Greg, our Project Officer for Venture Trust's 'Moving On: Malawi' programme, gives us an insight into a typical day in 'the warm heart of Africa'...
Evictions, house arrests, 'solving circles' over cold cokes, and a rather precarious bridge.... just your typical day then. Find out all about the ups and downs of life in Malawi by downloading Greg's blog entry here.
We're always pleased to hear about people raising money for Venture Trust, especially when it involves cakes, 'nippy dipping', and guitar solos...
RGU:RAG, Robert Gordon University's charities campaign, have been fantastic supporters of Venture Trust for almost two years. They're always unbelievably enthusiastic about raising money for good causes, and are particularly creative when it comes their annual 'RAG week'. We always look forward to hearing what they've been up to, and they didn't disappoint, as Kyna - RGU:RAG's President, tells us...
Between the 14th and 19th of February RGU:RAG hosted a variety of events to raise money for Venture Trust as part of our annual RAG week. These events ranged from the tame to the wild - including bake sales, an acoustic night, a pub quiz and running into the North Sea, or as we call it, "the nippy dip."
This year one of RGU:RAG's main aims was to maintain and develop our relationships with the charities we fundraise for which is why Venture Trust was nominated as a beneficiary of the money raised during RAG week. Our members are invited to suggest any charity they would like to fundraise for, then we hold a vote on which charity we want to support.
We began raising money for Venture Trust since 2010 and have developed a close relationship with the charity. Several of our members have visited the Venture Trust centre in Applecross over two weekends and helped to paint the buildings.
Exciting times here at Venture Trust; we're delighted to announce that Mark Bibbey, our new Chief Executive, joined us in November. Since then, it's been a whirl of meetings, introductions and heads-down brainstorming sessions. We thought you'd like to get to know our new gaffer so, now that Christmas is over and we're all ready for the year ahead, we sat down to find out all about Mark's plans and ambitions for Venture Trust.
We've asked Mark about the challenges facing Venture Trust in the coming months, his ambitions for the organisation, and his thoughts on becoming Chief Exec. By way of light relief, we also asked about his childhood ambitions, his desert-island necessitites, and his personal heroes. Read on for the full interview....
What attracted you to the post of Venture Trust’s Chief Exec?
In the lead up to leaving the military I was undecided about my second career and so did a bit of formal self analysis. The resulting ideal area of interest and job spec was, without even having heard of VT at the time, pretty much exactly this job. So when I saw it advertised, I had no choice but to apply.
How have you found your first couple of months so far?
What have been the main things you’ve learned / discovered? Apart from my weekly commute from the Highlands, I’ve enjoyed every minute, particularly when I’ve been out and about meeting people. It’s my first real exposure to this sector, but the principles are similar to elsewhere: in particular, that success is directly proportional to the quality of the people involved and and the degree of common purpose. Surprisingly, I’ve also discovered that there’s more jargon and TLAs here than anywhere else I’ve been, including the military!
What are your ambitions for the future of Venture Trust?
In 5 years time, 3 broad headlines: Firstly, no significant change to what we deliver in terms of Wilderness Based Personal Development or our target audience, because they are pretty much spot on; Secondly, to be delivering life-changing effect to as many young people as we can; in other words to have our 44 courses as close to capacity as possible; and thirdly, to have developed a Social Enterprise business which contributes funds to cover a proportion of our central costs, thereby driving down the marginal costs for each young person referred to us.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing Venture Trust at the moment?
Funding is probably the biggest challenge in the current economic climate, which leads to the conclusion that we must be as efficient as possible. The logical progression of this analysis leads to what is possibly the biggest opportunity, which is to build effective partnerships. I firmly believe that this is critical if we are to leverage maximum effect from every £ we receive.
Where’s your favourite wild place in Scotland?
The Aonach Eagach. Despite the fact that, although I’ve been up there several times, it was only on the last occasion (when it was perfectly clear) that I could see much further than the end of my nose!
You’re about to be marooned on a desert island... Which three items would you take with you?
A fishing net, spoon and a teach yourself Chinese book.
And which famous person (dead or alive) would you most like to be stuck there with?
Capt Scott. He could keep the diary (not my strong point) and I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any whingeing.
There have been a few, but some years ago whilst climbing in Devon, a friend and I came across a sheep stuck on a ledge about 15 ft from the top. We determined to rescue it and after some innovation and effort, succeeded; however the sheep wasn’t that grateful and as I was releasing it from the makeshift harness it kicked me where it hurts and ran off!
Age 10, what was your dream job?
A Vet. It was only the realisation, when I had to choose my A level subjects, that I had as much chance of getting the requisite 3 ‘A’ grade science A levels as fly in the sky, and so chose arts subjects and ditched the dream.
Venture Trust is a dynamic, exciting organisation, where you’ll have a real opportunity to transform the lives of people who are struggling with difficult circumstances. We’ll give you the support you need to grow and develop, and to help you make the most of your skills and experience. Whatever your background, we treat all applications fairly – all you need to do is show us why you’d be a great addition to our team.
We look forward to meeting you..
Current Vacancies: 3 x Fundraising Internships
We are currently offering:
3 x Internships in our Funding Team – based in Edinburgh (unpaid), for 3 months at 2 days per week.
Candidates will ideally have some knowledge of and interest in the third sector in Scotland, a track record in raising funds for charity and/or volunteering and a real desire to take the next step in their fundraising career.
You will be given real responsibility for one or more areas of Venture Trust’s funding strategy and, with on-the-job training and support, will be expected to form a key part of the funding team. The role is ideally suited to second or penultimate-year undergraduates looking to gain valuable experience in fundraising and the third sector during their summer break.
Start date: Early June 2012 (negotiable)
The closing date for all applications is Friday 24th February 2012 at 12 noon. Interviews will be held in the week commencing Monday 5th March.
Please send your completed application form to:
6D Bruntsfield Terrace
Or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note we do not accept CVs.
From homelessness to employment and volunteering
William's story is a real example of the transformational changes that young people can make in their lives with the support of Venture Trust. William was referred to our Inspiring Young Futures from a homelessness project. Having moved to Scotland from his native England, William was feeling very isolated and cut off from any sources of support.
Gradually building a close relationship with his Venture Trust 'PDA' (outreach worker), William was encouraged to attend activities in his local community - getting to know other young people and building a more positive group of peers. As his confidence increased, William progressed to go on to attend a wilderness expedition, where two feet of snow made the experience even more challenging than usual! He coped well though, and rose to this extra challenge.
On his return, William's action plan had two main goals: To get away from his negative peer group and get into volunteering.
He began work on these goals straight away; finding his own tenancy and securing voluntary work with the WRVS. To keep progressing, William's PDA helped him find and sign up for BTCV's 10 week 'Forestry and Environmental Learning Programme'. A really exciting opportunity, Willie had the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of Forestry - taking (and successfully passing) exams in Environmental Conservation, Leadership Skills, First Aid at Work and Chainsaw Training.
“The week went well and it has been great fun. Really seemed to fly by. Worked at Nethercroy clearing vegetation from the pond. Saw some frogs and moved them away from the area we were working in” - (Willie)
Willie also had the chance to take part in a 5-day work placement with the Forestry Commission Scotland. He really enjoyed this week – and has been inspired to pursue a career in forestry as a result. William continues to stay in touch with his PDA and the other participants he met with Venture Trust, and will always ask his PDA for help when he's facing a tough situation, or needs extra guidance and support.
We're really pleased that Willie grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and has really been able to transfer the skills he developed with Venture Trust into this new work environment.
To find out more, you can download the BTCV report on Willie's programme. Well done Willie!
Photos by Andrew MacDonald, Exhibit Scotland