Scottish Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace recently met with a group of former Armed Service members at Venture Trust’s base in Stirling after they returned from seven days in the wilds of Scotland.
The group of participants had just completed their wilderness journey as part of a three-phase personal development programme with Venture Trust.
The Positive Futures programme is specifically for ex-Service men and women; individuals who may have a wealth of experience and skills, but who are finding it difficult to either transition fully into civilian life or are struggling with maintaining a civilian focussed identity.
It helps participants work towards achieving their personal goals. These could be re-deploying skills learnt within the military, finding a home, rebuilding broken relationships, working towards living a healthy, safe and stable life, retraining or applying for a job or utilising their skills through volunteering. All of these are highlighted as significant issues encountered when transitioning to civilian life.
We use Scotland's spectacular wild places to deliver intense personal development. The outdoors is inherently challenging. These environments challenge individuals to focus on actions and their consequences - encouraging the discovery of new skills and talents and helping participants to become more self reliant. The sense of space and the distance from everyday life gives individuals time to reflect on their lives and plan the changes they'd like to make.
Sunburnt, windswept, midge bitten but smiling and on top of the world, the ex-service personnel shared their experiences with the Veterans Commissioner.
“It’s brilliant to have someone working to improve the lives and opportunities of veterans sit down and listen to what we are going through,” one of the participants said.
“Hopefully we can help show that programmes like this do make a difference,” another said.
Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace said:
“I was delighted to be able to visit and talk to the group of veterans who recently completed the Venture Trust’s ‘Positive Futures’ programme – designed specifically for veterans struggling with transition and integration into their civilian lives.
“It was heartening to hear first-hand from the group and staff how valuable the veterans found the programme. Initiatives like this play a valuable part in helping our veterans improve their confidence to deal with aspects of their civilian lives which they find challenging. Successful integration from the military into the civilian world is not always easy and the Venture Trust should be applauded for recognising this and developing ‘Positive Futures’ alongside their other programmes.”
Venture Trust CEO Amelia Morgan said:
“It was fantastic to have Charlie Wallace meet participants of our Positive Futures programme at our National Participant Centre. It sends 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 ex-service personnel 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.
"Research is showing the Positive Futures programme is offering veterans the support and space to begin to see themselves differently – that they can have a different life. Many are going on to further education, training, volunteering or employment, and this is a key catalyst for positive life changes.”
For more information about Positive Futures click here.
Positive Futures is funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds. It was also previously funded by The Forces in Mind Trust with a three-year pilot.
Venture Mòr's wilderness therapy has been featured in Prospect Magazine.
Venture Mòr staff Andy Hardie and Richard Tildesley insightfully and honestly explain in the article how the challenges of nature and the support of experienced psychotherapists and skilled outdoor instructors make Wilderness Therapy a viable alternative to improving physical and mental health.
Wilderness Therapy offers a valuable approach to supporting people with mental health issues particularly at a time when there is ever-increasing use of anti-depressants, along with an even greater number of individuals struggling to access (under pressure) mental health services.
Anti-depressants and other prescription drugs used to treat depression, ADHD, mental health issues and anxiety can be initially helpful. But for many, medication alone is not proving to be the answer. Traditional therapeutic support such as counselling, psychotherapy, CBT, and CAMHS can help but at times are not able to allow people to make the changes they were hoping for.
The challenges of nature and the support of experienced psychotherapists and skilled outdoor instructors make Wilderness Therapy a viable alternative to improving physical and mental health.
Wilderness Therapy can reach an individual in ways that are long-lasting and life changing. It is an approach that merits and demands exploration and support from the private and public sectors. And can provide relief for an overburdened public mental health system.
Click the image above to read the article.
Welcome to our July newsletter.School holidays might have come - summer unfortunately has not. Yet despite the wet weather and cooler temperatures, we continues to deliver our intensive personal development programmes in communities and in the wilderness. This weather certainly encourages the development of consequential thinking, if you don’t put your waterproofs on, you’re going to get wet...This month, read about our work to improve participants’ employability, a funding announcement, and a couple of great opportunities to get personally involved in supporting Venture Trust.Removing barriers and inequalitiesBoosting young people into workFraser Taylor, our Employability Co-ordinator, recently shared his experience of previously being out of work and the struggles he faced. Today Fraser co-ordinates Venture Trust’s employability programmes which support young people develop the confidence, skills and motivation to make positive life changes.During our employability programmes individuals learn how to develop a CV, make job applications, and prepare for an interview. They are supported to identify the next step that is right for them, whether that be education, training, volunteering or employment.Read Fraser’s full account in the Scotsman, hereClosing the attainment gapWorking together to support disadvantaged young peopleResearch from our funding partner Impetus has shown that in the UK disadvantaged young people are twice as likely to be out of education, employment and training as their better-off peers.Venture Trust, with organisations like Impetus, are working to close the attainment gap. We support those struggling with many and complex issues, outside mainstream support and unemployed, or who may have never been in employment. This hinders their life chances and future potential. Our approach is preventative and long-term. We focus on an individual’s strengths, equipping them with essential life-skills and building confidence. Together, we can tackle a cycle of harm and inequality which leaves some people in the margins of society.Zurich Community Trust provides supportGrant made towards Cashback Change Cycle in GlasgowVenture Trust is pleased to announce it has recieved support from the Zurich Community Trust. These valuable funds will go directly towards providing personalised support for young people in Glasgow taking part in our Cashback Change Cycle programmes.The decision to award the grant was made by the Zurich Community Trust’s local grants Glasgow committee, following donations by Zurich employees and matched by the Zurich Community Trust.Thanks again to the Zurich Community Trust for their support.A Cashback Change Cycle course is currently underway in Glasgow. It also runs in Edinburgh where the next course is set to start on 19 August 2019. Click here to find out more.Saddle up and cycle for Venture Trust8 September 2019: Pedal For Scotland“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
~Albert EinsteinIf you agree with Einstein (or even if you don't) you may want to join in biggest pedal power event in Scotland of 2019 - more than 6,000 cyclists took part in 2018. In fact, what are you waiting for? This year will be your last chance to take part in this iconic Glasgow-Edinburgh closed-road cycle, as Pedal For Scotland will evolve into inclusive, free, local events across Scotland from 2020.Ian Patterson, one of our Funding & Contracts Officers (the cyclist in red, above), has taken part in the event an extraordinary 6 times and is doing it again this year! Here's what he told us,"It’s not a race, it’s a fun, if sometimes, hard challenge, made more enjoyable because the others doing it are just a wide range of people, who are taking part because it’s a challenge from which they can make money for the charity of their choice. The atmosphere throughout the event is amazing from start to finish, adding to the fun during the ride and the sense of achievement when you finish."Click here to find out moreKiltwalk: a Scottish flavoured eventSunday 15 SeptemberThe Kiltwalk is a unique Scottish charity event which raised more than £5 million in 2018 - a sponsored walk that includes all abilities and is a great day out for all the family too.This year, led by our CEO Amelia, Team Venture Trust will be taking part for the first time. Come and lend us your support.If you are looking to do 10,000 steps in a day the Wee Wander is for you, coming in at around 11,250 steps. If 10,000 steps is already within your comfort zone you can work towards the Big Stroll at around 35,000 steps, or even the Mighty Stride at around 54,000 steps - close to a walking marathon. All routes make their way through Edinburgh and come together to finish in one big celebration at Murrayfield stadium.In addition, this year one lucky walker will win a brand new Vauxhall Corsa!Find more about the Kiltwalk and how to register hereDonate to our cause at www.justgiving.com/venturetrust
At Venture Trust we are working to close the attainment gap.
We support those struggling with many and complex issues, outside mainstream support and unemployed, or who may have never been in employment. This hinders their life chances and future potential. Our approach is preventative and long-term. We focus on an individual’s strengths, equipping them with essential life-skills and building confidence. Together, we can tackle a cycle of harm and inequality which leaves some people in the margins of society.
Watch our film with some of the young people we have supported.
(Click Play for Video)
“You’re looking a bit cocky.” The steward remarked.
“Do you want to climb over the railing and go straight over the side?” (The other abseil participants were edging themselves down gently through a gap).
“Sure, I’ll go over the side,” Judie told him.
“I’ve done this before”
Judie tried abseiling when she attended a Next Steps course in Spring 2018, she immediately wanted to go back up and do it again, so completing The Forth Bridge Abseil Challenge for Venture Trust was a natural progression.
“Venture Trust took me away on Personal Development courses to help me to prepare better for the future and to help me manage situations better. I really enjoyed my experience and saw parts of Scotland I had never seen before. I would like to do my bit to put something back to give others the opportunity.”
The big day came earlier this month.
“I wasn’t scared at all,” Judie recalled.
“All I could think was I’m gonna do this, let’s do this. Once off the ledge my first thought was let’s take it slow so I can take in the views and so my friend could get some decent pictures. You feed the rope through your hands at your own pace, so you can go down in less than a minute or take three or four. It was towards the end of the day and I noticed the clouds were gathering. It was going to rain soon and there was a wee breeze and I was turning gently around. I remember the music playing was Sweet Home Alabama and that felt great. As soon as my feet hit the ground I wanted to do it all again. It was a great day out and I really enjoyed spending time in Queensferry which had a brilliant atmosphere”
Judie found the sponsorship aspects of the challenge a little more daunting as she felt unsure about approaching people to support her. Did she succeed as a fundraiser? Totally, Judie smashed this target out of the park too and her total currently stands at over £250 and still rising.
What was Judie’s fundraising strategy?
“I told everyone I knew that I was abseiling for Venture Trust. A lot of people I asked do not have much money but they gave what they could with many people giving £1 or £2. An old man apologised because he could only afford to give me £1. I told him it doesn’t matter if its £1 it’s all gonna help. I went round all the people I know at Access to Industry, Willow, Street Fit and I asked in my local pub. The Landlord told people about the abseil and collected sponsorship for me and that meant I was raising money even though I wasn’t there myself. “
And does Judie have the challenge event bug now? Next Sunday she is running on behalf of Street Fit at Portobello. Go Judie.
If you’d like to complete a challenge for Venture Trust we’d love to hear from you and we are especially delighted to hear from our participants and their friend and families.
Take part in Pedal for Scotland or join Team Venture Trust at The Edinburgh Kiltwalk in September.
Find out more at: Rise to the Challenge for Venture Trust
Or contact Alison at: email@example.com or 0131 228 7711.