Venture Trust's programmes work
“Venture Trust’s programmes are not easy, nor are they quick fixes. But if I have learned one thing, from years of working with this very special organisation, it is this: Venture Trust’s programmes work."
- Sheriff David N Mackie (Former Chairman)
We've developed an extensive monitoring framework, which helps us to build up an accurate picture of the progress made by our participants. It allows us to measure the effectiveness of our programmes, and also acts as a 'record of achievement' for our participants.
Last year's highlights
In 2016-17, we said we would:
Support military veterans
This year marked the first full year of Venture Trust’s Positive Futures programme for individuals who have left the armed forces and have struggled with the transition to civilian life. The programme is intended to enable individuals to unlock or re-deploy the confidence, motivation and range of vital life-skills they need to move forward positively in civilian life. Since the programme launch in late 2015-16, 106 veterans have received support, following referrals by 35 different agencies across 23 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. Those referred faced issues such as unemployment, offending histories, mental health concerns, history of alcohol issues and unstable living situations. This confirms Venture Trust is reaching those most in need. More than 20 veterans have already progressed into employment, education, training or voluntary work, including three taking up paid traineeships within Venture Trust. Interim findings from external evaluation work suggest that the programme is achieving “profound and long lasting” impacts.
Expand our employability, training and internship provision
We achieved a major breakthrough in enhancing our employability support to disadvantaged and socially excluded individuals in Scotland, by securing a major new 3-year grant funding commitment from CashBack for Communities (monies generated from the proceeds of crime). We also scaled up delivery of employability sessions to enhance participants’ opportunities to progress towards training, education, volunteering or employment. This work included delivery of the Reaching Higher pre-employability programme for care experienced young people; the Venture Together programme delivered and sponsored with our key partner Barclays; an increased volume of Speak Up group work sessions and hosting a range of paid traineeships. Despite the challenging economic climate, we were able to increase the number of participants overcoming multiple barriers to achieve positive destinations in employment, education, training or volunteering during the year - a total of 298 individuals.
Invest in our staff
During 2016-17, learning and development activities saw investment in an organisation-wide staff gathering and three field and outreach team gatherings focused on creating opportunities for collaboration, sharing ideas, engagement and feedback. Highlights from a range of learning and development opportunities in 2016-17 included; a two day workshop on Neurolinguistic Programming for our wilderness journey teams; introduction to PTSD training for outreach teams to support their work with veterans on our Positive Futures programme; an intensive Reality Therapy/Choice Theory programme for all wilderness journey teams and a number of outreach colleagues; and delivering introductory courses on Child Protection and Reality Therapy/Choice Theory for our support teams. Further investment from Impetus-PEF will help us build the systems and approaches necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex operating landscape. Continued commitment to developing SQA provision for participants has also seen two newly appointed and qualified SQA Assessors, and three previously trained Assessors achieving their verification approval. Achievements of 7 volunteer opportunities during the year - totalling more than 500 hours, and including 2 Saltire Awards being completed - were particularly rewarding.
Expand and fine tune the provision of our social enterprise
Our social enterprise, Venture Mòr, achieved progress with increasingly positive results. Working in partnership with the Applecross Trust, extensive work was done to the exterior of Hartfield House along with upgrading the access road. Hartfield House Hostel recorded significant growth in guest numbers, reflecting its location in Applecross and the huge success of the North Coast 500, the increasingly popular touring route in Scotland’s northwest. The profile of Venture Mòr, and by extension Applecross, as a destination was raised via social media, targeted marketing and PR activities. We successfully launched an intensive wilderness therapy programme aimed at teens from across the UK struggling with emotions and life circumstances. The first 3-week programme was delivered in March 2017 and with continued profile raising, we are hoping to deliver a series of programmes
But there are many more who need our help
In 2016-17, Venture Trust’s outreach teams connected with over 1,300 participants and potential participants. However, there are many more individuals out there who, with the right support, could make and sustain positive changes in their lives.