Venture Mòr's Business Development Manager, Jess, recently ran the London Marathon for Venture Trust! She finished in an incredible 4 hours 28 minutes. Here she tells us about her day (which, by the way, was her birthday too!).
It was so, so exciting! The Applecross Running Team- Gerry (who ran for Prostate Cancer UK), Sarah (who ran for Fight for Sight), and I all started together, which was amazing given that we thought we would never find each other amongst the thousands of other runners. Sarah and I spent the first 13 miles weaving in and out of competitors, feeling really strong, but at mile 19 it started to get harder. The crowd were utterly mind blowing though, and kept me going. On many occasions I looked round to see if I knew the people speaking to me because it felt like they were cheering just me – the shouts of ‘come on Jess, you’re looking strong, you can do it!’ were awesome (although I think they might have said this to everyone looking like they were about to pass out).
My fellow runners were incredible too, many of them running on behalf of a charity close to their own hearts. I passed a man doing seven marathons in seven days, a huge hulk of a man dressed as a Baywatch babe, Jesus (yes, actually on the cross), and a lady dressed as an ‘Essex girl’ running in 5” stilettos! It hit me at one point that I wasn’t going as fast as I’d thought when a man dressed as a phone box passed me!
The weather was cold and wet, which was perfect for Team Applecross, being used as we were to the Highlands in winter. There was a man DJing from his flat balcony to spur us on, and kids lined the streets with their hands outstretched to give us high fives all the way along the route. There were steel bands, African drums, jazz, and a Scottish band of pipe players which made us very emotional.
The supporters were fantastic! There were people with cut up bananas, oranges, jelly beans- just because they wanted to do something to help all those people going through all kinds of pain, each one doing it for a reason personal to them. There were moments when I thought I was going crazy with all the thoughts that were running through my head, and moments when the crowd literally reduced me to tears.
Running along the embankment was phenomenal, and passing Big Ben knowing we only had a short way to go was the best thing ever… apart from seeing the finish line and knowing that the pain was going to stop soon. Except it didn’t! The agony of stopping was clear to see in everyone hanging sheepishly around the finish area, unable to move, sit, stand, or walk. And everyone was so emotional they didn’t know whether to collect their kit, hug someone random, collapse on the ground, or cheer like a crazy person!
It really was the best day ever… and to top it all off, it was my birthday… and I got a medal!
I have raised £2,641 online to date and I have lots more to put into the pot. The support we had back home was nothing short of amazing. The whole of Applecross got behind us and tracked us on the app. And the donations just kept pouring in on the day.
My top tips:
- I really hated my bumbag. In normal circumstances this would not be something I would purchase, but I needed something to carry my energy gels. Be sure to go running with your bumbag and the kit you’ll take on the day to make sure it’s comfortable!
- Make sure you pop to the loo before you start your race! It sounds simple… but even the pros can get caught short!
- Never put an overly predicted low time on your application, otherwise you end up at the back of the 38,000 people running and have to spend 13 miles or so weaving in and out of those people who have chosen to walk the marathon.
- Never agree to a celebratory dinner just a few hours later… you will be too tired and unable to climb the steps of the tube!
- Have fun, and if it feels like it’s too much and you can’t do any more, just remember why you’re doing it, the great cause you’re supporting, and keep going! You’ll get to the finish line eventually, and when you do, you’ll be elated with your achievement!
All in all it was an incredible day- one of the best days of my life- and something I would definitely recommend everyone experiences if they have the opportunity. To run on behalf of Venture Trust knowing that the money I have raised really will support some of the most disadvantaged people in our society is something that I’m so glad I had the chance to do. I can officially call myself a ‘Venturer’… and it doesn’t stop there!
I did think that after The London Marathon the only thing I’d be running was a bath, but Team Applecross has decided to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon in May and I’ll once again be representing Venture Trust! Please do pop over to my Virgin Money Giving Page and give a little (or a lot) to support this incredibly worth-while charity!
Yesterday, Venture Mòr's Business Development Manager, Jess, swapped the mountains of Applecross for the streets of London to run the one and only London Marathon!
After months of hard training up and down the snowy mountains of Applecross, the home of Venture Trust's social enterprise, Venture Mòr, Jess completed the London Marathon yesterday in an absolutely phenomenal 4 hours, 28 minutes! Through a number of fundraising events such as curry nights, micro-marathons, zumbathons, and film nights, Jess has managed to raise a whopping £2,541 for Venture Trust. This money will go a long way to supporting some of the hardest-to-reach people in Scotland and beyond.
Jess and her fellow 'Team Applecross' runners were certainly well prepared for the 26 miles and 385 yards having dedicated themselves to their intensive training, whatever the weather, in the great Scottish wilderness of Applecross, Wester Ross.
She was joined in London by Sarah, who ran for Fight for Sight, and 'Grandad' Gerry, who ran for Prostate Cancer UK. This meant that over 1% of the entire population of Applecross ran the London Marathon yesterday!
We're delighted with Jess' hard work and so proud to have her representing Venture Trust in London. On why Jess decided to run for Venture Trust she said:
"I have been blown away by the good things [Venture Trust does] for disadvantaged young adults through outdoor adventure. A lot of the people who come through the Venture Trust's doors have been missed or even turned away by society. It is the hard work, patience and utter brilliance of the people at this organization that really make a difference to so many young lives.
The money raised for the Venture Trust will go some way towards funding more places for young people that, because of their past experiences, have become marginalised and vulnerable and are living chaotic lifestyles. The Venture Trust wilderness courses use a combination of counselling, constructive support, practical help and outdoor adventure to provide individuals with the capacity to make positive changes, and to take responsibility for their lives.
I work for Venture Mòr, the newly established social enterprise wholly owned by Venture Trust. We are made up of three parts: an outdoor activity company providing adventure holidays across the Highlands; a large hub in the form of Hartfield House hostel in Applecross, and; a pledge to provide a springboard into the world of work for disadvantaged young adults. So raising funds for Venture Trust is an extension of what we are trying to do through Venture Mòr.”
It's not too late to sponsor Jess! Head over to her Virgin Money Giving page to congratulate her and support Venture Trust.
Once again, let's hear it for our fantastic supporter, Jess, who's hard work and dedication enables Venture Trust to continue supporting disadvantaged young people to make a positive change in their lives. In a way, Jess' achievement and determination reflects the achievements of our participants after taking on the challenge of Venture Trust's wilderness journey:
"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”- John Bingham
Why does a voluntary Guild in London support Venture Trust? Malcolm Jack, Head of Funding and Contracts, headed to London to find out!
Well lots of reasons actually! We recently met with the Crown Court Church Guild (@CrownCourtChrch ) in their quite wondrous building nestled amongst Covent Garden’s theatres, to thank them for raising funds for our work. They’ve been there since the 1700s, so they pre-date the theatres by quite a bit (and pre-date Venture Trust by quite a bit more!), so why did they choose to support us?
It turns out that the husband of one of their leading members used to be a probation officer, who used his own free time to take young people from the criminal justice system out in his boat, to help them experience something new, something outdoors, something practical and something away from their usual environment. Sound familiar? When he caught up with some old colleagues in England, he found out that only one organisation was doing that sort of work – and having a real impact on young lives that many others had given up on.
When the Guild discussed charities to support, it turned out that another member knew our spiritual home of Applecross, and had even been over the mighty Bealach Na Bà, the UK’s highest road. Another led the local Rambler’s Group, giving people some time and space away from the bustle of daily life to clear their heads and contemplate. And, underneath it all, the Crown Court Church was originally set up by King James VI of Scotland when the crowns united and he became James I, resulting in a long-standing Scottish heritage right in the heart of London. A Scottish affinity and connection that remains true to this day.
Above all else though, the Guild are ‘doers’ – who volunteer, raise money and do what they can to help some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people and adults. So Venture Trust is both humbled and grateful for all their support – every penny raised really does make a big difference. As one member of the Guild remarked as we left their meeting, “You know, many of these young people don’t really know how to change, but they can! Keep up the good work”. We’ll do our best!
If you would like to learn more about the Crown Court Church and its history, pop over to their website.
At a recent event at the Scottish Parliament hosted by Kenny MacAskill MSP, five young people, including two former Venture Trust participants, were invited to speak about their experience of the criminal justice system alongside experts and academics in the field.
The event was organised by the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ), the Scottish Consortium for Crime and Criminal Justice (SCCCJ) and Venture Trust following the publication of a special edition of Scottish Justice Matters entitled “Living it: children, young people and justice”. Ministers, MSPs, practitioners and young people were all in attendance to hear directly from the young people featured in the publication.
During her presentation, Susie commented on the impact Venture Trust had in turning her life around:
“The sheriff put me on a course with Venture Trust, this made absolutely the difference in my life, it was the right help at the right time. Which is what I needed all along.
[After] the Venture Trust course, I came back and I was motivated and I had everything, an action plan; I had the tools for life; I had everything that I needed to get on with life and ever since then hand on heart I can say that my life has gotten so much better. I’m working, I’ve worked for the police and young offenders and prison services.vated and I had everything, an action plan;
From all the bad stuff that happened in my life I try and make something good come from it and that’s about all I can do.
Individuals in this room have a responsibility to our young people in Scotland to give them a better chance. I don’t want to be standing here in another ten years’ time and there’s more young people with the same story that would just be pointless.”
Brian, another former Venture Trust participant also reflected on his experiences and the huge change which has occurred in his life as a result of the programme:
“My experience in the past wasn’t good, growing up, I never had a father-figure in my life. The day it’s different, the day I’m at college. I work part day with social work to help homeless people, it’s an amazing cause to be part of. I love life but it wasn’t always like that for me, it’s only because of the support I got from the Venture Trust.”
The ‘Living It’ feature was edited by Claire Lightowler from CYCJ along with the two former Venture Trust participants and together they were able to ensure that other young people had genuine opportunities to make their voices heard. As editors, they guided and shaped the publication, and subsequently engaged with the wider Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum to facilitate the participation of a wide range of young people who have had different experiences at the sharp end of the justice system.
The team have explored issues which came to the fore, such as ‘kids with family members in custody, the impact of traumatic events in young lives, experiences of supervision and the intricacies of gaining employment with an offending history. They have also sought to highlight the importance of being positive about young people and how positive professionals can help make a difference.
Two Venture Trust participants from Edinburgh have recently benefited from work experience opportunities with local tourism businesses. They both achieved a great deal including updating their CVs, growing in confidence and gaining an insight into the world of work. This collaboration demonstrates the potential for young people developing their skills supported by business.
Working in partnership, Scottish Business in the Community, Venture Trust and local business volunteers have supported young people over the last few months with help in CV writing, interview skills and being prepared for work. For many Venture Trust participants this is the start of a journey towards getting a job and in taking part in workshops with business volunteers has supported new insights and learning including breaking down barriers.
We are delighted to be working with SBC and business volunteers. This builds on Venture Trust’s focus to help young people to develop core skills for life, learning and work. To find out more about some our work please see our earlier feature in the Scotsman here or visit the programmes section of our website.
You can read the whole story by Hilary Robb, SBC's Hubs Manager East on the Scotsman's website.