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 2017-18 we said we would:
Be a leader in community justice provision
Strategically, it remains our ambition that Venture Trust continues to demonstrate impact in effecting positive change for individuals involved in offending. We have actively engaged with national and targeted community planning partnership structures seeking to collaborate to shape services which are effective in tackling the underlying causes of offending. A three-year evaluation of our Next Steps programme highlighted significant and sustained impact: over half of all women undertaking a Next Steps programme went on to reach a positive destination, and 8 out of 10 women showed increased employability skills and self-confidence. There was also evidence of a reduced likelihood of reoffending in two thirds of women who completed. This demonstrates our programmes make a significant contribution as part of a coherent range of local services for communities in reducing reoffending and the harm caused by offending.
Sustain and enhance provision for veterans
Through our Positive Futures programme, we aim to reach veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life and pivotal to this is ensuring we continue to work collaboratively to with partner organisations and promoting the impact of the programme. For the veterans, we have invested in peer mentor training and facilitating one-to-one and peer group support which offers an opportunity for individuals to find new meaning through volunteering. Significant work has been undertaken to evaluate the programme’s impact and we will publish the findings in autumn 2018. We were delighted to announce that we received significant LIBOR funding to extend the Positive Futures programme by a further three years which will mean we can support another 180 individuals struggling with the transition to civilian life.
Enhance our capability
Over last year we undertook a fundamental review of our programme and ‘what works’ for people leading to refined and new content and enhancing our approach. We looked at who we work with, where we provide most benefit, and what we offer. 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. A new role of Head of Programme Performance and Impact will develop our capability to drive and deliver greater impact in the work that we do. A new management information system and performance reporting tools will follow to help us keep on track and share findings.
Expand our employability, training and internship provision
Helping people be ready for employment and to learn and embed crucial soft skills necessary for work is a feature of all our programme provision. A significant priority for 2017, and the future, was our CashBack Change Cycle employability programme which we launched in September 2017. Based around building and maintaining a bike, the programme offers 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. We also launched a Sustainable Growth Agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in May 2017, which presents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with an organisation committed to socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth for Scotland. It also offers partnership opportunities with likeminded organisations to develop volunteering and traineeship opportunities to prepare individuals to enter and sustain employment.
Develop new business
We have further diversified funding streams, and have strengthened partnerships with local authorities in order to influence future provision and policy. Venture Trust was appointed as a specialist partner within the Wise Group-led consortium, which won the West of Scotland Fair Start Scotland contract. We were selected as a provider of youth employability support within the employability Fund administered by Skills Development Scotland. And Scotland’s Life Changes Trust awarded us a three year grant to help us reach, support and involve more care experienced young people seeking to overcome life challenges and reach their undoubted potential.
Expand and fine tune the provision of our social enterprise
In 2017-18, Venture Mòr consolidated and diversified its business activity. Hartfield House youth hostel continued to be busy, with increased numbers of people holidaying on the Applecross peninsula, capitalising on the draw of the North Coast 500, as well as marketing targeted to attract activity groups, weddings and retreats. Hartfield also developed local partnerships within the community, providing meeting space, living accommodation and fitness classes all vital to supporting a vibrant community. Capital work improvements will further benefit the hostel in the future. A Wilderness Therapy programme was launched for young people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing and the first programme ran in the Spring 2017. A further programme ran in Summer 2017 together with full marketing activity, and we plan to develop our provision to help young people more.
But there are many more who need our help
In 2017-18, Venture Trust’s outreach teams connected with hundreds of 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.