It has been a hugely challenging year for our participants, staff and the wider network of partners and funders we work with. However, it has been inspiring to see the response from organisations and the people working to make Scotland a safer, more equal and healthier country.
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people who were already struggling with complex life circumstances. Those working on employability skills will now face increased competition in a challenging job market. Those who already felt disconnected from society now face challenges of self-isolation and social distancing. The disruption to services means that daily routines and access to services have changed, which can be disorientating for many people.
In response we literally turned our services ‘outside–in’. We moved from group-based personal development in Scotland’s outdoors and communities to working with smart technology to reach people in their own homes. Our support services moved online. Venture Trust outreach and development staff provided a range of tailored support by phone or digital platforms to support those who needed it the most. This included the addition of individual therapy and creative and skills-based groups to complement our usual outreach services.
When we could, we resumed face-to-face work outdoors observing social distancing. We launched a new adapted delivery model on December 1st. It remains true to the original service model and still features our three-phase approach with a focus on personal development by using a combination of digital group work, one-to-ones, and local group activity days.
During this time we have still made a big impact in a challenging year:
As we look forward to building back better in 2021 there will be a need for community justice provision for those individuals caught up in the justice system backlog, employability support for those already furthest from the labour market and mental and physical wellbeing support to mitigate the growing health issues arising from the pandemic. Our intensive and sustained personal development and therapeutic work delivered in communities and the outdoors will form part of meeting this need.
In the face of continued challenges, we remain resolute and optimistic as we move ahead, with a commitment to adapt and deliver services that offer value to our participants, funders, partners, and communities.
Hopefully our work has also inspired some of you.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.