Each person's time with Venture Trust is unique and tailored to their needs. However, a typical 'journey' has three stages:
1. Getting to know us
As soon as a potential participant is referred to Venture Trust, they meet up with a personal outreach worker. There is a four week "assessment" phase where participant and outreach worker get to "know" each other and the participant will find out more about our programmes. If, after four weeks, both the participant and outreach worker decide a Venture Trust programme is the right choice the participant will begin getting involved in phase 1 of our programme which includes one-to-one personal development work. This assessment and first phase usually lasts for 3 months, and takes place in participants’ local communities.
The outreach worker will help the participant stabilise their lifestyle, so that they're able to take part in (and benefit from) the wilderness phase, and will introduce participants to other local people in similar circumstances, helping them to build a positive network of peers and supporters. Finally, they'll work with the participant to identify the choices, actions or behaviours they need to change in order to develop a more sustainable lifestyle.
2. Wilderness journey
At the heart of all our programmes, we give people time, space and intensive support in a wilderness setting.
The importance of the wilderness
This setting - far removed from participants' everyday environments - gives people the chance to tackle physical, emotional and social challenges. These challenges are carefully designed to encourage learning and development, to help participants increase their aspirations, confidence and motivation, and to develop a range of skills for life, learning and work.
Personal development activities
Out in the wilderness, taking part in intensive personal development activities (such as trust-building exercises or conducting a review session), young people begin to discover that there are strengths that they didn't think they had, aspects of their background and personality that they can draw on. For example, the ability to solve problems may be introduced when traversing a high ropes course, or practiced on a canoeing expedition. Other key skills include problem solving, communication, time management, accountability, establishing trust, dealing with challenging situations, and giving and receiving feedback. Every aspect of the wilderness journey is designed with the introduction and development of these concepts in mind.
“It [the Venture Trust course] was hard but it was good. We saw some beautiful things in the countryside and the activities were fun. Everything we did had something behind it though, something that we could learn".
- Feedback from a participant
Each participant is assigned a dedicated one-to-one wilderness staff member at the outset of the journey, who:
- Acts as mentor, reviewer, sounding board, key-worker and confidant throughout the expedition,
- Reinforces and praises examples of participants’ positive choices and actions during the day,
- Helps participants recognise actions and strategies which resulted in negative consequences, and identify the specific developmental areas to focus on during the next activity or the next day.
Each participant leaves this phase with a detailed action plan, outlining their goals and ambitions for the coming days, weeks and months.
3. Creating links back in the community
Back in their community, each person has long-term access to a personal outreach worker, who helps them to consolidate and apply their new skills, and to use the tools they have learnt to help them work towards opportunities such as employment, education, training and voluntary work. This support can include:
- Reviewing and developing action plans,
- Helping participants access any other specialist advice or support they might need,
- Supporting entry into employment, training, education or voluntary work, for example by providing practical advice with CV writing or interview skills,
- Arranging peer support groups and activities in local areas, so that participants can give and receive support from others who've been through a Venture Trust programme,
- Acting as sounding board, mentor and advisor.
We have developed links with a number of local and national buisinesses, who help our participants enter the world of work. This support includes employability training, mock interviews, supported work placements and training opportunities. We aim to develop more such partnerships over the year ahead, in order to increase the opportunities available to our participants.
The outreach teams are also responsible for catching up with participants and referrers for up to 6 months, in order to monitor participants’ achievements and to enable us to continue to refine and improve our programmes. Read about former participants success stories and find out about the positive impact of our programmes.