Our ambition

To challenge inequality. At Venture Trust we want everyone to succeed and to continue to do so throughout their lives. At any stage in life, people can struggle, and it becomes about surviving not thriving. We support those struggling with issues such as long term unemployment, recovery from addiction, homelessness, isolation, involvement in the criminal justice system in Scotland, and a history of trauma or harm.

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.

We will become the ‘go to’ organisation for intensive personal development programmes delivered in communities and the Scottish wilderness that help people who need more support to realise their potential. By being evidence led, we will advocate for better policy and practice specifically in criminal justice, employability and wellbeing that recognises and delivers greater equity and opportunity for those who need it most.

We commit to increase the number of people achieving their goals year on year.

Looking ahead, in 2018-19 we aim to:

Build on our strong position in community justice

Operationally, we will look to maintain strong links and relationships with organisations under the evolving new community justice structure, as well as strengthening referral routes within local authority criminal justice teams to maximise the reach of our programmes. We will work to influence policy makers and decision makers through advocacy and communications activity driven by lived experience of our participants, impact reporting and evaluation findings specifically to target need/demand and tackling gaps in provision. We will use the findings and recommendations from the Next Steps evaluation report to inform the future development of the programme and to secure resources for future delivery.

Strengthen our provision for veterans

We will look to raise the profile of our veteran programmes to ensure we reach more individuals struggling with the transition to civilian life. We will continue to focus on building links and relationships with organisations who work with veterans, and these will be key not only with regard to referring to Positive Futures but also in providing ongoing support as individuals reconnect with local services. We will endeavour to deliver a schedule of peer mentor training and facilitating one-to-one and peer group support mentoring. Positive Futures is a demonstration project, and as such there is a significant focus on reporting the 3 year findings to help inform a debate and action orientated to how we best support the small number of veterans that struggle with civilian life, which can happen at any stage post military service, and can have an enduring impact on esteem and wellbeing of individuals who have already given so much.

Broaden our employability, training and internship provision

We will ensure that we are more effective in supporting disengaged young people to develop sustainable lifestyles and reach positive destinations in employment, education, training and volunteering. We will develop partnerships with businesses to enhance the quality of employability provision and development opportunities for participants coupled with offering high quality volunteering for employees. We will continue to develop our Reaching Higher and Venture Together pre-employability provision and traineeships and offer the SQA accredited Personal Development Award at Levels 3 and 4; for some participants this will be their first, ever qualification. We will continue to develop partnerships and strengthen our referral network for our CashBack Change Cycle employability programme. This will include building new links with job centres for direct referrals, and dedicated direct marketing.

Be more effective and resilient

Venture Trust is seeking to improve its impact, effectiveness and align the necessary organisational expertise and capabilities required to do so. Working with Impetus-PEF, Venture Trust has begun implementing a number of changes including launching our refined programme of personal development support and learning to maximise success for individuals undertaking our programme; and, adjusting the geographical focus of our organisation to be highly visible in local communities to support people in need. The success and impact of Venture Trust’s work relies heavily on the abilities, expertise and commitment of its staff. We launched and began implementation of a Developing People strategy and plan. Learning and development opportunities for staff included; workshops on equality and diversity, child protection training, Reality Therapy/Choice Theory - a cornerstone of our cognitive approach, full First Aid refresher training and mountain and paddling qualifications.

Develop new business and income streams

We will implement a voluntary fundraising strategy and enhance our capabilities to be proactive in targeting, securing and managing statutory contracts/commissioned based work. We will continue to grow our voluntary income streams including corporate, community, challenge events, and individual giving to complement existing grant and commission-based funding. Venture Trust will seek funding from additional sources with a view to delivering further Next Steps provision in-year. A priority is to secure funding to support young people, particularly those aged 16 plus who have been unemployed for 12 months of more and essentially missing from employment and all the benefits being in work offers. Venture Trust is an expertise partner within a multi-partner transnational research and development consortium created in response to a European funding opportunity entitled ‘EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment’. If confirmed, the project will pilot outdoor-centred youth employability programmes which unlock unemployed young people’s talents and core life skills in Poland, Ireland and Spain. Venture Trust’s role is focused on hosting study visits in Scotland and providing training to trainers in each country, as well as shadow delivery of outdoor programmes in each country. We will develop our partnership with the Wise Group led consortium, as part of Fair Start Scotland, ensuring disadvantaged individuals have access to greater opportunities for training, work based experience and employment.

Expand our social enterprise

We will grow Venture Mòr’s contribution by developing therapeutic approaches to help children, young people and adults improve their mental health and wellbeing. We will invest in our burgeoning Wilderness Therapy programme, developing our marketing activity and online presence, and increasing our programmes to meet growing demand, which may also include an aftercare and support in schools. We aim to work towards establishing a base camp for wilderness therapy, and in time developing a therapeutic practice in Edinburgh.

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