Next Steps

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Key information

Age range: 16+

Location: Across Scotland

Who it's for: Women who've been involved in offending or at high risk of offending.

How to apply

Our Next Steps programme is for women whose chaotic and disadvantaged backgrounds have led to their involvement in offending or means that they are at high risk of offending.

This programme is delivered in conjunction with criminal justice partner agencies that are engaging with groups of women throughout Scotland. The programme is designed to support women of all ages, many have experienced difficult backgrounds - often involving abuse, domestic violence, substance misuse, unemployment and broken relationships.

We support participants to identify the changes they want to make in their lives, then develop skills, motivation and aspirations for a more positive future. Participants are supported by our outreach teams before experiencing an intensive five day wilderness journey followed by ongoing community-based support from us and other partners.

The programme is proven to enable participants to reduce their risks of re-offending, and make positive changes in their lives and behaviour. Monitoring data from the last five years for Next Steps shows that:

  • 86% of participants showed increased self-confidence
  • 83% improved their employability skill
  • 65% showed behaviours and circumstances likely to reduce risks of reconviction
  • 50% improved their relationships with those around them, and were making increased use of services and opportunities in their community (such as libraries, gyms or doctors' surgeries)
  • Over a third of participants who went on a wilderness journey progressed into employment, education, training or volunteering.

In 2012 the programme was externally evaluated by the University of Edinburgh, who found that:

“The ‘Next Steps’ programme had a positive effect on participants’ personal and social development. The type of positive life changes the women have made include; abstaining from alcohol; desisting crime and taking up (or trying to find) volunteer or paid work”.

University of Edinburgh evaluation, 2012.

You can download the full report here.

A further three-year external evaluation of the programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, will report in late 2017.

Funding partners

  • Big Lottery Fund

    The BIG Lottery are supporting the development and evolution of our Next Steps programme.

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  • The Rank Foundation

    The Rank Foundation is a grant giving charitable trust, aiming to encourage and develop leadership amongst young people, and support disadvantaged young people.

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  • The Gannochy Trust

    The Gannochy Trust supports both our Living Wild programme and Next Steps programmes.

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Delivery partners

  • Move On

    We are delighted to be working with Move On in delivering peer mentoring training for our Next Steps and Positive Futures participants. We also work in partnership with Move On to deliver the Reaching Higher programme. Move On’s focus is on supporting people to make positive change in their lives.

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  • Shine Women's Mentoring Service

    We're delighted to be a partner in the Shine Women's Mentoring Service - a Public Social Partnership led by Sacro. The service is delivered by Sacro, Apex Scotland, Barnardo’s, Circle, The Wise Group, Turning Point Scotland, Access to Industry, Venture Trust. Other partners are Scottish Prison Service, Association of Directors of Social Work and Scotland’s eight Criminal Justice Authorities.

    Visit website »

If you have a question about Next Steps or want to find out more about being referred to the programme please contact us at or 0131 228 7700.

To make a referral, please download and complete the Venture Trust Referral Form. Please note that whilst the form content may be filled out in Word, the front cover requires a hand signature.

Venture Trust Referral Form

Venture Trust Referral Form (Compatible with Word97-2003)

Completed forms should be emailed to your local outreach worker. If you are not sure who this is, please contact the relevant hub co-ordinator using the details below:

Venture Trust Hub


Hub Co-ordinator

Edinburgh, Lothians & Fife

Edinburgh, East Lothian, West Lothian, Midlothian, Borders, Fife

Forth, Tay & Northern

Stirling/Clacks, Falkirk, Dundee, Perth/Angus, Moray, Aberdeen, Highlands

Glasgow & West

Ayrshire, Glasgow, Rutherglen, Inverclyde, West Dumbarton, Argyle & Bute, North Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire

More information about referrals to our Glasgow & West hub.

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