 2015

    Inspiring Young Futures – Referrers Survey 2015

    Towards the end of 2015, we sent out an online survey to 360 stakeholders and referrers to find out their views about our Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) programme - this report presents the findings.

    “Venture Trust provides a bespoke service for young people that makes a real difference in their lives by showing them that they can make positive changes and enjoy doing so”

    Key findings from the survey:

    1. Improving young people’s self-confidence, broadening aspirations and developing the ability to deal with challenge were identified by 98% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
    2. Improving the ability to develop positive relationships and build social networks, improve communication skills and emotion management skills were identified by 97% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
    3. It is a combination of the different stages of the Venture Trust IYF programme that leads to success, including the chance to receive support in the community and access to the unique opportunity that the Wilderness Journey provides.
    4. The community progression support to identify and access local opportunities in training, education, volunteering, work taster and placement opportunities are an important element of the programme.
    5. The quality/approach of Venture Trust staff, Venture Trust’s distinct approach to personal development and the high level of communication with referral partners were identified as particular strengths.
    6. The IYF programme meets particular needs in local areas and there is a high level of support for maintaining the programme. 98.3% of respondents agreed that “there would be a gap in the provision available if IYF was no longer available”.

    “Fantastic experience with Venture Trust, great support and tailored to the needs of the young person. Would definitely refer again!”

    Get the full survey results here.

    Dowload a copy of The Key Messages here.

    We are grateful to everyone who took part and we are very pleased with the positive feedback, plus the opportunity to take on board suggestions for improvement.

    For further information, please contact Sue Sinclair, Funding & Contracts Officer at

  • | News

    Persimmon Homes Award

    Persimmon Homes supports Venture Trust's wilderness journeys

    Venture Trust has recently received funding of £1,000 from Persimmon Homes, through its Community Champions scheme.

    The donation will be used to purchase new sets of fleece jackets and trousers, crucial items of clothing worn all year round by participants whilst on a wilderness journey. Our wilderness journeys take place all year round, often in the Scottish Highlands, so consequently these items of warm clothing are also in constant use!

    Jim Kirkpatrick of Persimmon Homes East Scotland, said; “Venture Trust work hard to improve the quality of life for thousands of disadvantaged young people through outdoor development activities and we are very proud to support such a brilliant cause.”

    Venture Trust provides all the kit & equipment required on a wilderness journey to remove this barrier for someone who wants to attend, and would like to thank Persimmon Homes, through the Community Champions Scheme, for their support.

    Click here to see the full press release.

    Read about a recent wilderness journey, delivered on our ‘Transitions to Independent Living’ programme, to see why this clothing is so important.

  • | News | Participant stories

    First participants experience life changing effects of Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher Programme

    Venture Trust, the charity that supports young disadvantaged people to make positive changes in their lives, has joined forces with Who Cares? Scotland, and Move On to develop the employability programme, Reaching Higher.

    The programme, funded through the Queen’s Young Leaders Grant scheme administered by Comic Relief, is designed to help care experienced, unemployed young people between 16 and 29 to gain skills, and work experience, and, with support, to enter sustained employment.

    Reaching Higher offers a vital extension to the work that Venture Trust already undertakes in its Inspiring Young Futures personal development programme. Inspiring Young Futures, funded primarily by The Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and a number of UK trusts and foundations, supports disengaged young people, to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. The Reaching Higher programme will take those individuals who have reached a point where they are ready to get into employment, and give them the opportunity to shine.

    Nicole Blain is one of the first participants to have been enrolled on the Reaching Higher programme, following her involvement with Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme. Nicole is 19 years old but has had a turbulent past, with lack of support leading to homelessness, subsequent unhealthy relationships, unemployment and substance abuse. Her life was in turmoil and she was living with a friend when the opportunity came for the Reaching Higher programme. She started a four week ‘pre-employability’ course in October 2015, and was then chosen to start a one-year traineeship with Who Cares? Scotland, as an Events & Membership Admin Assistant.

    Andy Hardie, Senior Development Worker at Venture Trust, commented, “During the course of the Reaching Higher pre-employability training, the change in Nicole was amazing. At the start of the four week course she was quite shy. She was anxious and somewhat distant during the first couple of days, but nearing the end of the first week Nicole became more at ease within the group and also with the facilitators. She bonded really well with her peers, becoming more of a leader within the group especially during the teambuilding activities.”

    He continues, “Nicole opened up to me regarding her anxiety and how it had the potential to hold her back in achieving her goals. In doing this, she grew more confident, and spoke openly and honestly when talking about personal events. Nicole was a pleasure to work with and has masses of potential. I believe that when she puts her mind to do something she will achieve it.”

    Now in her role at Who Cares? Scotland, Nicole’s life has turned around; she has a sustainable home, a purpose, and has set goals that she wants to achieve. Not only that, she has gained a great deal of confidence and her life is much more balanced; and there is hope.

    Nicole comments, “Venture Trust changed me as a person. I used to be rebellious and now I want to knuckle down and do something really positive with my life. The Reaching Higher programme has given me a lot of support and skills that I never knew I had. It has allowed me to think about my dreams; before I would never have aspired to go to university and now I know I will!”

    For further details of the Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher programme, click here.

  • | News

    Venture Trust recruiting new Chief Executive

    Change at the top

    Mark Bibbey, Venture Trust’s Chief Executive will be leaving in February 2016 after four years in the role. Mark will be moving to head up Poppyscotland.

    “Taking Venture Trust forward has been a huge privilege,” said Mark Bibbey “I am proud to have been part of Venture Trust; the dedication and expertise of the staff team to support people experiencing chaotic circumstances to make and sustain positive changes in their lives is inspiring.” Mark added his thanks to staff, partners and stakeholders for their ongoing commitment to Venture Trust.

    Board Chair Mairi Brackenridge, wished Mark the very best for the future and thanked him for his enormous contribution in building an effective organisation transforming the lives of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people. She commented “Venture Trust has a strong management team who will lead the organisation through the transition period.”

    The recruitment of the new CEO will take place in the New Year.

  • | News | Participant stories

    Walking in a winter wonderland

    Transitions to Independent Living

    Wilderness journey: December 2015

    The weather on our latest wilderness expedition added a festive theme to the journey and provided participants with some additional challenges…

    The participants were taking part in Venture Trust’s Transitions to Independent Living programme, which is designed for those living in temporary supported accommodation, unstable tenancies or considered at risk of homelessness. The course helps participants to develop their confidence, relationships, employability and other skills necessary to secure and sustain permanent accommodation.

    Six of the participants came from the slightly warmer climes of London and the surrounding area, and arrived with energy and excitement, despite delays on their 6-hour train journey. On arrival, they met the other participants at our Stirling base who came from Aberdeen and the group soon bonded during a meal - fish and chips in Pitlochry.

    At Kinloch Rannoch Outdoor Centre the group created a great buzz and supportive culture. There was a positive energy as many of the participants stepped out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves, taking part in activities including climbing and abseiling.

    The group set out from the centre ready for their expedition with the weather dry but cold. It wasn't long before the weather started to deteriorate but they were able to set up camp, cook dinner on their Trangia stoves and settle in for the night under canvas in the Scottish wilderness.

    When they awoke and peered out of their tents the group faced a different type of challenge - heavy snow. Some of the participants described it as a "winter wonderland" or something from Disney's 'Frozen', however, on assessment, the Venture Trust team decided the challenges presented by the snow were too great so the decision was made to retreat back to the outdoor centre.

    The change in plans provided an unexpected real-life scenario on which to demonstrate one of the cornerstones of Venture Trust's approach - Choice Theory/Reality Therapy. This framework helps participants to distinguish between what they can and cannot control, and to try to control only the controllable. Everyone dealt well with the change to the expedition and with the snow remaining constant over the next few days it certainly proved to be the right decision.

    At the centre, the group continued to enjoy the experience and challenges of communal living. Being snowed in, alternative group activities were arranged and these included a Come Dine with Me competition which turned out to be very competitive - with some honest feedback and scoring. The group also got back outside to go on a forestry walk with lots of learning around the theme of 'Self, others and the environment' along with a few snow ball fights to keep everyone going.

    When the weather had improved enough, the group were taken out for their biggest challenge - ‘mountain day’ on Schiehallion, one of Scotland’s best known Munros. The group walked part of the way up this classic Munro, with some making it higher than others, but with levels of commitment high for all. Each participant exceeded their own expectations, contending with tricky conditions and snow drifts up to their knees. Later in the day they also took part in role play exercises focussing on 'triggers' and how to control behaviour to gain positive consequences.

    The last day of the course focused on participant's ‘Quality World’ (what they want out of life) and the strategies that they can use to get there. With support from their 1-1 field team member, they also completed an action plan outlining their goals and ambitions for the coming days, weeks and months.

    On all of Venture Trust’s wilderness journeys, the weather may significantly influence how the course will evolve. This Transitions journey was no different, being full of changes due to the snow. However, the group adapted well to these and were able to press on and overcome the challenges presented to them. This will serve them well as they continue their personal journeys.

    Merry Christmas and good luck in the future to all the participants from the field team - Sally, John, Polly, Gregor and Stu.

    See yourself differently.

    More information on our Transitions to Independent Living programme can be found here. This course would not be possible without the support of our funders. A big thanks to Dulverton Trust, Scottish Government Housing Voluntary Sector Grant Scheme, Simon Gibson Charitable Trust and the Mackintosh Foundation.

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