Looking ahead, in 2018-19 we aim to:
Enhance our capability
Venture Trust is seeking to improve its impact, effectiveness and the underpinning organisational infrastructure required to do so. A refined model of programme delivery for Venture Trust participants in the 16-30 age range will be developed seeking to maximise the potential of Venture Trust’s approach and expertise to support those most in need towards education, training or employment outcomes. The refined programme will be underpinned by a performance management framework and investment in organisational capability to design, collect and analyse evidence to inform programme design to focus on ‘what works’ for people. This represents a significant transition for Venture Trust and is an exciting development to enhance long-term impact for people experiencing disadvantage and struggling with adversity in Scotland.
Sustain and enhance our provision for veterans
Given the extremely positive initial results and findings to date with the Positive Futures programme, we want to ensure Venture Trust can reach veterans and military service leavers struggling with the transition to civilian life. Operationally, the focus remains on building links and relationships with partner organisations who work with veterans and these will be key for referrals and a collaborative approach to providing ongoing support as individuals reconnect with local services. Investment in peer mentor training and facilitating one-to-one and peer group support mentoring is intended to offer an opportunity for individuals to support others and find new meaning through volunteering. There will be a significant focus upon aiding the research and evaluation team to document the programme’s impact, plus ongoing profile raising to enhance the programme’s reach.
Be a leader in community justice
Strategically, as the new community justice landscape develops, our ambition is to ensure that Venture Trust continues to demonstrate impact in effecting positive change for those involved in offending. Venture Trust will actively engage with national and targeted community planning partnership structures seeking to collaborate to design and deliver services which are effective in tackling the underlying causes of offending. The positive and sustained impact for men and women completing the Living Wild and Next Steps programmes, highlights the contribution these programmes can make as part of a coherent range of local services for communities in reducing reoffending and the harm caused by offending. The operational focus will be to ensure strong links and relationships with a variety of female offender projects that will continue under the new Community Justice arrangements. Venture Trust is committed to its work across Scotland in supporting individuals to move away from offending.
Expand our employability, training and internship provision
A number of priorities have been identified for incubating new employability services and modules that are appropriate to the needs of those seeking to overcome multiple challenges in their lives. We will look to co-develop and deliver employability opportunities to enable individuals to experience work through volunteering and placements as part of their progression including those in the land-based, tourism and rural skills and being active outdoors sectors. The “CashBack Change Cycle” project is offering young people a range of work-based experiences in workshop and outdoor settings, vocational skills and relevant qualifications, as well as deepening key transferable skills that are essential in all work environments. A key operational focus across 2018/19 is to strengthen the referral network including building new links with Job Centres for direct referrals. Another focus will be on our partnership with corporate partners to deliver employability programmes. This includes Venture Together - a collaborative employability programme which provides additional employability training opportunities combining ‘Masterclasses’ in skills such as interview techniques, simple budgeting and personal presentation, alongside a residential conservation weekend to enhance work-related skills. Activities are typically delivered jointly with a sponsoring corporate partner, breaking down barriers and stereotypes through joint activity amongst volunteers, participants and staff from the company involved.
Develop new business
Venture Trust will be devoting time and resources towards the relationships, profile and funding required for delivery in future years. The focus remains on building and investing in sustained partnerships with statutory, third and private sector organisations to deliver needs-led, person-centred support, responsive to local demand against a backdrop of a changing policy and commissioning landscape in Scotland. We will further diversify funding streams, particularly through corporate engagement and attracting individual giving. There will be a strengthening of partnerships with local authorities in order to influence future provision and policy which affects the people we support e.g. sustaining accommodation, uptake and use of local services and early intervention for those at risk of entering the criminal justice system. Operationally, Venture Trust will also put greater emphasis on enhancing relationships with Scottish and UK Social Housing Associations, seeking to be in a position to deliver provision for individuals struggling to secure or sustain suitable accommodation.
Expand the provision of our social enterprise
Following its pilot year, wilderness therapy enters its second year of trading. There are a greater volume of enquiries and the enquiring customers are better informed. Due to the success of programmes in 2017/18, Venture Mòr now has data and anecdotal evidence to support the programme. In 2018/19 we will further refine the programme adding additional wilderness therapy services. To support the growth of wilderness therapy Venture Mòr will consider the business case for establishing a therapeutic practice based in Edinburgh. This will wrap around our programmes and also allow further product development. Hartfield House continues to be busy and we aim to improve facilities for cyclists and grow the wedding, small meeting and retreat market. Marketing efforts will be targeted towards attracting more groups to the hostel, increasing the length of visitors’ stay and capitalising on the North Coast 500 by providing appropriate services and links with the local community. Plans are at an advanced stage to roll out the now fully developed Wilderness Therapy programme whilst seeking new business and partnership opportunities.