Last night, we didn't win Charity of the Year at the Scottish Charity Awards. We didn't collect a trophy or get to make a tearful acceptance speech. And whilst of course we're delighted for all the winners, especially the Scottish SPCA who collected both the People's Choice Award and the Charity of the Year trophy, we couldn't help being a teensy bit disappointed.
But then we got a hold of ourselves.
A reality check: This year, we were shortlisted as one of the top five charities in Scotland. In response, we saw the biggest outpouring of support from our participants, referrers and supporters, of which the following is only a tiny selection:
Fantastic news – congratulations to the whole team – Inspiring Scotland
Couldn't think of a better charity to vote for :) what a massive difference you make to people! Its the least I can do to say thank you x – Laura, participant
I already vote venture trust. I love venture trust – Innocent, participant
Congrats to one of our partners: @venturetrust shortlisted Charity of the Year at #scotcharityawards! – Hilton in the Community
I saw this article below and wanted to pass on my congratulations for being shortlisted for the awards. A big well done from all at RBS to the whole team at Venture Trust – RBS
To be shortlisted for this award - in a year when the SCVO received more nominations than ever before, when demand on charities is bigger than ever, and when we're all having to do more with less - is a phenomenal achievement. As many of our participants know, life doesn't always go exactly the way you wanted it to. At those points, you reflect how far you've come, how much you've achieved already, you put a big smile on your face and you go on - bigger and better and with more determination than ever before.
And if we were preparing that big tearful thank you speech, we'd say thanks to you - for coming here, for keeping up to date with our news, for supporting our achievements and coming along on this journey with us. Our staff, volunteers, supporters - and most of all - our participants: Thank you. We couldn't have done it without you.
Venture Trust's Royal Mile street collection - on Friday 17th July 2012 - was a great success; collecting money for Venture Trust and raising awareness of what we do amongst festival-goers in the city.
Despite a rainy start, our cheery collectors donned fancy dress and big smiles, and headed out to drum up support. A group of our Clackmannanshire participants and staff (above) boosted the numbers after lunch, and the fantastic people at Castle Gift Shop kept us warm and dry, as well as donating the proceeds from their VT collecting tin.
We'd kindly been loaned an Olympic Torch for the day which was a big hit with passers-by, who stopped to have their picture taken with the torch in return for a donation. Many thanks to the lovely Steph Dowling for trusting her precious torch to us for the day, and to our summer Intern Emma Edwards for all her hard work organising the collection.
It was really great to see everyone out spreading the word about Venture Trust, and raising money towards our personal development programmes. To everyone who collected, and everyone who donated: thank you. You're helping someone from a difficult and disadvantaged background to make positive steps towards successful futures.
We're delighted to announce that staff and customers at Sainsbury's Quartermile in Edinburgh have chosen Venture Trust as their charity of the year.
Over the year, we’re really keen to maximise our partnership with Sainsbury’s Quartermile. We’ll be promoting our work in store, putting collection tins on tills, and asking staff and customers to get involved in our events. Keep an eye out for us in store!
We also welcome suggestions for how we can really make the most of this opportunity. If you've for an idea for an in-store fundraising event that customers would love, then don't be shy, get in touch!
Donate it to Venture Trust!
Do you have an unwanted vehicle taking up space, but you don’t want the hassle and expense of disposing of it? Venture Trust is here to help!
Venture Trust has partnered with GiveaCar to help you dispose of your unwanted vehicles in a safe, legal, and environmentally friendly way, while supporting Venture Trust’s vital work in the community.
How does it work?
It couldn’t be easier! All you need to do is contact GiveaCar on 020 0011 1664 quoting Venture Trust as your chosen charity or fill out the form online at www.giveacar.co.uk/charities/venture-trust. They will arrange for a collection agent call you in order to arrange a convenient pick-up time.
What happens next?
Your vehicle is picked up, usually between 1-3 days. It is then sent to scrap or, if road-worthy, to auction. Even if the vehicle is scrapped, Venture Trust will still receive between £40 and £160.
Donate a vehicle today by calling Giveacar on 020 0011 1664 quoting Venture Trust as your chosen charity or fill out the form online at www.giveacar.co.uk/charities/venture-trust.
Mairi Brackenridge, Chair of Venture Trust's Board of Directors, gives us her views on the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead, her motivations for getting involved, and a flavour of her experiences in Scotland's wilderness....
Mairi did ask us to make it clear that the photo to the right is her bravely tackling the Mighty Deerstalker for Venture Trust (in which she resoundingly beat the rest of the VT team!), and that she doesn't usually dress in tweed accessorised with army camouflage!
Why did you join the board at Venture Trust? What motivated you to get involved?
I have worked in social work and related fields for over 35 years. I have always been particularly interested in working with young people whose lives are challenging and when I was offered early retirement I saw it as an opportunity to continue that interest and give something back. I had also had experience of what the wilderness could offer as a way of helping people consider other options in their lives. VT seemed to fit with what I was looking for.
What’s been the biggest surprise about VT so far? Is the organisation what you expected?
I'm not sure surprised is the way to describe it, but I am impressed by the huge commitment that staff offer to their work, and continue to do that even during periods of change such as we have been through over the past year. It is very clear that the success of the organisation lies in the talented and hugely committed individuals that make up the staff.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing VT over the coming year?
The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the uncertain economic situation which means that budgets are under pressure. However I do believe that many people understand that we need to find different ways of engaging with disadvantaged and vulnerable people and VT offers a unique and successful way of doing that. I think the success of VT is recognised but we need to keep the message alive so that we can raise the money needed to work with people in the wildnerness. We have such good staff and their commitment impresses people and we need to make sure we continue to develop staff to keep the organisation healthy.
And on a lighter note...
What’s your favourite book, and why?
That's a challenge - I love reading and read a lot. Most recently I have read Claire Tomalin's biography of Dickens and some Swedish detective novels. I like to go back to old favourites such as Jane Austen, so choosing one is difficult. If I had to choose one I think perhaps I would take the collected works of Robert Burns - it contains everything: humour, love, commentary on society, stories, poems...... and it reminds me of my dad who introduced me to Burns when I was a little girl.
Where’s your favourite wild place in Scotland?
More difficult choices! However it would have to be Islay - we go there 2 or three times a year and in particular Saligo Bay - hearing the waves and watching the sea birds is inspirational - even in the rain.
What’s your most bizarre experience so far in life?
It relates to Islay - my husband and I got married there 5 years ago - we kept it quiet and didn't tell anyone, my sister was my witness but didn't know until the day of the wedding what was happening - our reception was sitting on the rocks at Saligo Bay in the pouring rain eating a piece of cake and having a whisky to celebrate - some people would think we were mad!!
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to work with people but not be a teacher. I thought about being a lawyer but decided against it so I became a social worker - I think it was meant to be.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I overuse the word actually - I try hard not to do so - but actually it's difficult!
You’re about to be marooned on a desert island... Which three items would you take with you?
A book, some paint and paper - so that I could learn to draw - and a survival blanket.
Which famous person (dead or alive) would you most like to be stuck there with?
...and you can't say fairer than that!